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June 6, 2017

College Lets Parents Validate Homeschool Language Credits


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When his daughter had difficulty getting a college to verify her high school foreign language credits, a dad reached out to HSLDA for help.

Joel Fischer JOEL FISCHER Legal Assistant for Florida

Florida has a quirky statute that requires institutions within the Florida College System (FCS) to determine the “postsecondary equivalence” of a student’s high school foreign language credits. If a review of a student’s credits results in a determination of such equivalence, the student is considered competent in the foreign language, and is “exempt from a requirement of completing foreign language courses at the secondary or Florida College System level.”

In practice, if a student’s foreign language credits were completed through something other than an “accredited” program, the local public school, or Florida’s online virtual school, they aren’t likely to be accepted. And since most homeschool families choose to utilize independent study programs like Rosetta Stone for their foreign language curriculum, homeschool graduates who apply to FCS schools are typically unable to meet the verification requirements.

These situations usually result in a call to HSLDA. Then we strategize with families about what acceptable (and fast) alternatives can be found to satisfy the respective school so that the student does not have to repeat the foreign language classes at the college level. These alternatives include taking a SAT subject test or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test in the particular language or providing additional information about the curriculum that was used for the course. Too often, though, these proposed solutions wind up falling short.

But this time, things turned out differently.

Degree on Hold

Our member family’s daughter had been attending the State College of Florida (SCF), and was on track to graduate this May with an associate degree. After she turned in some paperwork in preparation for graduation, the college asked to see her high school transcript. Upon reviewing the transcript, the college then informed the young woman that her credits in French and Spanish would not be accepted, and that she would either have to take two college semesters in a foreign language or take the CLEP tests for both courses.

After some preliminary dialogue with the college, our member family turned to us for help. We confirmed that while there is a Florida requirement that colleges in the FCS verify foreign language credits, colleges do have some leeway in how to verify those credits.

Armed with this information, the member family spoke with SCF’s records department. The department’s representative informed the family that while Florida foreign language credit verification requirement was indeed problematic, she was willing to work with the family to find a solution.

And ultimately, a satisfactory solution was reached. SFC reviewed the daughter’s transcript, along with the curriculum materials for her foreign language courses. SFC also asked the family to provide a revised notarized homeschool affidavit, which included a statement certifying that the homeschool student had “successfully completed two academic years of a single foreign language as part of his or her home school curriculum.”

You can see this affidavit here.

Although the affidavit stipulates that a student may still have to take a CLEP exam, it is the first time (that we are aware of) that a college in the FCS has created a tool to enable homeschool parents to validate their student’s homeschool foreign language credits.

Our member family’s daughter graduated this month, without having to take a CLEP test or additional college classes in French or Spanish. If more colleges in Florida follow SCF’s example, then Florida’s foreign language verification statute will soon be pas de problème.