Federal Relations

June 19, 2005

House Subcommittee Proposes to End College Discrimination Against Homeschoolers

On Thursday, July 14th, the House Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness approved the College Access & Opportunity Act (H.R. 609), Higher Education Reauthorization. This bill includes language that will stop discrimination against homeschooled students who seek to enter college before the "normal" age of seventeen.

In the past, institutions have been afraid of losing their federal funding if they accept homeschoolers with high school diplomas who are under the compulsory attendance age, despite the fact that these homeschool diplomas are clearly recognized by Congress for financial aid eligibility.

This bill, heading to the full Committee sometime this week, solves the institutional eligibility problem. Under the new law, it is explicitly stated that institutions will not lose their federal funding if they accept these younger homeschoolers. By amending 20 USC 1091b and clarifying the definition of an institution of higher education under federal law, H.R. 609 resolves the problem that many homeschoolers face when making the transition to college.

"HSLDA has been at the forefront of the battle to stop discrimination against homeschooled students seeking college admission," said Caleb Kershner, HSLDA's Director of Federal Policy and Research. "It will be a great day for homeschoolers when this provision finally becomes law."

Caleb Kershner and the National Center for Home Education staff are working with the House Education Committee and the U.S. Senate to help ensure that the final version of the Higher Education Reauthorization retains the amendment protecting homeschoolers. The bill is expected to pass later this year.