English as a Second Language (ESL) - Southwestern Illinois College

The Adult Education Department offers basic English language instruction through our ESL classes for adult community members, 16 years of age or older, whose primary language is not English. By taking ESL classes, students can enhance their ability to communicate in English through improved listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. As a result, they can better participate in their community, find employment, or pursue further educational opportunities in the United States. We welcome non-native English speakers from any language family or nationality.

ESL classes

Beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners can attend part-time ESL classes. We will place students in the appropriate level class(es) based on their pre-test results. Our friendly classes assist immigrant students in progressing toward self-sufficiency and economic success.

Times and Locations

Belleville and Granite City campuses, as well as the Fairmont City Library, offer courses during both daytime and evening hours. Each year we offer two 8-week sessions in Fall semester, two 8-week sessions in Spring semester, and shorter Summer classes.


Eligible students can take advantage of our free classes under Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), as administered by the Illinois Community College Board. Students enrolled in the ESL program must undergo periodic testing to monitor their progress in English proficiency.

Who Can Attend

Our classes are available to adult community members living in the state of Illinois, 16 years of age or older, whose primary language is not English, and who qualify for our services based on testing criteria.

Per ICCB (Illinois Community College Board) regulations, International students (F visa), visitors to the U.S., and Au Pairs (J visa) are not eligible for ESL or other adult education courses.

New Students

To join our free classes as a new student, you must complete some paperwork and take a written test. We require this to assess your eligibility and determine the appropriate level at which to start. Please call 618-222-5363 to schedule your pre-registration and testing session.

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For pre-registration or more information, call or email:

Leslie Wagner


Call or Text: (618) 900-8551
Call: (618) 222-5363
Toll-free in Illinois 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5363

*For the purpose of compliance with Section 511 of Public Law 101-166 (the Steven’s Amendment), approximately 33.75% ($394,285.00) federal funds were used to support Adult Education Programs.