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I-BEST Student Success

Four Key Strategies for Student Success in I-BEST

As you develop your I-BEST program, consider specific strategies to help traditionally underserved and academically-challenged students. (I-BEST stands for Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training.) Here are four key strategies:

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  • Work with employers and labor representatives to ensure the program will meet their needs and students will learn the knowledge, skills and abilities to get hired.
  • Include the local workforce investment board, one-stop career centers and economic development council in planning. They can provide you with information about occupational demand so you don’t prepare more students than the labor market can absorb. Also, they often have access to resources to help support students.
  • Partner with cultural and social service organizations. Their clients are often your students. They often have access to specific resources for students. They also may have case management capability that will be helpful to your students.
  • Begin with faculty who are optimistic about the potential of the model.
  • Ensure that campus leaders are actively supportive.
  • Include faculty, administrators and staff in the planning process.
  • Develop clear relationships, roles and responsibilities with all stakeholders including instruction (both workforce and adult basic education), student services, human resources, business services, registrar and finance. A successful I-BEST program will affect many aspects of the college.  
  • Develop clear and regular communication processes.
  • Ensure faculty are cross-educated about the culture, norms and values of each other’s discipline.
  • Deal with barriers and conflicts right away.
  • Create strategies to transition students onto the next step in their pathways. Set career and education goals with students at the very beginning of the program so they know which steps to take next on their way to credentials and degrees.
  • Establish a team that includes members from workforce education, adult basic education, student services (including registration, financial aid, advising, etc.) and college administration. Hold regular meetings to look at the pathways from adult basic education to college-level programs to ensure the pathways are fully developed and to continuously improve student support systems. Any barriers to transition should be looked at carefully. For example, if students need to take a college placement test to get into the next program level, preparation for the test should be included within the I-BEST program.

I-BEST is an instructional model designed to better support students to degree completion. To be approved by SBCTC, I-BEST offerings must contain college-level credits and demonstrate a pathway to an approved one-year certificate and beyond.

College credits — and financial aid — are awarded to students only for the college-level professional-technical or academic content of the I-BEST course, not the basic skills content. On their I-BEST applications, colleges  clearly show how much time in each class is spent on the college-level coursework. Colleges are required to transcript credits the quarter they are earned.

I-BEST students pay full college tuition for the college-level coursework in the I-BEST program. If an I-BEST program requires basic education coursework, that course is free. (The student will not pay the standard $25 fee for adult basic education classes.)

Additional resources

  • Opportunity Grants – The Opportunity Grant helps low-income adults train for high-wage, high-demand careers.
  • The Federal Student Aid Handbook on Student Eligibility,under Chapter 1: School-Determined Requirements, states that "A person must be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program to receive FSA funds (exceptions are discussed later in this chapter). A regular student is someone who is enrolled or accepted for
    enrollment in an eligible institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree or
    certificate offered by the school."

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Last Modified: 1/30/24, 3:56 PM

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