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February 23, 2009

Homeschool Scholarship Bill Gets Another Unanimous Vote

For years technical requirements have locked Virginia homeschool graduates out of some state college scholarships. But thanks to state Senator Ken Cuccinelli, equal treatment may be just around the corner.

About a year ago, a Virginia homeschool grad enrolled in a state college and was awarded a VGAP (Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program) scholarship. But at the end of the year, the college said, oops, sorry, we made a mistake; you can’t really have the scholarship.

The baffled and indignant family called Senator Cuccinelli. He agreed the law needed to be changed. He filed Senate Bill 1547, which says that a student who has completed a program of home education will be treated the same as others for scholarship purposes. For scholarships that require a particular grade point average or class rank, a state agency is responsible for developing equivalent, empirical standards so qualified homeschool grads can apply.

The bill went through Senate committee, full Senate, House subcommittee, and this morning, full House committee, without a single opposing vote—strong evidence of the broad support for this common-sense bill.

Many other states have taxpayer-funded college scholarship programs that homeschoolers are frozen out of because of technical requirements in the law. If this Virginia bill becomes law—it will face a vote on the House floor soon—it may become a good pattern to use to solve scholarship blues in other states.