Serving almost half of all undergraduate students in the country, community colleges are a vital part of the postsecondary education system in the United States. Nearly 50% of these students come from an immigrant background, are permanent legal residents, are naturalized U.S. citizens or children of immigrants, and increasingly, refugees and asylees. For many, this often begins with non-credit English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. Unfortunately, of all the students who begin their studies with noncredit courses, only 10% make the transition to further education of any kind, and an even smaller percentage ever complete a degree or certificate. In response to both the increasing need of teaching ESL to immigrants and refugees, and facilitating the academic success of students who begin their studies in noncredit, Cuyamaca College developed an innovative ESL-Link program which begins with intensive (150 hours/semester) noncredit instruction. Those students who successfully pass this course are guaranteed admission into the first level credit course (ESL 80). The study evaluated the efficacy of the pilot ESL-Link program by comparing the academic success of students in credit ESL 80 (taken in spring 2011) of the ESL-Link students to those students who did not participate in the ESL-Link program. Quantitative data (final course grades and enrollment in additional classes) and qualitative data (interviews of participating ESL faculty members) were used to evaluate this program. Further research should examine the longer-term academic and personal benefits of participating in the ESL-Link program, the benefit of linking additional courses to the sequence of linked classes, and the role of student support services in supporting the unique psycho/social and emotional needs of refugees.