June 30, 1992 to July 1, 1995
Adult Education Act, P.L. 100-297 as Amended by the
National Literacy Act, P.L. 102-73

Submitted by:

California Department of Education
Specialized Programs Branch
Youth, Adult and Alternative Educational Services Division
Adult Education Unit


Chapter 4c


Adult Education System Capacity

This section provides a broad overview of providers of adult education within California. It describes trends among adult schools, community colleges, and community-based organizations29 that use Adult Education Act funds and reviews the performance of these programs.


Californians can avail themselves of a vast array of adult education programs. These programs can be grouped into the categories of employer provided instruction, private schools, community-based organizations, higher education, voluntary organizations and literacy consortia, and publicly-funded adult education.

Employer Provided Education and Training

Each year, California employers hire and train approximately 700,000 new workers, and retrain many others. All new employees, whether highly skilled or totally inexperienced, require some degree of workplace training - many require extensive training. On the basis of varied estimates of national expenditures, the California business community spends some $6 billion annually to train its employees.30 Large parts of this training deals with basic education and literacy. For example, on a national level Aetna Life Insurance Company spends $750,000 annually to teach 500 employees reading, writing and arithmetic; and General Motors spends $170 million a year on job-related training - some 15 percent of which is remedial education.31

Private Schools

Adult education is also offered by private postsecondary institutions such as proprietary schools and private colleges. There are almost 3,500 postsecondary institutions in California, of which over 3,000 are private. The great majority (roughly 85 percent) do not grant college degrees. These include proprietary occupational training schools, religious institutions, hospitals, and other career-related institutions and programs.32 Private institutions are the second largest provider of postsecondary education in the State, after the community colleges.

Community Organizations

Approximately 55,000 non-profit organizations are registered as tax exempt with the State of California, and 87,664 have tax exempt status with IRS, including many of the smaller non-profits, which for various reasons have chosen not to seek exempt status with the State. Some of these are governed by community-based boards, and other are not. Many of these are churches, health care, community service and ethnic heritage organizations that provide education for their members and the general public.33 More specifically, CBOs provide significant human services to the needy of California in a cost effective manner. Many CBOs target special populations.

Voluntary Organizations and Literacy Consortia

A number of volunteer organizations and literacy consortia provide educational services to adults. Some of the most notable include:

A large share and probably the majority of adult courses in California are offered through business and non-public organizations. Yet, California also has the Nation's largest public system for serving adults.

Higher Education

While formal undergraduate and graduate programs are not within the sphere of this Plan, it is important to recognize that these institutions also provide a number of "non-credit" extension programs.

Although literacy or remedial training is not a priority of colleges and universities, the institutions make a valuable contribution to such efforts by providing volunteer trainers and research and development on the literacy issue.

Publicly Funded Adult Education

For Fiscal Year 1992, approximately $730 million of state and federal funds will be available for adult education in California. Adult schools will receive approximately 51 percent of these funds. Community college noncredit programs will receive approximately 15 percent. Regional Occupational Centers/Programs (ROC/P's) will receive about 5 percent. Job training programs will receive about 18 percent, correctional agencies about 11 percent; and the State Library and other providers 1 percent (See Exhibit 6).34


Exhibit 6 - [OMITTED]



Following are the principal providers of publicly-funded adult education, which (aside from occasional fees for materials and registration) offer courses that are essentially free of charge:

Particularly because of its large public adult school and community college programs, Californians have more access to publicly-funded adult education than citizens in most other states.


This section will provide elaboration on services provided by adult schools and community colleges.

Level of Funding and Service

Together the adult schools and community colleges provide about two-thirds of public adult and noncredit education (See Exhibit 6). Over the last decade their real expenditures for this type of instruction have decreased by one-third, while per capita expenditures have declined by 46 percent. However, since 1984, average daily attendance (ADA) has increased by 11 percent (See Exhibit 7), total real expenditures have increased by 35 percent, and per capita expenditures are up 26 percent (See Exhibit 8).

