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ELA Classes

YVC and CBC Continue to See Significant Drop in English Language Acquisition Students

Posted Date: March 12, 2021
Columbia Basin College
By: Jay Frank

PASCO, Wash. – One year into the pandemic, local community colleges continue to see a significant drop in the number of students who are working to develop basic English skills.

Both Yakima Valley College and Columbia Basin College report a drop of over sixty percent in enrollment in English Language Acquisition (ELA) courses. These courses are highly affordable, costing students only $25 per quarter. At YVC, both day and evening online courses are available this spring, with all students receiving some individual interaction with their instructors. At CBC, in addition to remote learning, there will be limited in-person ELA classes on their Pasco campus this spring quarter.

“Whether it’s opening up job opportunities, preparing for college level work, or for personal needs, improving your English can create new possibilities and help students achieve their goals,” says YVC’s Ericka Tollefson, ELA instructor.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Communities Survey, 41.2% of households are speaking a language other than English at home in Yakima County, with the numbers in Kittitas and Klickitat Counties at 8.9% and 11.7% respectively. In Benton and Franklin Counties, the numbers are 21% and 48.7% respectively.

ELA courses aren’t the only form of basic skill education available at local community colleges, as students can also access low-cost GED classes, High School+ classes for adults to obtain a high school diploma, and Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) classes that allow for basic skill development while students simultaneously obtain college credit within their intended field of study.  

Here is additional information for those looking to take ELA courses at YVC:
  • Classes are only $25 per quarter.
  • While classes are online this spring, students still are interacting with their instructor in real time.
  • Various levels of instruction are available; from students with no English speaking/reading abilities to those with some English who want to improve their abilities.
  • Enrollment is ongoing. Spring quarter classes begin March 30.
  • Call 509.574.6850 or email to sign up for classes. Once signed up, a student will be scheduled for a phone interview with an ELA instructor to be placed in the appropriate course level.
  • Day and evening courses available.

Here is additional information for those seeking to take ELA courses at CBC:

  • CBC is offering in-person appointments and quiet study spaces and wi-fi on campus.
  • Call 509-542-4701 to get started.
  • ELA classes are offered in the morning, early afternoon and evening throughout the year.
  • Email contact: elaFREECOLUMBIA_BASIN
  • Varying levels of instruction are offered to serve a range of English skill levels, whether you have no prior experience or are nearly ready for college-level work.


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