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Shoptalk 106, June 2000
 

Home-Schooled Students: Admissions vs. Financial Aid Eligibility

Students who complete a secondary school educational program in a home-school setting received a significant benefit in the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. These students who have completed a home-school program may now establish eligibility for Title IV, HEA program funds without passing an ability to benefit test.

However, Congress did not change the corresponding institutional eligibility requirements for admissions. Schools that participate in Title IV programs may admit as regular students only those individuals who are beyond the age of compulsory attendance or who have obtained a high school diploma or an equivalent credential. A "regular student" is one who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential offered by the institution.

State laws concerning home schooling differ. Some states award a completion credential to home-schooled students which is recognized as an equivalent to a high school diploma, while others do not.

Therefore, to maintain institutional eligibility for Title IV programs, a school must consider its state compulsory school attendance and home-school laws before admitting individuals as regular students, regardless of whether the school plans to award Title IV funds to those students.

For example, in Texas, a student must attend secondary school until completion of the academic year in which he or she turns 17. A student is exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirements if he or she attends a private or parochial school that includes a study of good citizenship. A home school may be considered a private school within the meaning of the statutory exemption to compulsory attendance law. However, Texas does not recognize a home-school completion credential as an equivalent to a high school diploma. Therefore, for the purpose of maintaining Title IV eligibility, a Texas postsecondary institution may not admit as a regular student a home-schooled student who has not completed the academic year in which he or she turns 17, unless the student has obtained the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma.

Questions
For questions about home-schooled students, contact TG Customer Services at (800) 252-9743, ext. 4444, or send an message to customer.services@tgslc.org.

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