Dear Registrar: Did the Cloud Eat My Transcript?
by Helaina Bock • October 30, 2018
“We have not received your transcript yet. Continued failure to submit your transcript will result in a hold on your account.”
No high school graduate wants to receive this type of warning email from their future college before even setting foot on campus. Especially a graduate who has already submitted a copy of his transcript. Yet recent homeschool grad, Nathanael Hawkins, read these very words in his email inbox one Tuesday afternoon.
Without an approved transcript, Nathanael would not be allowed to begin classes. Yet Nathanael did not know how he possibly could comply with this request. His parents, the administrators of his homeschool, had already sent Nathanael’s transcript to Ashworth College shortly after he received his acceptance letter.
Had the document gotten lost in The Cloud? Nathanael ruled out that possibility when his student portal showed the transcript recorded on file. An additional email from Ashworth College revealed that only one fact prevented the transcript’s approval: Nathanael had graduated from a homeschool.
More Work to Do
The registrar’s follow-up email asked Nathanael’s parents to verify his homeschool transcript by providing high school work samples, scanned copies of his high school textbook covers and table of contents, along with links to the websites where she purchased the textbooks.
“Oh no! Now I have to go back and collect all this information! It was really overwhelming,” Nathanael’s mother, Kelly recalls thinking. Compiling a comprehensive portfolio that represented months of work, in just the few weeks before Nathanael’s classes were scheduled to begin, would be a daunting task to ask of any teacher.
This additional burden on the administrators of Nathanael’s school arose solely because it is a homeschool. The registrar’s office automatically treated Nathanael’s credentials as suspect.
After Kelly described to her husband what the college had asked her to do, her husband immediately said, “Call HSLDA.”
Guidance from HSLDA
Home School Legal Defense Association attorneys guided the Hawkins family through the process. First, they advised Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins to submit Nathanael’s transcript again. But over the next two weeks, each time Nathanael anxiously checked his student portal, he saw that the status of his transcript remained unchanged.
To settle the matter, HSLDA attorney Tj Schmidt called Ashworth College directly. Schmidt explained to the registrar’s office that Nathanael had attended a homeschool program, which Indiana classifies as a “non-public school.” Since that homeschool program had always remained in compliance with Indiana homeschool law, “Nathanael’s parents can legally verify that Nathanael is a homeschool graduate.”
Schmidt also explained that a diploma and transcript from a homeschool has the same official status as a diploma and transcript from any other non-public school, and that college officials must treat these materials as such.
Three weeks after this conversation, Nathanael opened his inbox to find another email from Ashworth College. This time, the subject line was far more cheerful. The email read: “Your transcript has been approved so you can continue your course!”
Recognized by Law
Like Nathanael, homeschool graduates across the country have the right to attend the college of their choice. Home education is legal in all 50 states. Any homeschool that follows the state’s requirements governing homeschool programs has the authority to produce valid transcripts and diplomas for its graduates.
As Schmidt noted, “Parents have a fundamental right to direct the education of their children. As such, the parents have the primary responsibility to verify completion of that education.”
One college official’s misinformation should not stop any student, regardless of what high school they attended, from achieving their goals. The Hawkins family’s realization of this truth and refusal to give up allowed Nathanael to continue pursuing his chosen path.
HSLDA gave the Hawkins family the confidence to stand up to the school. As Mrs. Hawkins recalled, “Working with HSLDA was a huge relief for me. This moment made my 20-year membership worth it. I didn’t have to panic. I didn’t have to be anxious. I know that God placed these competent people in our lives to help us.”
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