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May 17, 2006

College Rescinds Discriminatory Homeschool Policy

Homeschoolers throughout Oklahoma are gaining admission to colleges and universities without much trouble. Homeschoolers come with high ACT and SAT scores and an excellent homeschool high school education.

The Home School Legal Defense Association has been working for the last 10 years to clear the way for colleges to adopt nondiscriminatory homeschool policies through their enactment of various amendments to the Higher Education Act. Furthermore, HSLDA attorneys talk with college financial aid advisers and admissions officers on a regular basis to clear up any misconception or discriminatory policies.

Marilyn Siemens, an HSLDA member and homeschool mom who works with CHEF, the Christian Home Educators Fellowship, learned of a discriminatory policy that had been established by the Tulsa Community College. The policy required all homeschoolers to take an Ability to Benefits (ATB) test to seek financial aid.

In spite of the fact that Marilyn Siemens sent the college officials a copy of the law, which she received from HSLDA, and the Oklahoma Board of Regents policy, the college dug their heels in.

Marilyn Siemens contacted HSLDA. Attorney Christopher J. Klicka called the admissions office and talked with one of the officers, explaining that HSLDA had amended the Higher Education Act to specifically allow for homeschoolers to receive federal financial aid if they had “completed high school education in a homeschool setting.”

He further explained that that some colleges had mistakenly required homeschoolers to pass an ATB test in order to receive federal financial aid. The college contacted an unnamed bureaucrat at the Oklahoma Department of Education who insisted that they needed to require the home school graduate to take the ATB test.

Attorney Klicka meanwhile sent a demand letter to Tulsa Community College, telling them to correct their policy immediately in light of their lack of compliance with the law. He stated that their longstanding practice of discrimination needed to end. He ended the letter by saying, “You have all laws before you—you have no excuse—an arbitrary opinion of some bureaucrat somewhere does not cut it in the face of the law.”

The president of Tulsa Community College finally retracted their inequitable policy; homeschoolers are no longer discriminated against when seeking financial aid at Tulsa Community College. Although this struggle lasted longer than most, we praise God that the college finally came around.

We are thankful for these developments as homeschoolers continue to gain financial aid to colleges everywhere and perform above average academically once they are admitted.