Increases in adult education funding in the late 1980's have been due to four factors (See Exhibit 6):

(1) Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

(2) Greater Avenues for Independence Program (GAIN) Welfare Reform Program

(3) Growth funding to districts with excess demand for English-as-a-Second Language (ESL)

(4) Increases in state grants under the federal Adult Education Act

(5) JTPA funding with SDAs and PICs that have increased contracts with business, industry, and labor organizations.

Together GAIN and IRCA currently account for about 25 percent of adult school programs, and they are expected to swell ADA in the adult schools and community colleges by 137,000, for an increase of 54 percent over the base program.35 In addition, CBOs have provided a significant amount of ESL and ABE educational opportunities for the newly legalized. It should be noted, however, that these augmentations are not expected to become part of the base program in subsequent years. However, they are expected to stimulate increased demand upon the system by introducing the availability and value of adult education to previously unexposed populations.


Exhibit 7 - [OMITTED]



Exhibit 8


Year: Population
Over 16
Years Old
Adult Ed.
(3000's): a
Adult Ed.
FY 1988
Per Capita:
Per Capita
(FY 1988
dollars): b
197817,245$304,119 c$559,275$17.64$32.43

Notes: (a) The sum of two separate line items in the State budget for adult schools and
community college noncredit education, respectively, including general funds, federal
Adult Basic Education funds, and reimbursements. (b) Adjusted by the fiscal year GNP
deflator for state and local goverment purchases. (c) Of this amount, $169,005,000
was appropriated from state and fedral sources, (approximately $101.3 million was
allocated to the public schools and $67.7 million to the community colleges). The
remaining $135 million was estimated to have come from local taxes.

Source: State Department of Education; Office of the Legislative Analyst, Budget
Analysis, 1979, 1983-1988; Chancellor's Office, California Community Colleges.


Increased state and federal attention to literacy, welfare reform, and the assimilation of new immigrant populations has resulted in large shifts of adult education enrollments and ADA toward English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) and remedial basic skills programs. The increasing size of the older population has also influenced the distribution of programs. The growth in literacy programs and programs for Older Adults has come at the expense of vocational programs, which are more than one-third smaller in 1988 than they were only three years earlier (See Exhibit 9).

Adult schools provide most of the publicly funded adult education in California today. Although this part of the State's adult education system is smaller than it was a decade ago, it has grown faster than the State's population since the mid-1980's. The current expansion is due to immigration, welfare reform and increased federal commitment to combating illiteracy. The California State Legislature is expected to continue the funding of adult education at current or increased levels between 1990 and 1993. As stated later, the State Plan Advisory Committee will continue to be involved in pursuing increased levels of state fiscal support for adult education.

29 Community-Based organizations are private, non-profit organizations, incorporated in the State of California, that are governed by community-based boards, are tax-exempt at state and federal levels, and who orient their programs and services to meet the needs of the poor, disadvantages, disenfranchised, unserved and underserved sectors of the population in education, employment and training, childcare and development, health care, housing, homelessness, imigration services, alcohol and substance abuse prevention and other kinds of social and human services. Approximately 47 percent of the ESL and Civics instruction provided to amnesty applicants and newly legalized residents under IRCA was delivered by agencies in this group during 1987-1992.

30 The American Society for Training and Development cites figures of $30 billion spent nationally by business for formal education and training and another $180 billion on informal training occurring on the job. Anthony Carnevale, "Human Capital: The Future for Private Training:, Training Development Journal, January 1982, page 43.

31 Christine Gorman, et. al., "The Literacy Gap", Time, December 19, 1988, pages 56-57.

32 Institutions under Section 94310 of the Education Code are degree granting institutions. The remaining private postsecondary institutions do not grant college degrees. Information supplied by Council for Private Postsecondary Educational Institutions.

33 Information supplied by the Independent Sector, Charitable Statistics Unit, Washington, D.C.

34 Not included in these figures are continuing education courses that are provided by state colleges and universities and supported mostly by student fees and tuition. Also not included are educational programs provided by public health, law enforcement, and transportation agencies. Sufficient time was not available to include their activities in this report.

35 Budget Analysis 1988-89. Office of the Legislative Analyst, Sacramento, 1988.


***** Continued on "Ch.04d Needs Assessment" *****