Federal Relations

July 3, 2007

Good News in the Military: Homeschoolers Returned to Tier 1*

Effective immediately, most homeschoolers enlisting in the military will be considered Tier 1*. HSLDA recently received this news from the Deputy Director of Accession Policy in the Pentagon, Captain Christopher Arendt, USN.

The new directive states that homeschoolers who score a 50 or above on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) will automatically be placed in Tier 1. The change in policy is the result of a decision by the Department of Defense to conduct a new pilot program to review the attrition rates of homeschoolers. This pilot program is scheduled to last four years, during which time DoD will analyze the data and determine if a new long-term policy is warranted.

Previously, due in large part to the efforts of HSLDA, the Department of Defense commissioned a similar five-year-study in 1998. This 1998 study also placed homeschoolers in Tier 1. However, when the Pentagon reviewed the study it appeared to show that homeschoolers had higher attrition rates than traditional high school graduates.

HSLDA challenged the Pentagon's findings, claiming that many of the people identified as homeschooled were not actually genuine homeschoolers. The results from enlistees who were really high school dropouts skewed the results against legitimate homeschoolers.

Our assessment of the original study showed that homeschoolers who scored 50 or above on the AFQT had a comparable or higher likelihood of completing their initial four years of service than their traditional high school graduate peers.

Although homeschoolers have been placed in Tier 2 for the past several years, we were able to convince Congress to give them “preferred” enlistment status so that homeschoolers scoring above a 50 on the AFQT could enlist without limitations. However, despite our best efforts, some homeschoolers did not always receive the same benefits they would have received if they had been Tier 1.

We are excited that the Pentagon has taken this step to place homeschoolers back into Tier 1 where we believe they rightly belong. Until the new study is completed, Captain Arendt has assured us that he will work closely with us to resolve any problems.

* - The "Tier" Classification System is used to classify new enlistees based on attrition rates. Attrition rates are the rate at which new Service members complete their first tour of service, generally four years.

 Other Resources

Memorandum: Pilot Test for Homeschool Diploma Graduate (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)