Community colleges must find ways to serve an increasingly diverse immigrant population with limited funds, urges Increasing Opportunities for Immigrant Students (pdf), a report by the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education. By 2030, nearly one in five workers will be an immigrant, according to CCCIE.
Some colleges have helped students move quickly to college-level classes by integrating English as a Second Language with academic classwork, but designing “contextualized” ESL classes is challenging the report warns.
Other critical issues include: expanding ESL classroom capacity to meet demand, which, in turn, increases the need for more well-qualified ESL instructors; scheduling classes that can accommodate students’ work schedules and family responsibilities; and providing differentiated ESL curricula and career pathways to accommodate the various English proficiency and educational levels of immigrant students. More comprehensive assessment procedures that reflect immigrant students’ unique needs and strengths are a key prerequisite to developing more targeted curricula and student support.
Community colleges profiled in the report have found ways to expand services to immigrant students through public-private partnerships and collaborations with community groups, CCCIE stresses.
The report urges policymakers to improve access to financial aid by allowing support for noncredit ESL classes, reports College Bound.