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Colleges are wooing homeschoolers... Why?  Because they're great!

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Financial Aid Sites:
www.fafsa.ed.gov - - Free Application for Federal Student Aid - this
must be filled out and submitted asap after Jan. 1 of the senior year. 
Can be done online.  And updated later.
studentaid.ed.gov - - US Dept. of Ed Aid Programs
www.ed.gov/inits/hope - HOPE and Lifetime Learning Tax Credit
www.nasfaa.org - National Assn. of Student Aid Administrators
www.finaid.org - Financial Aid Info Page
www.finaid.org/finaid/calculators/estimate.html - Financial Aid
Eligibility Estimator
www.finaid.org/finaid/scams/hotml - Scholarship scam information

www.clas.ufl.edu/CLAS/american-universities.html - - American Colleges
and Universities
www.finaid.org/otheraid/fao.phtml - - College Finanical Aid Offices
www.peterson.com - Petersons Education Ctr.
www.collegeboard.com - The College Board Online

www.supercollege.com - - SuperCollege
www.fastweb.com - FastWeb!Scholarship Search
www.educaid.com - Student Loan info
www.irs.gov - Tuition Tax Credits and Deductions (pub 970)
www.nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cool - College Programs & Degree Info

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."

This is taken from National Center for Home Education Issue Analysis -
February 11, 2000.

Their website is
http://nche.hslda.org/

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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.

A 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 is

http://ifap.ed.gov/sfahandbooks/attachments/0203Vol1Ch1.pdf .

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."

Of 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."

On 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 Colleges
 
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.

www.moorefoundation.com

You gave your entire life to become the person you are today.  Was it worth it?  ~Richard Bach