Discriminatory policy jeopardizes homeschool grad's scholarship

Saturday, September 3, 2016
 | 
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

No admittance signAn Alabama community college put a homeschool graduate’s scholarship at risk when it notified her that she had to go above and beyond normal requirements because she was educated at home.

The graduate was informed by her local community college that she would most likely not be able to attend school this fall due to a policy adopted by the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees (ACCSBT), which it alleged precluded her from moving forward with her coursework – a turn of events that could have ultimately forced her to lose full-tuition scholarship.

Not so fast …

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) asserted that before the institution for higher learning discovered that the student was homeschooled, she did not have to meet any additional requirements.

“When the graduate first applied for admission, she received a welcome letter, took the COMPASS test and was told she would not need to take the ACT,” HSLDA reports. “She was also awarded a full-ride scholarship, contingent upon her beginning school this fall and maintaining a satisfactory GPA.”

The former homeschooler, with her record of academic excellence, believed that everything appeared to be falling into place and that her undergraduate career was well under way – but this did not turn out to be the case.

“However, when the college discovered the graduate had been homeschooled, an admissions official called to explain that ‘state law’ required her to take the ACT,” the Christian nonprofit legal organization informed.

Appealing to the law

Once the student saw what she was up against, she proceeded to seek legal help in order to clear things up and salvage her scholarship.

“After verifying the family’s compliance with Alabama homeschool law, HSLDA Legal Assistant Daniel Davis pointed out to the family that state law contains a provision specifically prohibiting colleges from discriminating against an otherwise qualified student based on the fact that the student was homeschooled,” the Purcellville, Virginia-based group announced.

When everything was brought to the community college’s attention, officials at the school attempted to say that the matter was not in their hands and that they were simply following standard protocol.

“The college contended that their hands were tied by a policy established by the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees,” HSLDA Staff Attorney Dan Beasley explained. “In light of Alabama’s anti-discrimination provision, HSLDA contacted the board and asked them to clarify the policy.”

Problem solved

Things were quickly resolved once the legal experts brought the matter to the ACCSBT’s attention.

“[A]n ACT or SAT score is no longer a requirement for general admission to an Alabama Community College System institution,” the board responded to the legal group.

With the homeschool grad’s weakened physical condition at the time, the clarification and resolution was greatly welcomed.

“This news came as a relief, because earlier in the spring, the student had fallen and suffered a concussion, which led to a doctor’s order to take a break from studying, reading and testing,” Beasley added. “So even if she had wanted to comply with the college's discriminatory requirements, her present medical condition prevented her from taking an arduous exam such as the ACT.”

Once school officials were notified about their errant interpretation of the admission process, they were quick to rectify the situation in the homeschool graduate’s favor.

“Ultimately, armed with HSLDA’s information about state law, the family contacted the college again, and their daughter was accepted and treated as eligible to receive her full-tuition scholarship,” Beasley shared. “She has since begun classes.”

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