February 28, 2010

Homeschool Grad Admitted to Embry-Riddle

The Kings (names changed to protect privacy), a Home School Legal Defense Association member family, contacted us with an urgent request for assistance. Their son was being denied admission to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University—Worldwide, and they needed help with an appeal to the admissions office within two days. The reason for their son’s denial was his homeschool transcript. Embry-Riddle was demanding that the high school graduate take the General Education Development test (GED) or he would not be admitted.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Thomas Schmidt immediately reviewed the case and contacted the admissions department at Embry-Riddle. During his telephone call, the director of admissions was reluctant to accept the Kings’ verification of their son’s completion of high school at home. However, Schmidt followed up this phone conversation with an email providing documentation demonstrating that homeschool graduates can and should compete on a level playing field with other high school graduates.

Schmidt provided Embry-Riddle’s admissions director with detailed information concerning the Higher Education Act Amendments of 1998 and gave the director information provided by the U.S. Department of Education concerning postsecondary federal student financial assistance. Both of these documents demonstrate that homeschool students may self-certify their high school transcripts. In addition, Schmidt explained the discriminatory nature of imposing additional requirements (such as the GED) on homeschool graduates. Schmidt argued that while colleges cannot be “required” to accept homeschool graduates (or any other graduate for that matter), they are prohibited from requiring a GED/accredited diploma for federal financial aid.

Fifteen minutes after Schmidt’s contact with the director of admissions at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the King family contacted HSLDA. Their son had been accepted!

In correspondence with Schmidt, the director said that “the information [provided by HSLDA] is exactly what I was looking for… . I may have been too hasty in requiring he take the GED… . In this case, it appears we will be making a favorable decision.”