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July 13, 2012

Idaho State University Drops GED Demand

Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Idaho. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

N.K. applied for admission to Idaho State University (ISU). The vice president of student affairs told him he could not be admitted without a GED.

Members of Home School Legal Defense Association, N.K.’s family sought our assistance. Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff wrote to the vice president and explained that the Idaho State Board of Education had just adopted a new rule that cleared the way for homeschoolers to be admitted to college without a GED. Woodruff also explained the new rule to the ISU attorney, at the vice president’s request. The attorney, in turn, said she would talk to the provost.

The vice president subsequently sent N.K. a letter saying that ISU would finish processing his application without a GED. However, citing policies laid down by the Idaho State Board of Education (ISBE), the vice president said N.K. would be required to take the COMPASS test.

This is an important breakthrough. Insisting on homeschool graduates having a GED is tantamount to saying they did not really complete their high school program.

However, much work remains to be done. Requiring that a homeschool graduate take the COMPASS test after he has already submitted an adequate SAT or ACT score is unjustifiable. Furthermore, using the COMPASS test for admissions purposes is not valid. It was designed as a placement test—not an admission test.

Other aspects of ISBE admissions policies remain unhelpful. For example, current ISBE policy treats homeschoolers the same as students from non-accredited schools and only allows them to enter via conditional admission rather than under regular admission. These unreasonable and discriminatory policies need to end. HSLDA will look for opportunities to bring about improvement in policies.