The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXII
No. 5
Cover
September/October
2006

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OKLAHOMA

College Rescinds Discriminatory Policy

Homeschoolers throughout Oklahoma are generally gaining admission to colleges and universities without much trouble these days. Helping clear the way for colleges to adopt nondiscriminatory homeschool policies, Home School Legal Defense Association has been working for the last 10 years to enact various amendments to the Higher Education Act. HSLDA attorneys also speak with college financial aid advisers and admissions officers on a regular basis to clear up any misconception or discriminatory policies.

Nonetheless, a Tulsa Community College policy required all homeschoolers to take an ability-to-benefit (ATB) test to seek financial aid. When HSLDA member and homeschool mom Marilyn Siemens, who works with the Christian Home Educators Fellowship, learned of this discriminatory policy, she sent the college officials a copy of the law and the Oklahoma Board of Regents policy (which is favorable toward homeschoolers).

But the college dug its heels in, so Siemens notified HSLDA. Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka called the admissions office and talked with one of the officers, explaining that HSLDA had amended the Higher Education Act to specifically allow for homeschoolers to receive federal financial aid if they had “completed high school education in a homeschool setting.” He further explained that some colleges had mistakenly required homeschoolers to pass an ATB test in order to receive federal financial aid.

The college then contacted an unnamed bureaucrat at the Oklahoma Department of Education, who insisted that homeschool graduates had to take the ATB test.

In a letter to Tulsa Community College, Klicka stated that the longstanding practice of discrimination needed to end. “You have all laws before you,” he wrote. ”You have no excuse—an arbitrary opinion of some bureaucrat somewhere does not cut it in the face of the law.“

The president of Tulsa Community College finally retracted the inequitable policy; homeschoolers are no longer discriminated against when seeking financial aid at Tulsa Community College. We are thankful for these developments as homeschoolers continue to gain financial aid to colleges everywhere and perform above average academically once they are admitted.

— by Christopher J. Klicka