News Release

Santa Ana College Offers Free ESL Classes

​Fall Open Entry Classes Now Enrolling

(Santa Ana, CA) – Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education is now enrolling students in free classes for adults in English as a Second Language (ESL). All classes are open entry/open exit offering students greater control over their learning schedules. Class completion may take a semester or longer. Classes are offered at Centennial Education Center, located at 2900 W. Edinger in Santa Ana, and at nearly 40 other locations throughout the community including the Santa Ana College campus. Classes are scheduled at convenient times throughout the day and evening from Monday-Saturday.

Orange resident Esmeralda Abejar, a former Centennial Education Center (CEC) student, knows from personal experience that the ESL classes are life-changing. In 1996, she got married and moved to California without any English skills. At the time, she was a young mother with two small children who discovered the free classes at CEC.

“I was scared. I didn’t speak any English. At CEC, I met other students who didn’t speak English very well and realizing that I was not alone, made me feel comfortable,” she said. “The instructors were good at teaching adults and the classes were exciting and focused on English acquisition. They provided everything you need to succeed.”

She stuck with the classes for two years while raising her children and working at Hoag Hospital as a service care technician. One day a Santa Ana College (SAC) counselor visited her ESL class and encouraged her to attend credit classes at the college. She transitioned to SAC where she majored in business administration. She earned her associate degree in 2001 and transferred to California State University, Fullerton. In 2004, she earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration.

In 2005, she was hired as an administrative clerk at SAC. She became the college’s interim accountant in 2006 and this position became permanent in 2008.  Last year, she was promoted to the campus budget manager. She is also working on a master’s degree at the University of Redlands.

“Taking ESL at CEC gave me the confidence to go places; it added value to my life. Without English skills, I couldn’t do the things I wanted; my life was limited. The classes gave me the opportunity for a better life,” said Abejar.

The ESL non-credit program helps non-English or limited English speaking adults survive in an English speaking community. Classes provide adults the necessary support to improve their English speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. The classes meet the following needs for adult learners:

    • Communication skills and cultural knowledge necessary for daily living in an English speaking community.
    • Instruction on how to get and keep a job, how to get medical help, and how to understand basic government rules.
    • Skills for transfer to a college or university.
    • Citizenship preparation instruction.

Classes are available for students at different steps in their acquisition of learning English as a Second Language. There are seven levels in the ESL program from Literacy to Intermediate 3. Classes also include English for Work, conversational English, and American English pronunciation, as well as family literacy. All students are encouraged to enroll in the Community Learning Center where they can improve their language skills through the use of computers.

Successful completion of the ESL program can prepare students for future educational opportunities available through Centennial Education Center. They include, but are certainly not limited to:

    • Adult Basic Education (ABE)
    • Adult High School Diploma Program
    • College credit classes
    • General Education Development (GED)
    • Vocational training programs

A complete schedule of classes is available at For more information on how to enroll in classes, please call (714) 241-5700.

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which will turn 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 10,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit to learn more. 

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Contact: Judy Iannaccone

Phone: (714) 480-7503