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Adult Basic Education ABE/ESL

Frequently Asked Questions

Students, thank you for your interest in the ABE ESL Program. We hope that this information is helpful and look forward to helping you with your registration and seeing you in class.

What Does ABE mean?

Adult Basic Education — ABE classes are partially funded by the U.S. government. Each state gets money to help pay for classes that teach basic skills (reading, writing, math, and English as a Second Language) so that adults can be productive workers, family members, and citizens in the United States.

Who Can Take ABE ESL Classes?

Anyone who:

  • is over 18;
  • is a refugee, immigrant, resident or citizen of the United States;
  • is a non-native English speaker; and
  • places into ESL Level 1-6.

There are a few exceptions. We will explain those to you in person.

How Can I Register for Classes?

First, attend an ESL orientation. Visit the office in Mukilteo Hall 304 to make an appointment. 

What Happens at Orientation?

Orientation lasts 3-4 hours. Do plan to stay for the entire time. Do not use your cell phone in the advising or testing area.

You will fill out forms, see a short presentation about our program, and meet ESL teachers and advisors.

Advisors will measure your English skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The listening and reading tests are usually taken on a computer.

Then, an advisor will tell you your ESL level, help you decide when you want to study, and fill out a registration form with you. If the class you want is full, the advisors will put your name on a waiting list.

What to Bring

  • your address
  • your phone number
  • glasses if you need them
  • a family member or friend if you like (they cannot help you with the tests)

How Much is Tuition? What if I Can't Afford It?

ABE ESL classes cost $25 per quarter. If you can't pay the tuition, you may be able to get a waiver (permission not to pay). The waiver is valid for one quarter; then you must reapply.

To obtain a waiver, show your advisor one of these documents:

  • QUEST Card (Food Stamp Debit Card)
  • Washington State Medical Coupons
  • Basic Health Plan Card (such as Community Health Plan card)
  • DSHS WorkFirst Individual Responsibility Plan
  • DSHS General Approval Cash/Food Letter
  • General Assistance Unemployment Notice
  • Employment Security Benefits Statement
  • HUD Housing Award Letter
  • WIC Coupon
  • Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) Award/Change Letter
  • SSI program notifications
  • Free or reduced lunch documentation

What Tests Do I Have to Take and What Happens Next?

You will take four tests for speaking, writing, listening, and reading to determine your ESL level. The tests are part of CASAS, a system used by Washington state to measure progress in ABE classes. All ABE ESL students in Washington take these tests.

Then, you will receive your registration form and your tuition waiver (if you were given one). To register for your class, go to Enrollment Services on the first floor of Lynnwood Hall. Pay $25 or submit your tuition waiver.

If you register before the quarter begins, you may have up to seven days to pay your tuition. Be sure to pay your tuition by the date (printed in class schedule) or you will be dropped from the class. After the quarter starts, tuition is due the day you register.

What Happens if I Can't Attend Classes at the Time I Registered For?

If you can't attend your classes, tell your teacher as soon as possible. To request a transfer to a different class time, ask at the ESL Office in Mukilteo Hall 309.

If you do not come to class at the beginning of the quarter, you will be dropped from class and must start the registration process over. To stop studying English for the whole quarter, go to the Advising Office in Mukilteo Hall 309 or the first floor of Lynnwood Hall to drop your classes.

What Happens to My Tuition if I Can't Attend Classes at All?

You can ask to be dropped from the class (go to Advising in Mukilteo 309) or you can withdraw —  remove yourself from the class (go to Enrollment Services, first floor Lynnwood Hall). When you withdraw, ask for a refund of your $25. Pay attention to the withdrawal and refund deadlines in the academic calendar or ask in Lynnwood Hall.

Is it Necessary to Return to the ESL Advising Office to Register Every Quarter?

No. Registration for the next quarter will happen in your classroom at the end of the quarter. However, if you stop attending or if you take some time off, you will have to restart the registration process.


Mukilteo Hall 304, ABE ESL Office | Mukilteo Hall 309, ABE ESL Advising