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November 2011

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Florida State Colleges Ask For Diploma Validation

In July, it was brought to the attention of HEF that some state college websites contained statements that would require home education students to validate their diploma by providing a transcript. However, home education students do not have to validate a diploma at Florida state colleges for admission or to receive federal financial aid. The Florida statute s.1007.263(2)

Admission to associate degree programs is subject to minimum standards adopted by the State Board of Education and shall require…in the case of a student who is home educated, a signed affidavit submitted by the student’s parent or legal guardian attesting that the student has completed a home education program pursuant to the requirements of s.1002.41.

After making a few calls, Brenda Dickinson discovered that the statement resulted from a misunderstanding of a Memo from the Florida Department of Education, Division of State Colleges, sent to all state colleges in May, 2011, clarifying the new guidelines for validating diplomas in the Federal Student Aid Handbook (FSAH) in order to identify and eliminate “diploma mills.” The Memo addressed validation of diplomas, but failed to mention that the Federal Student Aid Handbook on page 1-7 specifically excludes home educated students from having to validate a diploma for the purpose of receiving federal financial aid.

Homeschooling 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. http://ifap.ed.gov/fsahandbook/1112FSAHbkVol1.html

Even though the intent of the federal law, as interpreted in the FSAH, was to make sure that students from “diploma mills” did not receive federal aid, state colleges were trying to “kill two birds with one stone” by combining eligibility for admission to a Florida college with eligibility to receive federal financial aid.

Brenda has been working with the Division of State Colleges to make the admission directors aware that home education students do not have to have a diploma for admission to a state college or for receiving federal financial aid.

If your child encounters any problems with admissions to a state college, please contact HEF.

NOTE: When filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/form (also required for Bright Futures Scholarships),be sure to mark on question #26, that your student was home schooled .

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