March 1, 2016
  Sergeant Peter Gibson in Afghanistan. Sergeant Peter Gibson served in the 25th Infantry in Afghanistan, but needed HSLDA to defend the validity of his homeschool diploma upon returning home.

Photo courtesy of Peter Gibson

Good Enough to Die, but Not Good Enough for DeVry?


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After five-and-a-half years of service in the United States Army, including combat deployment in Afghanistan, Sergeant Peter Gibson came home to Ohio to settle down and pursue a career information technology.

YOUR ATTORNEY Mike Donnelly Mike Donnelly

Gibson spent about a year in the deadly Pech River Valley with a platoon in the 25th Infantry Division serving in Operation Hammer Down. After completing his enlistment and leaving the Army he thought he had found a fit with DeVry University in Illinois. The school’s practical course offerings, and its career-focused program would allow him to concentrate his studies in information technology and networking. DeVry also offered a full-time online program so that Gibson could continue both his studies and his work in Ohio.

Gibson applied, but DeVry was hesitant to accept his application because of his homeschool diploma—despite the fact that he had served as a high school graduate for years in the military and had qualified for any Army job due to his exceptionally high ASVAB scores.

The school’s admissions department told Gibson, “Basically, we need a homeschool portfolio to demonstrate it meets standards since there is no accreditation.”

“It was a little frustrating,” Gibson acknowledged, adding that he didn’t believe the university was ill-intentioned. “I think it reflects a lack of education [about homeschooling] on their part.”

Advocating, Informing

As HSLDA members, Gibson’s parents contacted Mike Donnelly, HSLDA’s attorney for Ohio members. Donnelly sent a letter to DeVry’s admissions department to explain that homeschool diplomas are valid and that Ohio law treats them as such. Donnelly had worked with Christian Home Educators for years to establish legal recognition of homeschool diplomas. Even so, HSLDA considers it pointless for DeVry to have asked Gibson for a portfolio from nearly a decade ago.

Shortly after receiving Donnelly’s letter, DeVry contacted Gibson to let him know that his application was accepted. Gibson enrolled without further difficulty and has even received grants from the university for his studies. He starts classes this week.

For his fellow homeschool graduates who encounter questioning of their education, Gibson has this advice: “Don’t get discouraged. There are still a lot of uneducated people who don’t realize how much homeschoolers are capable of.”

Donnelly echoes Gibson: “Even though home education is a proven mainstream educational alternative, uninformed administrators still cause these sorts of problems. That’s why HSLDA is pleased to serve our member families who experience this kind of unfair behavior. We think that homeschoolers should be treated the same as other applicants and on their own merits. HSLDA will defend our members while they are homeschooling and as well as after graduation. DeVry should be commended for changing its decision and accepting Sergeant Gibson without a portfolio examination.”

If you or your graduate encounters a college or employer who is uninformed regarding homeschool diplomas, please contact HSLDA. We are here to ensure that the excellent education homeschool graduates have received is recognized as such.