ASSORTED COLLEGE LINKS
HIGH SCHOOL TRANSCRIPT SITES
Financial Aid Sites:
Discussion of Ability To Benefit for Financial Aid
"In 1998, Congress created a third option for non-high
school graduates to demonstrate that they have the "ability to benefit" from federal financial aid. Pub. L. No 105-244, Section
483. This third option allows students who have "completed a secondary school education in a home school
setting that is treated as a home school or a private school under state law" to receive financial aid. The
U.S. Department of Education's regulations restated the above law, explaining that a student is eligible for financial aid
if he was homeschooled, and either (1) obtained a secondary school completion credential as provided by state
law, or (2) has completed a secondary school education in a home school setting under state law."
is taken from National Center for Home Education Issue Analysis -
February 11, 2000.
Their website is http://nche.hslda.org/**********
Major Breakthrough for Homeschoolers
Seeking College Admission and Financial Aid
Many homeschoolers have faced difficulty at various universities
or college institutions during the 2001-2002 school year because of colleges refusing to admit homeschoolers into their college
for fear of losing their "institutional eligibility" federal funds. The source of the problem was the Federal
Student Aid Handbook that was issued during the last year of the Clinton administration, which contained inaccurate information.
The Handbook indicated to financial aid officers and college admissions officers that they would lose their institutional
eligibility if they admitted homeschool students. The Handbook was inaccurate and contradicted the federal law.
federal law states that colleges can only receive federal funding for their institution if the students they admit have either
a high school diploma, a GED, or if the students are beyond compulsory school attendance age.
HSLDA worked with many colleges to convince them that the handbook was wrong and that they could admit homeschoolers,
even if the students were under compulsory attendance age.
Chris Klicka, senior counsel of the Home School Legal Defense
Association worked with Eric Jasso, the Deputy Counsel for the Postgraduate Education, to resolve the discrepancy in the Handbook.
On March 6, 2002, Attorney Klicka testified before the Regulatory Board of the U.S. Department of Education. Klicka
explained that the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, which HSLDA drafted, make it clear that students who complete a secondary
education in a homeschool setting are eligible for federal financial aid, yet the Handbook indicates that if those same students
are accepted into a college, the college will lose its federal funding. The Regulatory Commission signed off on new
language drafted by Klicka and Eric Jasso to correct the Handbook errors.
In the meantime, in April, Eric Jasso issued
a letter which HSLDA widely distributed to help clarify the problem in the interim period, while the Handbook was being revised.
Nonetheless, some universities remained stubborn and refused to change their policies, fearing the loss of institutional eligibility
if they accepted homeschooled students who were under the age of 18. HSLDA attorneys worked many hours with colleges
and universities helping homeschool students finally gain admission in nearly every case.
Official U.S. Department
of Education Clarification Finally Issued At the end of November, the U.S. Department of Education finally issued a formal
"Dear Colleague" letter to all universities clarifying admission of homeschooled students to college. Attorney Klicka
worked with Jeffery Andrade, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Postsecondary Education, to produce this "Dear Colleague"
letter. The summary of the letter states, "An institution can admit most home-schooled students as regular students without
jeopardizing its eligibility to participate in the Title IV, HEA student financial assistance programs. The Department
considers that a home-schooled student is beyond the age of compulsory school attendance if the State in which the institution
is located does not consider the student truant once he or she has completed a home-school program."
We are thankful
for this important clarification since it resolves the frequent problem associated with "underage" homeschool students who
are being denied admission. This "Dear Colleague" letter makes it absolutely clear that students who graduate from their
homeschool program before reaching the state's compulsory age can be admitted to a college without that college losing any
of its federal financial aid. The letter states that, "Because homeschool students under the HEA are considered not to have
high school diplomas or GEDs, an extremely literal, non-harmonious reading of the two HEA sections (institutional eligibility
and student eligibility)would produce the illogical result of making institutions ineligible to participate in the Title IV,
HEA programs if they enrolled "under age" home schooled students who are eligible to receive Title IV, HEA program assistance."
In other words, in the past, homeschool students below the compulsory attendance age were able to receive federal student
aid for college, but yet the Handbook stated that those same students could not be accepted into a college because the college
would lose its financial aid. This absurd result was clearly fixed by the "Dear Colleague" letter, which can be found at the
U.S. Department of Education's financial aid website at:http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN0211.html.
The "Dear Colleague" letter also states that homeschoolers
can self-certify their completion of their secondary education in a homeschool setting. No proof is required to be submitted
in order to receive student financial aid.
Federal Student Aid Handbook Revised
All of these issues were further clarified in the new 2002-2003 Federal
Student Aid Handbook. This Handbook is sent to virtually all the colleges in the country and is accessible on the U.S.
Department of Education's financial aid website. Volume 1, chapter 1 of the Handbook specifically states that a homeschool
"student is eligible to receive FSA funds if the student's secondary school education was in a home school that state
law treats as a home or private school." It also states that "the Department considers a home school student to be beyond
the age of compulsory attendance if your school's state would not require the student to further attend secondary school or
continue to be homeschooled." The citation on the U.S. Department of Education webpage for this section of the Handbook
The most helpful section of the Handbook is found
in Volume 2, chapter 1, pages 6-7. This section makes it clear that homeschool students who complete their homeschool
curriculum before reaching the minimum age in compulsory education "can properly be admitted to a post- secondary school participating
in federal financial assistance programs." The U.S. Department of Education confirms that homeschoolers fit into the
third category of eligibility as listed below.
The Handbook states: "An eligible institution may admit as regular
students only persons who: Have a high school diploma; Have a recognized equivalent, as defined by the regulations, of a high
school diploma; or Are beyond age of compulsory school attendance in the state in which the institution is located."
these three options, the U.S. Department of Education clarifies in the Handbook that, "We consider a home school student to
be beyond the age of compulsory attendance if the state where your school is located would not require the student, once he
or she completes the home school program, to further attend secondary school or to continue to be home schooled."
the issue of proof of their completion of a homeschool program, the Handbook says on page 7 of Volume 2, chapter 1 states:
"Home school students may self-certify their completion of a home school curriculum, just as highschool graduates may self-certify
their receipt of a diploma. Home-schooled students are NOT required to obtain a state certification of home school completion
unless their state law provides for the issuance of such a certification." This puts to rest the often-abused procedure
that some colleges have tried to apply to homeschoolers, demanding that theypresent a high school diploma that is specifically
recognized by the state. This has never been a lawful requirement, and this clarification makes it perfectly clear that
homeschoolers do not have to obtain state recognition of their diploma. Presently, of the 50 states, there are no states that
require homeschoolers to obtain such a certification of their high school diploma, and only one state offers some homeschoolers
a voluntary procedure for obtaining a diploma.
Home Schoolers of Any Age Can be Admitted to Federally Funded
The U.S. Department of Education has finally spoken
in plain words on this issue: colleges need not fear losing institutional eligibility by admitting homeschool students.
They are free to admit homeschool students at any age, and those homeschool students are also eligible for personal student
financial aid as well.
We are thankful for the revisions in both the Handbook and the new "Dear Colleague" letter
and believe that this will clear the air and enable homeschoolers to easily gain admission to colleges based on the merit
of their excellent academic programs and will also enable homeschoolers to freely obtain student financial assistance
without any further unnecessary and illegal barriers.