In the recent Federal Student Aid Book: Vol. 2010-2011, a few minor changes were made that apply to homeschoolers who want to apply for admission to colleges and universities and for Federal loans and grants for college.
Firstly, colleges are supposed to treat homeschoolers like they do any other high school graduates, as long as the laws of their state treat them similarly. Most states see homeschooled students as similar to public or private schooled ones in most ways, so this shouldn’t impact students much. The wording could be used to encourage admissions and financial aid officers to take homeschoolers seriously.
Secondly, a student who is below the age of compulsory attendance can use college to meet the requirements for school attendance if they have completed a course of secondary school study that is mandated for their state.
Volume 2, chapter 1, page 6 says that the school “may rely on a homeschooled student’s self-certification that he or she completed secondary school in a homeschool setting.” This means that schools may not demand that students produce a ‘state approved’ diploma for admission. Students can certify that they have completed the course of study needed to graduate in their state and have fulfilled the laws pertaining to homeschooling in their state. Colleges will not lose accreditation for accepting homeschoolers, even those who are younger than the typical student.
One important note: when filling out FAFSA paperwork, be sure to choose ‘homeschool diploma’ when asked. Currently, colleges are being asked to verify diplomas in order to make sure that they are from valid schools instead of diploma mills. While it may sound good to say that your child’s diploma comes from ‘Miller Academy’, your homeschool’s name, it will not show up as a valid school and your child’s application for aid will be slowed down by an investigation. Homeschool diplomas are seen as perfectly valid by FAFSA, thanks to the Reauthorization of Higher Education Act of 2008, which discouraged discrimination against homeschoolers by colleges and universities.