Join Our Mailing List

Federal Policy > Adult Basic Education

An international survey found that 36 million U.S. adults have low basic literacy and numeracy skills and, on average, low basic skills are more common in the U.S. than in other countries. Low-basic skills impact employment, earnings and economic mobility. Forty percent of working low-skilled adults have earnings in the bottom fifth of income distribution in the U.S. Adult basic education (ABE) programs that are linked to employment or postsecondary education can help low-skilled adult learners advance along a career path and improve their employment and earnings.
Despite the demand for and potential of these programs, federal investments in ABE serve fewer than 2 million adults annually. These investments have declined by roughly 20 percent since 2005 and the number of individuals served has declined by 1 million (30 percent) since 2000.

This page contains reports, fact sheets, analysis and news about federal adult basic education policy, as well as recommendations for expanding access to adult basic education that is linked to employment or postsecondary education.

Highlighted Resources

Current Law