Homeschoolers and Federal Student Aid
A Friend of AHEM wrote to us wondering how homeschoolers were to answer a question on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) regarding secondary school completion. The FAFSA asks: "Will the student have a high school diploma/GED before he or she enrolls?" He pointed out that many homeschoolers, however well qualified they may be, have neither a GED nor a formal high school diploma.
The 2012-2013 Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 1, Chapter 1, p. 1-8 addresses the above concern:
"A student may self-certify that he has received a high school diploma or GED or that he has completed secondary school through home schooling as defined by state law...
Though homeschooled students are not considered to have a high school diploma or equivalent, they are eligible to receive FSA funds if their secondary school education was in a homeschool that state law treats as a home or private school. Some states issue a secondary school completion credential to homeschoolers. If this is the case in the state where the student was homeschooled, she must obtain this credential in order to be eligible for FSA funds. She can include in her homeschooling self-certification (see above) that she received this state credential.
An eligible institution is defined in part as one that admits as regular students only those who have a high school diploma or equivalent or are beyond the compulsory age of attendance for the school’s state. For students who finish homeschooling at a younger age, the Department considers them to be beyond the age of compulsory attendance if your school’s state would not require them to further attend secondary school or continue to be homeschooled. See also Volume 2, Chapter 1."
As of July 1, 2012, there are some new requirements for federal student aid programs. However, homeschoolers do not need a GED in order to be eligible for federal student financial aid. See http://studentaid.ed.gov/about/announcements/recent-changes.
At Massachusetts community colleges, homeschoolers do not need a GED to be eligible for federal financial aid as a matriculated student, but depending on the college, you may need a GED to be admitted as a degree candidate. Policies regarding admission of homeschooled students differ: some CCs require the GED, others will accept a letter from your local school acknowledging that you had an approved homeschool program. Check with the individual college.