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2/18/2009 1:35:56 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Virginia--Call for Scholarship Bill Before Full Committee Vote

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Virginia--Call for Scholarship Bill Before Full Committee Vote

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Good news! Last night a subcommittee of the House Education Committee
voted unanimously in favor of the Scholarship Equity Bill, S.B. 1547.

The bill's next test will come in the full House Education Committee
on Monday. Despite the bill's highly favorable reception in the
Senate and the House subcommittee, an unfavorable vote in the full
committee would bring the bill's amazing progress to a catastrophic
halt. In these challenging economic times, it's more important than
ever that college scholarships financed by our state tax dollars be
available equally to homeschoolers.

Your calls will help make sure that scholarship agencies don't
stubbornly refuse to accept homeschoolers' grade point average, class
rank, or status as a high school graduate. Your calls will make sure
homeschoolers have a fair opportunity to receive scholarships their
parents' tax dollars have funded.

In one particularly troubling case, a homeschooled young lady was
given a scholarship and began attending college. But she was told
last summer that her scholarship would be yanked because it was given
"in error." S.B. 1547 will guarantee that this unfortunate event is
never repeated in Virginia.

Senator Ken Cuccinelli's office has asked for your calls.

ACTION REQUESTED

Please call the members of the committee (below). Your message can be
as simple as, "Please vote in favor of S.B. 1547. Families with
financial need should get fair access to the Virginia Guaranteed
Assistance Program scholarships whether the student was homeschooled
or publicly schooled."

If your last name begins with A-G, please call delegates in group 1.
If it begins with H-M, call group 2. If it begins with N-R, call
group 3. Others, call group 4.

Group 1
James M. Shuler
(804) 698-1012

R. Steven Landes
(804) 698-1025

William H. Fralin
(804) 698-1017

Mark L. Cole
(804) 698-1088

James P. "Jimmie" Massie
(804) 698-1072

Thomas Davis Rust
(804) 698-1086

Group 2
L. Scott Lingamfelter
(804) 698-1031

David L. Bulova
(804) 698-1037

Stephen C. Shannon
(804) 698-1035

Robert Tata, Chairman
(804) 698-1085

Phillip A. Hamilton
(804) 698-1093

Kenneth C. Alexander
(804) 698-1089

Group 3
Adam P. Ebbin
(804) 698-1049

Clifford L. Athey
(804) 698-1018

Brenda L. Pogge
(804) 698-1096

G. Manoli Loupassi
(804) 698-1068

Thomas D. Gear
(804) 698-1091

C. Todd Gilbert
(804) 698-1015

Group 4
Joseph D. Morrissey
(804) 698-1074

Jennifer L. McClellan
(804) 698-1071

Roslyn C. Tyler
(804) 698-1075

Onzlee Ware
(804) 698-1011


BACKGROUND

The Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP) can cover full
tuition, fees and a book allowance for students who have financial
need, as determined by the individual college. But VGAP requires that
scholarship recipients be "graduates of a high school" in Virginia.
Home instruction is defined in law as not being a "school", so
colleges won't give the scholarship to homeschool students.
Furthermore, VGAP requires a 2.5 high school grade point average, and
some colleges have refused to acknowledge the validity of
homeschoolers' GPAs for scholarship purposes.

S.B. 1547 treats a student who has completed of a program of
homeschooling (under either notice of intent or religious exemption)
the same way a "graduate of a high school" is treated. Then it
requires SCHEV (State Council of Higher Education for Virginia) to
develop a fair, objective equivalent for grade point average and class
rank. The bill thus levels the playing field for homeschool graduates.
(There are other requirements for the scholarship as well, but they
are not problematic for homeschoolers.)

As originally introduced, the bill's language needed to be adjusted
slightly. Representatives of Home Educators of Virginia, and
Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers and I worked steadily last week
with a representative of SCHEV to develop revised language. This new
language was amended into the bill last night (but does not show up on
the legislature's website yet).

As amended, the bill says:

"Persons who have completed a program of home school instruction in
accordance with sec. 22.1-254.1
(http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6144 ) and persons who have been
excused from school attendance pursuant to subsection B of sec.
22.1-254 (http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6145 ) shall be eligible
to participate in and shall be deemed to have met the high school
graduation requirements for purposes of eligibility for any
state-supported financial aid or other higher education programs.
When a high school grade point average, class rank, or other academic
criteria is specified as a condition of participating in a program,
the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia shall develop
empirical alternative equivalent measures that may be required for
such programs."

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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-> Who are the nation's best lobbyists?

We don't know that this has ever been determined; but we do know
that HSLDA's National Center for Home Education is the only
national organization lobbying on behalf of homeschoolers on
Capitol Hill.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1102

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