Transitional Bilingual Learning Community (TBLC)

Transitional Bilingual Learning Program (TBLC)
Academic Level
Issue Area
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Bilingual /ESL,
Learning Community


The Transitional Bilingual Learning Community (TBLC) program was launched to assist immigrant students with limited English proficiency to transition into college. The program prepares Latino English language learners (ELL) for college-level courses taught in English within a period of two semesters. They recruit recent high school graduates from Chicago Public Schools as well as students currently at Truman College completing GED requirements or non-credit bearing ESL courses.

The program consists of two phases:

Phase 1: A two-semester, full-time college credit initiative designed to transition Latino ELLs into college-level courses, utilizing a learning community cohort model to provide students with financial, bilingual, and academic support and services.

Phase 2: Students participate in “after-first-year” academic support services and activities designed to increase student persistence, graduation, and/or transfer. Students continue to receive academic advising, career, and transfer information from their TBLC college advisor who remains assigned to them.

For the last six years, TBLC has conducted an annual scholarship fund drive that has annually awarded 10 students with scholarships.

Program Description

To provide Latino ELLs of Truman College the best opportunity to acquire solid academic skills and knowledge, to be part of a supportive community of students and faculty, and to develop self-confidence and leadership. TBLC aims to: (1) increase the enrollment of Latino ELL through a strong recruitment network, (2) build and strengthen the students’ academic English language skills and knowledge, (3) promote the culture of higher education while supporting the students’ bilingual identities and experiences, (4) increase the number of Latino students completing associate degrees by at least 50%, (5) build the TBLC student community beyond the first year, encouraging students to participate in the Latinos United Club and the TBLC Alumni, and (6) develop array of fundraising events led by TBLC students and teaching team to provide at least 20 scholarships each year.


Over the past 15 years:

  • TBLC students have an average Phase I completion rate of 84%.
  • TBLC students in phase II are recording an average persistence rate of 63% and an average GPA of 2.85.
  • Including academic year 2017, 209 TBLC students in total have earned or will earn an associate degree, certificate and/or transferred to a four-year university.
  • Nearly 83% of the TBLC students that earn an AA/AS degree graduated with honors
  • In Fall 2013, a 2nd TBLC cohort was formed focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields and had a 90%

Phase 1 completion rate. Between 2007-2016:

  • 65% of TBLC Latino students self-reported (N=270) that they were born outside the United States (22% born in U.S.).
  • 53% of TBLC students earned a degree or certificate by Summer 2016 compared to 29% of non-TBLC students.
  • 40% of TBLC degree completers transferred by Summer 2016.
  • 83% of TBLC students passed ESLING-99 on their first try compared to 60% of non-TBLC students.
  • 86% of TBLC students returned the semester following ESLING-99 compared to 80% of non-TBLC students.
  • 48% of TBLC students earned an Associate’s degree by Summer 2016 compared to 21% of non-TBLC students.