Adult Basic Education

The community colleges are Maryland’s primary provider of Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) services, serving over 30,000 students annually.

  • Poor literacy and low math skills prevent many adults from getting and keeping jobs.
  • Language barriers for non-native English-speakers present obstacles to employment, earnings and self-sufficiency.
  • To help all members of our home communities lead more productive and fulfilling lives, Maryland’s community colleges provide low or no-cost basic education for adult learners.

Programs Targeting Basic Skills for Adult Learners

High School Diploma Programs


Earn a Maryland High School Diploma by passing the GED Exam or completing the requirements of the National External Diploma Program (NEDP).

English as a Second Language
ESL & TOEFL Preparation


Can community college improve your English?
Yes!  Si!  Oui!  是 (Shi!)

It is hard to get by, and virtually impossible to succeed, if you can’t understand what everyone around you is saying.

Your local community college can help you learn English to:
1. communicate better day-to-day,
2. get a better job,
3. go to college.

Maryland’s community colleges offer several levels of English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, many with TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) preparation.

Reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary are covered in both part-time and full-time ESL courses. Patient teachers will guide you.

Basic Math, Grammar, Reading Comprehension


Community colleges provide Adult Basic Education (ABE) to help adults with low-level academic skills improve fundamental literacy and numeracy abilities to high school levels.

At some community colleges, ABE curriculums are linked to employment programs and training in skill sets for growing industries.