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State residency documents no longer required for ESOL, adult ed programs

Students study in one of Seminole State's English Language Studies labs.

Effective July 1, state residency documents are no longer required for students pursuing adult education programs in Florida, including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). 

This reverses a state residency requirement that was added on July 1, 2011, when Florida began requiring tuition for adult education classes – ABE/GED, Adult High School and ESOL.

For Florida residents, the tuition was set at $30 per term. However, without state residency documents (driver’s licenses, utility bills, vehicle registration), the cost increased to $120 per term. As of July 1, $30 will be the tuition for any student who qualifies for adult education classes.

“Studies show that without English proficiencies, job opportunities are limited,” says William Elshoff, associate dean of English Language Studies at Seminole State College of Florida. “This is great news for those in the second-language community. The state has removed the barriers so that those who need it the most can become English proficient and employable.”

The state residency requirements, which were the same as those for credit students, and the added cost created barriers for many students, Elshoff says.

Many prospective students, discouraged by the process, chose not to enroll, Elshoff says. Enrollment (FTE or full-time equivalent) in adult education programs statewide has declined steadily.

The law is part of House Bill 851, which was signed by Gov. Rick Scott on Monday, June 9. 

Students can apply now for Fall Term classes at Seminole State, which start Aug. 25. Students must provide a qualified U.S. residency or visa status to enroll in the adult education programs.

Students interested in ESOL programs should contact the ELS office at 407.708.2420 or learn-English-now@seminolestate.edu or the English Language Studies website. Classes are offered at Seminole State’s Altamonte Springs, Oviedo and Sanford/Lake Mary campuses.

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