The Home School Court Report
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The new pioneers: Black home schoolers

On the frontier: Four home school families

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Kentucky teen finally free to home school

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The GED hokey-pokey

If your child has satisfactorily finished the high school program prescribed by his parents, he deserves a diploma-the badge of success, not merely a GED (General Educational Development diploma)-which some people perceive as a mark of failure. Private schools-including home-based private schools-may issue diplomas to students as evidence of satisfactory completion of a high school program.

If a 17-year-old student wants a GED nonetheless, get ready for some headaches.

An Indiana member family's 17-year-old son recently took the GED test, but officials refused to release his results or issue his GED, because he had not listed a state-issued "number" for his home-based private school on the application forms. Although such a number is not legally required, there is a peculiar Catch-22 for a 17-year-old home school student wanting a GED.

The state requires that the student actually drop out of ("withdraw" from) his high school program in order to be eligible for a GED. This withdrawal must be documented through an "exit interview process." A 17-year-old student who is still in a high school program or has graduated is ineligible.

Indiana Code § 20-8.1-3-24 (b), second sentence, states:

When a pupil withdraws from school, and no public or other private school has requested the pupil's educational records within fifteen (15) school days after the date the pupil withdrew from school, then the private school shall report to the state superintendent of public instruction or the superintendent of the school corporation in which the private school is located, the name and address of the pupil and the date he withdrew from school.

If a 17-year-old home schooler "drops out" of his high school program-a requirement for the GED-the home-based private school is probably obligated to send the report described above. This will ordinarily result in the state assigning a "number" to the school. Absence of a "number," therefore, implies that the school violated the law by not sending the required notice.

So if the student really wants a GED, his parents should consider filing the dropout notice and accepting a state "number." Or wait until the student turns 18-it's much simpler to get a GED then.

Better yet, forget the hokey-pokey. Give your student a diploma. That is what the family mentioned earlier in this article decided to do.

School number not needed for work permit

A Franklin-area member recently applied for a work permit for her son. She was told that a work permit could not be issued unless she supplied a "private school number."

HSLDA contacted the school official and explained that private schools (home schools) are not required to have "numbers," and that Indiana law does not permit a school district to deny a work permit because of failure to supply a private school number. The school official agreed to issue the work permit. — Scott A. Woodruff

See Recognizing Home School Diplomas for College Admittance and Financial Aid, below.

Recognizing home school diplomas for college admittance & financial aid

When home educated students from any state apply to the college or university of their choice, the admissions officer frequently asks two questions: (1) Are home schoolers eligible for financial aid without obtaining a GED or passing an ability-to-benefit test? and (2) Can a university admit a student with a home school high school diploma who is under the age of compulsory attendance and still retain its eligibility for federal funding?

The answer to both questions is "Yes."

Colleges and universities have often-and unnecessarily-insisted that home schoolers obtain a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) in order to receive financial aid. This requirement was usually based on the institution's concerns about federal funding regulations. Home School Legal Defense Association addressed the problem at its root, and drafted federal legislation to place home school college applicants for admissions and financial aid on the same footing as traditionally schooled applicants.

This language was included in The Higher Education Act Amendments of 1998 (Pub. L. No. 105-244). Although these amendments, enacted in October 1998, changed what post-secondary schools could require of home school applicants, many financial aid officers are unaware of the altered regulations. To smooth the way for home school students in the college application process, HSLDA has summarized the federal regulations for financial aid and admissions officers online at