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April 1, 2009

Homeschoolers Win By-Right Admission to State Colleges

Though homeschoolers score four grade levels above others on standardized tests, Kansas homeschoolers have always been second-class citizens when it comes to admission to their own state colleges—until now.

House Bill 2197, signed by the governor on March 27, gives homeschoolers by-right admission to Kansas state colleges if they score 21 or higher on the ACT college admissions test. Students from accredited public and private schools have long enjoyed by-right acceptance with a score of 21. Now homeschool graduates will stand on equal footing. (The average ACT score in 2008 was 21.1.)

For many years HSLDA has worked with families, state homeschool leaders, and members of the board of regents when awkward college admissions situations arose. The state colleges are allowed to give 10% of the openings in an entering class to students who do not fall within minimum statutory requirements. When troublesome situations have arisen in the past, homeschoolers have almost always gained acceptance via this 10% exception.

However, when academically strong homeschoolers “use up” part of the 10% openings, fewer slots are available for the applicants for whom the exception was truly designed: students with less impressive academic credentials, but with other factors that make them promising candidates. With the new law in place, the 10% exception can be used as it was intended. The law has caught up with reality that homeschool graduates are some of the most sought-after applicants, and some of the most successful college students. The indignity of homeschool graduates having no path to college acceptance but by an exception has been removed.

HSLDA has always recommended that homeschool families register their homeschool program as non-accredited private school with the state Board of Education. This is even more important now. House Bill 2197 gives the new by-right status to a Kansas resident who “has graduated from a non-accredited private secondary school.” Although written testimony from the Regent Gary Sherrer explicitly identifies homeschoolers as non-accredited private school students, families need to be conscientious about registering their school to avoid difficulties.

 Other Resources

Read the testimony of Regent Gary Sherrer >> (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)