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March 13, 2017

Phone Call Saves Student $12,000

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MIKE SMITH MIKE SMITH
HSLDA President

A California graduate’s good grades helped him qualify for a substantial college scholarship—until admissions officers found out he had been homeschooled.

Last year, John Yerxa was pleased to find that he had been accepted to Iowa State University for the fall semester. As a California resident, he had also been awarded a scholarship from ISU—the Nonresident Initiative to Commend Excellence (NICE). Recipients of this scholarship must have at least a 3.0 GPA. 

Due to circumstances beyond his control, however, John was forced to defer his attendance at ISU for a year and begin in the fall of 2017. During this time, John’s family relocated to Virginia. John contacted ISU in December 2016 to find out how moving might affect his scholarship.

It was then that the ISU admissions office let him know that he was listed as a homeschooled student although he applied as a private school student. They explained that Iowa State does not accept an assigned GPA from homeschooled students. The admissions advisor then said that the school would have to calculate John’s GPA differently, as they have a different process for homeschooled students.

When the advisor finally got back to him, the news was not good. Using their internal calculations, they assigned John a GPA below 3.0, which meant they would not be able to honor the NICE scholarship previously awarded.

At this point, John and his mom contacted Home School Legal Defense Association.

I wrote a letter to the admissions department explaining that John was a private school graduate.  We made the case that homeschooling is not recognized in the state of California and urged them to reinstate John’s scholarship, given that he had graduated from a bona fide private school.

Within a few weeks John contacted HSLDA, letting us know that ISU had restored his scholarship, which will provide $3,000 for each year he attends.

We urge our members to contact us if they encounter similar difficulties.