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August 13, 2013

Helping Homeschoolers Before, During and After

Staff Attorney Mike Donnelly answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Colorado. He and his wife homeschool. Read more >>

One Colorado member family faced questions about their homeschooling when they least expected it: after graduation. The local college’s financial aid office was not satisfied with the diploma their son provided and demanded state verification of his graduation.

There was once a time when colleges were quite confused by homeschooled graduates. Confronted with parent-signed diplomas and mom-written transcripts, many college admissions officers were left scratching their head. Today, most colleges understand the quality a home education provides and actively recruit homeschooled students.

A Little Confused

There are still a few, however, that are unfamiliar with homeschooling and will ask for “state verification” or a “state-issued credential” to validate a diploma provided by a homeschool student.

HSLDA finds that this request is usually the result of a misunderstanding of the law and that most of these colleges are actually looking for evidence of a school’s, or homeschool’s, compliance with state law. For this Colorado family, HSLDA contacted the college office and confirmed that the financial aid administrator was simply looking for verification paperwork that the family’s school was operating under state law.

Under Colorado’s homeschool statute, families submit notification to a school district at the start of the year. These notification letters can often serve as evidence of compliance with state law for college offices. In this case, the family had been homeschooling under Colorado’s independent school option, making verification slightly more complicated.

Legal Distinction

Independent schools are distinct from homeschools, but still allow families to educate their children at home under the auspices of an independent school. Independent schools are responsible for maintaining attendance reports and providing them upon the request of the school district, but there is no notification or registration process.

HSLDA has created a memo for Colorado families to understand the independent school option which is available online. You can learn more about home education in Colorado by visiting our Colorado homepage.

To help this family, HSLDA’s staff attorney for Colorado member affairs, Mike Donnelly, reviewed the family’s documentation for the independent school and wrote a letter to the college administrator explaining the independent school law and verifying that the family’s independent school was valid under the statute. Donnelly’s letter provided the school with what they needed, and the family was able to finalize their remaining paperwork. The son will attend the school this fall.

HSLDA assists member families with a wide range of issues related to homeschooling. You never know when an issue can arise relating to your choice to follow the somewhat less-traveled path of home education. HSLDA membership is one major component to providing you with peace of mind to start and continue your homeschooling journey. Our staff of homeschooling advocates is available to assist you in every phase of your homeschooling journey. If you’re not a member, why not take a moment and join right now?

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While many colleges actively recruit homeschool students, well-known for excellence, some admissions offices are still unfamiliar with homeschool laws. While colleges ultimately have prerogative to set their admissions standards, HSLDA has been successful in helping many homeschool students navigate the red tape of college offices and educating administrators about homeschooling and homeschool law. If you have questions or difficulties in a school accepting your family’s homeschool diploma, don’t hesitate to contact HSLDA. We are happy to assist you!