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September 14, 2017

College Misleads Homeschool Grads—Stubbornly and Deliberately

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Mike Donnelly by MIKE DONNELLY
Contact attorney for Ohio

Ohio’s state-supported Lorain County Community College wrote recently about how homeschool graduate Jody Page was “happy to find out the ABLE program at LCCC prepares students to earn the GED at no cost.” 

LCC wrote in their article that “federal financial aid requires a diploma from an accredited school or GED.”  According to LCC, Page said that “when I applied for college at LCCC, counselors informed me that due to being homeschooled (her high school diploma was not accredited) I wouldn’t qualify for financial aid.”

This is a misrepresentation.

I might be reluctant to accuse the college of perpetrating an intentional falsehood if it weren’t for the fact that for years I have been sending letters to LCCC pointing out that federal financial aid guidelines do not require that students have a diploma that is state-recognized or accredited. For some reason LCCC persists in perpetuating this falsehood and imposing a discriminatory and unlawful policy on homeschool graduates. 

In fact, LCCC is one of the reasons HSLDA worked with Christian Home Educators of Ohio, the Ohio Legislature, and Governor John Kasich to pass the Diploma Fairness Act, which states that students with valid homeschool diplomas cannot be treated differently based on the fact that they were homeschooled. 

Federal law allows the parents of homeschooled graduates to certify that they have completed high school and that these students are 100% eligible for financial aid. See our memo dated October 2010!)

Yet here we are in 2017, two years after the diploma fairness bill and seven years after our 2010 memo, and LCC is (proudly) writing articles about how it is misinforming homeschool graduates about what is required for them to qualify for financial aid and how pleased these misinformed homeschooled graduates are that LCCC is misinforming them!

One would think that LCCC—as a state-supported institution—would feel at least a moral obligation to accurately inform its incoming students about the requirements to attend there.  Maybe the U.S. Department of Education should investigate and inform LCCC that if it is going to distribute federal financial aid it has an obligation to truthfully and accurately represent the requirements for all students regarding eligibility.

For decades HSLDA has been at the forefront of fighting unlawful discrimination against homeschooled graduates. The reality is that probably 90% of colleges and universities’ understand the law and do not misinform or try to impose unnecessary and unlawful requirements of homeschooled applicants. These colleges and universities welcome homeschool graduates because they have demonstrated an ability to succeed. 

As homeschooling grows there will continue to be situations where individuals in authority, whether at a college, university or place of employment, need to be reminded that homeschool graduates are entitled to equal treatment. 

Serving hundreds of thousands of homeschooling families in this way is part of our mission at HSLDA and our privilege.

And this is why we need you to be a member of HSLDA—together we stand for freedom for homeschooling and homeschoolers. If someone had told Jody Page’s family about HSLDA, maybe she wouldn’t have had to take the GED because we would have advocated for her. It’s important that we preserve the strength of our unified voice.  It’s our privilege to serve as the voice for our member families and a strong voice for homeschooling freedom.