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July 18, 2014

Federal Student Financial Aid Issue Resolved

Senior Counsel Dee Black answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Alaska. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

Home School Legal Defense Association recently assisted an Alaska homeschool graduate who was being denied admission to a New York community college and federal financial aid she needed to attend. The college was insisting that the applicant furnish a letter from the Alaska Department of Education verifying that the state considered her to be a high school graduate.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black sent a letter to the director of financial aid at Jefferson Community College in Watertown and provided him with information about Alaska’s homeschool law and the federal law governing financial aid to students. Black explained that Alaska law does not require parents to notify state officials of their decision to operate a homeschool or report any information about their homeschool to state officials. Further, Alaska law does not require a homeschool graduate to obtain any credential from the state to verify that the student has completed a secondary education.

Regarding the student’s eligibility for financial aid, Black’s letter pointed out that federal law prohibits colleges that receive federal funds from requiring an accredited high school diploma or GED in order for a student to be eligible for federal financial aid if the student “shall have completed a secondary school education in a home school setting that is treated as a home school or private school under State law.” Fulfillment of this requirement is verified during the college admissions process when a student supplies a college with a transcript and other evidence of meeting the credit hour requirements for the completion of a high school education. Under this program, homeschool students may self-certify their completion of a secondary school curriculum, just as public and private high school graduates may self-certify their receipt of a diploma. They are not required to obtain any state certification of homeschool completion unless the law of the state in which they completed their homeschooling provides for the issuance of such a certification.

After receiving Black’s letter, the community college admitted the homeschool graduate and processed the student’s request for federal financial aid.

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