Note: Regular readers of HSLDA’s news updates will recognize that applying to cosmetology schools is a common source of difficulty for homeschool graduates. We’re happy to report continued success in addressing this issue.

Carrie, a homeschooled graduate from Oregon, contacted HSLDA in mid-November after a Washington cosmetology school refused to accept her high school diploma. School officials insisted that, in order to enroll, Carrie either get her GED or take a high school equivalency test.

When she asked why, the school’s representative explained they could not accept homeschool diplomas due to their school’s accreditation with the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS).

Although Carrie was frustrated, she knew exactly who to call.

An Outdated Policy

Prior NACCAS policy did make it difficult for homeschool graduates to enroll in cosmetology school. The accrediting agency used to require homeschoolers to provide graduation proof from the state in which they completed high school—a nearly impossible task under most state’s homeschool laws. After lobbying efforts from Home School Legal Defense Association, NACCAS changed its policy in 2013.

The NACCAS policy now states that homeschool students “are eligible for admission into a NACCAS-accredited school…if their secondary school education was in a home school that state law treats as a home or private school.”

Oregon’s compulsory school statute, Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 339.030(1)(e), specifically recognizes homeschooling as an option. While there are some reporting requirements, there is no provision in Oregon law that provides for any kind of state “accreditation.” Homeschool parents are responsible for the certification of their student’s completion of high school.

I explained all this in a letter to the school, highlighting that under NACCAS policy, Carrie qualified for enrollment in cosmetology school. I also pointed to 20 U.S. Code § 1091(d)(1)(B), part of the Higher Education Act, which says that a student is eligible for federal aid if they have “completed a secondary school education in a home school setting that is treated as a home school or private school under state law.”

A Win for Homeschoolers

Less than two weeks later, the school representative wrote to inform Carrie: “Great news—we just got the approval to officially accept homeschool diplomas!”

Carrie enrolled in the next round of classes.

HSLDA’s advocacy means that not only will Carrie get a chance to pursue her chosen career—but so will future homeschool graduates.

Homeschooling has grown immensely in the last few years, especially since the COVID pandemic began. However, HSLDA often receives calls from homeschool graduates who are being asked to prove that homeschooling is recognized by their home state.

HSLDA’s Freedom Fund allows our legal team to assist homeschool graduates like Carrie so they can pursue career and education opportunities. Please consider giving to the Freedom Fund or becoming a member of HSLDA to help support homeschool freedom!