Based on an erroneous understanding of recruiting policy, the United States Air Force turned away a homeschool graduate who was educated overseas. Thankfully, HSLDA’s advocacy, along with some help from the Department of Defense, remedied the unfair treatment.

The homeschool graduate returned to the US last spring after being educated by her parents overseas on the mission field. After deciding to join the Air Force, she provided her local recruiter with her homeschool transcript and diploma.

But the recruiter told her those documents weren’t good enough because they weren’t accredited.

Help from HSLDA

The graduate reached out to Home School Legal Defense Association because it didn’t seem right that she should be turned away simply because her parents educated her at home—and she didn’t think she could get the requested accreditation even if she wanted to.

I agreed and contacted the recruiter to help clarify the legitimacy of homeschooling.

On the phone, the recruiter insisted that the graduate present evidence from a third-party accrediting organization verifying the transcripts.

I followed the phone call up with a letter explaining that the graduate could not obtain the requested accreditation because the agencies listed by the recruiter do not accredit individual homeschool transcripts. I also cited the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which confirms that homeschool graduates must be treated the same as other high school graduates for purposes of enlistment in the armed forces.

The recruiter responded right away, confirming that he would be happy to process the graduate as a qualified applicant. It seemed like a routine misunderstanding had been resolved.

Missing Information

What he didn’t say, though, was that she would be classified as a Tier 3 applicant, which would significantly limit her opportunities with the Air Force.

When I found out about the graduate’s Tier 3 classification, I knew we needed some help from inside the bureaucracy; I reached out to a contact at the Department of Defense with whom I’ve worked on homeschool policy. The next day, I received word that the Air Force contracted the graduate as a Tier 1 applicant.

It was great to hear of this positive resolution, but sobering to be reminded that despite the widespread growth and acceptance of homeschooling, legal advocacy is still needed to ensure homeschool graduates are treated fairly.

Your membership with HSLDA helps support our ongoing work to ensure homeschool graduates are not treated unfairly solely because they were homeschooled.