The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXII
No. 3
Cover
May/June
2006

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NEW YORK

Revised Rule is Helping Homeschool Grads

Ayear after the New York Board of Regents responded to homeschoolers' concerns and revised its discriminatory college entrance requirements, Home School Legal Defense Association is pleased to report significant progress. More homeschool graduates than ever before are being successfully admitted to colleges across the state, based on their homeschool diploma, transcripts, and SAT/ACT scores.

While some homeschooled applicants are still meeting with resistance in certain college admissions offices, HSLDA has been able to quickly resolve such situations. One homeschool graduate was told that he would have to get a GED before he could be admitted to Farmingdale State University. HSLDA Staff Attorney Thomas J. Schmidt wrote to the university on behalf of our member family and explained that New York law had removed the preliminary education burden from homeschooled college applicants. The revised Board of Regents Rule 3.47 states that homeschoolers need to document completion of high school

only before obtaining their college degree, not before being admitted to college. After this clarification, Farmingdale State admitted the homeschool graduate.

Admissions issues at other colleges-such as the community colleges in Monroe, Nassau, and Niagara counties-have been cleared up with a few phone calls. Most of these colleges, like Farmingdale State, had failed to grasp that a homeschool student can be admitted prior to demonstrating fulfillment of the preliminary education requirement necessary for earning a college degree./p>

Since the amendment was enacted, HSLDA and Loving Education at Home have worked closely with the New York State Education Department to ensure that the guidance letter the department sends to state colleges and universities addresses the concerns of homeschool graduates seeking college entrance. Additionally, HSLDA has written to several colleges in order to ensure they do not place any undue burdens on homeschooled applicants.

In fall 2005, HSLDA sent a memo to every New York state school district informing them how the new regulations apply to them. There are several ways for homeschool graduates to meet the preliminary education requirements in order to receive a degree from a New York college or university, one of which is to obtain a "substantial equivalent" letter from the superintendent. Our memo made it clear that if a homeschool student completes a high school program in compliance with 100.10 of the New York code, the superintendent must provide the letter verifying the substantial equivalence of the program. HSLDA is also communicating with the City University of New York schools to ensure that they are treating homeschool graduates the same as public school graduates. Our goal is to verify that all admissions counselors in the University Application Center understand that students can be admitted without a GED and that other entrance options, such as SAT scores and transcripts, are available to homeschool graduates.

— by Thomas J. Schmidt