It has taken ten years for fact to overcome perception but as of August two important issues for Homeschool Families have been clarified. This year’s revision of the “Federal Student Aid Handbook: Vol. 2010-2011 can be accessed on line at http://www.ifap.ed.gov/ifap/byAwardYear.jsp?type=fsahandbook&awardyear=2010-2011 .
In the first volume, chapter one, home school students are stated as eligible for FSA funds provided their education at the secondary level was treated by their state law as a home or a private school.
On a separate but related issue, the handbook farther clarifies that the age of compulsory attendance does not apply to a home schooled student if the state does not ask the student to enroll at a secondary school or to receive more homeschooling. Volume 2, Chapter 1, page 6 further clarifies that such a student is beyond the age of compulsory education if his state wouldn’t consider him truant after completing the homeschool program.
What may an institution require as proof that the homeschool student has completed his education? The same Volume 2, chapter 1 and page 6 affirms that the school “may rely on a homeschooled student’s self-certification that he or she completed secondary school in a homeschool setting.” The demand that some schools make for a high school diploma recognized by the state is not a lawful requirement. None of the 50 states have this requirement. This also applies to requirements of a GED to obtain. It is considered to be discriminatory based on US House of Representative and Senate Committee Reports- Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (Pub L. No. 105 – 244). This was passed to encourage institutions of higher learning receiving federal funding to stop discrimination towards homeschoolers.
To sum up, HSLDA- Advocates for Homeschooling, in their October 2010 current issue analysis concludes, “Homeschool graduates need only to demonstrate that they have successfully completed a secondary school education in a homeschool setting and have met state law requirements. No college may refuse admittance based on the argument that these graduates are under compulsory school attendance age.”….” Furthermore, institutions of higher learning that receive federal aid can admit homeschool graduates, at any age, without endangering their institutional eligibility. For federal financial aid, homeschoolers need only self-certify their homeschool diplomas”.