(SM Chavey, Liberty Headlines) Lorain County Community College, a state-supported school in Ohio, offers federal financial aid to students who attended an accredited high school or who received a GED.
Homeschooled students, however, are being told by the college that they have to take the GED to be eligible for that aid, according to Home School Legal Defense Association Attorney Mike Donnelly. He accused the college of “perpetrating an intentional falsehood” and “imposing a discriminatory and unlawful policy” on homeschooled graduates, in an article written on the HSLDA’s website.
It is unjust and unnecessary to require the GED for homeschoolers, Donnelly said, since federal financial aid guidelines do not require that students have a diploma that is state-recognized or accredited. GEDs often carry the connotation that a student is a high school dropout, which most homeschool graduates are not.
In 2015 Gov. John Kasich signed and passed into law the Diploma Fairness Act, stating that students with valid homeschool diplomas cannot be treated any differently based on the fact that they were homeschooled.
Further, federal law allows parents of homeschool graduates to certify their completion of high school, making these students eligible for financial aid, Donnelly said. HSLDA published a memo about it in 2010.
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The memo specifically asks if homeschoolers are eligible for financial aid without obtaining a GED, and answers the question: yes. Donnelly also said the HSLDA has frequently sent material to Lorain County Community College about how homeschoolers are supposed to be treated according to law. He said the school has intentionally misinformed homeschool students.
“One would think that LCCC — as a state-supported institution — would feel at least a moral obligation to accurately inform its incoming students about the requirements to attend there. Maybe the U.S. Department of Education should investigate and inform LCCC that if it is going to distribute federal financial aid, it has an obligation to truthfully and accurately represent the requirements for all students regarding eligibility,” Donnelly wrote.
As of Sunday, it appeared that Lorain County Community College had not responded to Donnelly’s accusations.
Donnelly said that most likely 90 percent of colleges understand the law and attempt to follow it.