ATB – Ability to Benefit

Ability to Benefit (ATB), a provision of section 484(d) of the Higher Education Act (HEA), aids in equity of access to Federal Financial Aid for adult learners lacking a high school diploma. The ATB provision allows eligible adult learners who are participating in a career pathway program as amended in Public Law 114-113 under section 484(d)(2) of the HEA at a Title IV eligible institution to have access to financial aid. However, the two currently US Department of Education approved methods of ATB are underutilized due to the challenges they place on students. Thus, an alternative plan has been created by Illinois, and approved by the U.S. Department of Education, to overcome barriers to postsecondary attainment and scale ATB use.  The purpose of Illinois’ Ability to Benefit State-Defined Process is to increase access to federal financial aid for eligible adults without a high school diploma, who with proper support can be as successful as their peers in postsecondary credential and degree completion.

Other ATB Resources:

Adult Education Provider Locator

The Adult Education Provider Locator is designed to connect adult learners with programs in their area. Click on the link below to make any updates to your program’s information

Provider Locator

AEL Provider Manual

The Adult Education and Literacy Provider Manual outlines all of the relevant AEL policies for the Adult Education and Literacy Program

AEL Provider Manual

AEL Surveys

Click the link below to view brief summaries and key findings from surveys.

AEL Survey Findings

Area Planning Council

According to 105 ILCS 405/2-4, the Area Planning Council shall provide for the development and coordination of adult education programs in an Area Planning Council Region. The Plan has broad purposes including: identifying services currently being offered to the identified population, producing a plan for continuing services, identifying gaps in services, identifying reasons for these gaps and as a planning tool to identify ways to service the identified service gaps.

FY2024 APC Plans

Assessment and Training Resources

This page contains information on adult education assessments, including training requirements and supporting resources. For questions regarding assessment, please contact the Illinois Professional Development Network (PDN).

Assessment, Training Requirements and Supporting Resources

Bridge Programs

Every adult education provider is required to have an active Bridge Program with enrolled learners. If you have questions about developing a program or any ICCB expectations, please reach out to your Regional Support and they will connect you to appropriate resources and professional development.

Bridge Program Approval Form

Bridge and IET Programs began with Shifting Gears.

These resources will provide you with background knowledge and relevant information about the evolution of these critical programs.

Shifting Gears

Data Management

Resources to help manage your program data.

DAISI 2.0 User Guide


Early School Leaver Transition Program (ESLTP)

The ESLTP is designed for out-of-school youth no longer in high school between the ages of 16 and 21 whose NRS level reading score is at or above the 8.0 grade level equivalency and math score is above the 6.0 grade level equivalency. The program is specifically aimed at helping at-risk students become reoriented and motivated to complete their education by allowing students to participate in adult education instruction as well as career and work training activities.

ESLTP Program

ESLTP Providers

Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System (ICAPS)

Resources and information about developing and maintaining an ICAPS program.

ICAPS Information

ICAPS Approval Form

Professional Development

Everything you need to know about adult education professional development in Illinois can be found at the Excellence in Adult Education PD Portal.

Excellence in Adult Education PD Portal

Remote Learning

Find approved distance learning platforms or submit information for approvals.

Remote and Distance Learning Approvals and Information

Temporary Testing Waiver link 

Title II Partners and Information

Link to resources related to the implementation of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Grant under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act.

Adult Education & Literacy Act of 1998