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August 10, 2017

HSLDA helped this grad in the Nick of time.

Homeschool Grad Faces College System—and Wins!

Darren Jones DARREN JONES
HSLDA litigation attorney

Officials at the community college from which Nick Jones was transferring almost ruined his opportunity to attend the University of California, Berkeley, because of an arbitrary, after-the-fact change in how they certify certain academic credits.

And they wouldn’t back down until after our attorney—who is funded by our members and friends, families just like yours—took them to court.

Nick graduated from homeschooling three years ago. He’s been attending Diablo Valley—a local community college—since then, and he’s a straight-A student.

California allows community college students who complete certain classes at the high school or community college level to transfer to the University of California. This option is called “IGETC” (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum).

Part of IGETC requires knowledge of a language other than English. Diablo Valley’s written policy says that “satisfactory completion of two years of high school coursework” is sufficient, and Nick had taken two years of Spanish in high school.

Nick applied to UC Berkeley last winter. And Berkeley accepted him—subject to proof that he had met his IGETC requirements by July 15.

On June 6, 2017, Nick ran into a problem. Even though two Diablo Valley counselors had signed off on his high school Spanish in 2016, he was now told for the first time that the college wouldn’t accept it for IGETC because he was homeschooled.

Two days later, Diablo Valley confirmed that it would not accept homeschooling transcripts, even while admitting that “there is nothing in writing that says that.” And again, it refused to certify his IGETC.

The clock was ticking. Nick had 36 days.

A week went by while Diablo Valley “researched” the problem it had just sprung on him. On June 16, with less than a month to go, Diablo Valley emailed Nick: “After further research we cannot use the Spanish you took in high school for your IGETC certification. We do not evaluate course work from non-accredited high schools or colleges.”

At this point, HSLDA stepped in to address the problem.

We had to act because there was so much more at stake than just Diablo Valley’s mistreatment of Nick. With the major state university system already making it difficult for homeschool graduates to enroll directly, we couldn’t allow a community college to unfairly foul up the transfer process, too.

Thankfully, when the time came to leverage our legal resources, we were able to do so because of the support of members like you. But it wasn’t easy; this case was the definition of a nail-biter.

The first week after hearing from Nick, we contacted several people at Diablo—none of whom would fix the problem.

Nick and his mother met with Diablo Valley’s vice president for student services. They explained the urgent deadline—by this time, they were down to 23 days.

Diablo Valley stonewalled. On June 28, Diablo Valley sent a final email denying certification.

The clock was down to 17 days.

On June 30, HSLDA Staff Attorney Darren Jones faxed a letter to Diablo Valley, demanding certification. We included copies of court papers for a lawsuit we intended to file on July 5 if the college continued refusing.

The clock kept ticking; Nick had 10 days left.

On July 7, with no response from the college, HSLDA filed a complaint in Contra Costa County court and let Diablo Valley know we were asking the judge for an emergency hearing. The soonest we could get that hearing was Tuesday, July 11.

On Tuesday, with only four days to go before Berkeley revoked Nick’s admission, HSLDA local counsel Mary Schofield appeared before the judge to explain the case. Surprisingly, no one from the college bothered to show up. The judge signed an order forcing Diablo Valley to certify Nick’s program immediately.

That afternoon, we delivered the order to Diablo Valley.

The clock ticked down another day.

On Wednesday, Diablo Valley staff had a meeting with their attorney.

On Thursday, they wisely agreed to comply with the judge’s order and certify Nick’s IGETC.

On Friday morning, one day before the deadline, Berkeley received the certification by FedEx and notified Nick that he was in!

“Thank you for all of your help and for resolving the situation,” Nick wrote us the next week.

You’re welcome, Nick. We love helping homeschooling families!

Want to help us take a stand for more homeschoolers like Nick?

We can’t do it alone. Our members and donors—homeschooling families and other friends of homeschooling—play a huge role in enabling us to combat discrimination against homeschool students and graduates.

Contributions to our Homeschool Freedom Fund are used to pay for legal expenses—which can be sizeable when we have to go to court. Would you consider making a gift today so we can help more homeschool grads like Nick?