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College Grad Can’t Take College Classes?

by Tj Schmidt • February 21, 2019

Dustin Ferretti, a homeschool graduate who also holds a bachelor’s degree from Nyack College, wanted to acquire some additional knowledge by enrolling in a few college classes.

However, admissions officials at Dutchess Community College said that despite his proven academic success, they couldn’t accept him based on his high school credentials.

Dustin was told that his homeschool diploma wasn’t good enough, and that he had to apply to his local school board for a letter of substantial equivalency. This document attests that a student’s education is substantially equivalent to that received in public schools. It is supposed to be issued, according to the state Department of Education, as confirmation for a “home instruction program that adheres to the standards of regulations at each stage of the process.”

Degrees of Proof

The problem with this request is that New York law does not require any student to have an accredited diploma in order to be admitted to college. Additionally, while a homeschool student generally needs a letter of substantial equivalency from his local superintendent or needs to show that he has met the high school equivalency requirements (either by taking the exam or by earning 24 college credits in specific subjects) there is one other option. If a student has already earned a college degree, that is sufficient to confirm his graduation from high school.

Over the past few months, Dustin and his wife struggled to reason with the college but never were able to convince admissions officials that his college degree trumped his (supposedly) deficient homeschool diploma. I called and emailed Dutchess Community College to point out that Dustin was eligible to be admitted to the college under New York law.

Within days, I heard from the Ferretti family and Dutchess Community College that all issues had been cleared up and that Dustin was eligible to be admitted.


Thomas J. (Tj) Schmidt

Staff Attorney

Tj is an attorney and homeschooling dad dedicated to defending the rights of homeschooling families across the country. Read more.


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