February 20, 2002

Home Schoolers Eligible for SEEP Participation

Thanks to a member family's notifying Home School Legal Defense Association, home schooled students now have the opportunity to participate in a work-study program from which they were previously excluded due to a misinterpretation of the law.

A two-pronged program available to students of all academic levels from high school through graduate and professional degrees, the Student Education Employment Program (SEEP) offer students valuable work experience. The first prong is the Student Temporary Employment and the second is the Student Career Experience Program, which offers work directly related to the student's academic field of study. SEEP is run by the United States Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

In the fall of 2001, a member family contacted the National Center for Home Education regarding SEEP and its apparent discrimination against home schooled students. Based on an initial inquiry with GPO, the family learned that home schooled high school students could not participate in SEEP because they do not attend an "accredited school" as required by the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (5 CFR 213.3202). HSLDA's National Center for Home Education investigated the matter and received a similar response.

The National Center then sent a letter to OPM Director Kay Coles James, questioning the Printing Office's guidelines and stating that the policy needed to correspond with other government policies concerning home-schooled students.

This week, the National Center received an official response from OPM. In her letter, Director James said, "The SEEP does accept students who are home schooled at the high school level " and "students are eligible if they are pursuing this degree in an accredited high school program. We have interpreted this to mean that home schooled students may participate as long as they meet their state's requirements for home schooling."

According to Mrs. James, OPM has advised the Government Printing Office that home schooled students are not barred from participating in SEEP and that the SEEP website should reflect this fact.

Although HSLDA does not seek government benefits, we believe it is important for home schooled students to have the same opportunities that are generally available to their private and public school counterparts.

Click the picture above to read Director James' letter.