ERIC Identifier: ED480468
Publication Date: 2003
Author: Wood, Patricia
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education
Homeschooling and Higher Education. ERIC Digest.
As a result of the recent growth of homeschooling in the US, colleges
and universities have received an increasing number of application from
home-schooled students. Admissions offices have found it necessary to assess
whether and how their admissions requirements should be modified to allow
fair review of the credentials submitted by homeschooled students. As yet,
relatively few applicants are homeschooled and limited information is available
on college and university policies.
Although it is impossible to determine the exact number of homeschooled
children in the U.S., most estimates confirm growing numbers. Five to ten
years ago, researchers estimated that there were 5000,000 to 1 million
students in home-based education programs in the U.S. (Cohen, 2000). Findings
from the Spring 1999, Parent Survey of the National Household Education
Survey (Parent-NHES) estimated that 850,000 students nationwide were being
homeschooled. In 1999, this was 1.7 percent of U.S. students ages 5 to
17 in the grade equivalents of K-12. Eighty-two percent of the homeschoolers
were schooled at home only, while 18 percent were also enrolled in public
or private schools part-time (Bielick, 2001).
According to the Parent-NHES, the majority of homeschoolers are white.
Homeschooling parents have more education that nonhomeschoolers, while
average household income of homeschoolers in 1999 was the same as
nonhomeschoolers. Parents cited several reasons for homeschooling their
children--because they felt able to provide a better education at home,
religious reasons, and because they perceived that their child had
a poor learning
environment in a traditional school (Bielick, 2001).
Apart from this survey evidence, several small-scale research studies
offer perspective on the college-going experience of this first generation
of home-schooled children. Rudner (1999) authored a peer-reviewed journal
article that presents the results of the largest survey and testing program
for homeschooling students to date and Galloway (1995) has prepared a paper
on homeschoolers' academic preparation. Other information has been prepared
by the National Center for Home Education and the Home School Legal Defense
Association, two organizations that seek to advance homeschooling.
ARE HOMESCHOOLERS PREPARED FOR COLLEGE?
Toch (as quoted in Galloway, 1995), estimates that 50% of homeschooled
attend college, the same percentage as children educated in public
schools. But are
these students skilled enough to compete successfully with conventionally-schooled
students in the college setting? Galloway (1995) concludes that homeschoolers
traditionally educated students demonstrate similar academic preparedness
for college and academic achievement. And according to Rudner (1999), achievement
test scores of homeschooled students are high. The students' average scores
were typicality in the 70th to 80th percentile, with 25% of homeschool
students enrolled one or more grades above their age-level peers in public
and private schools. Christopher Klicka, Senior Counsel for the Home School
Legal Defense Association, reports that homeschoolers tend to score above
the national average on both the SAT and ACT, the primary tests used by
colleges in evaluating college applicants. A study of 2219 students who
reported their homeschooled status on the SAT in 1999 showed that these
students scored an average of 1083--67 points above the national average
of 1016; similarly, the 3616 homeschooled students who took the ACT scored
an average of 22.7--1.7 points above the national average of 21 (Klicka,
HOMESCHOOLERS AND COLLEGE ADMISSION
Most colleges have received applications from homeschooled students
developed policies for evaluating their records. A number of admissions
departments have set specific standards by which they judge homeschooled
students, with most
preferring to consider student portfolios, a transcript of coursework
prepared by parents, and the student's SAT or ACT test scores (Patrick
Henry College, 2000). Cafi Cohen, author of The Homeschoolers' College
Admissions Handbook estimates that three-quarters of universities have
policies for dealing with homeschooled applicants, and emphasizes that
homeschoolers should seek early counsel from colleges in which they are
interested-even prior to entering the 9th grade (Cohen, 2000).
FINANCIAL AID AND HOMESCHOOLERS
Because of regulatory requirements tied to student financial aid, some
universities have raised questions about whether homeschooled students
for admission and for financial aid. The Higher Education Act, the
authorizing financial aid, restricts schools from admitting students
unless they have
obtained a "recognized equivalent of a high-school diploma." To comply
with this, some colleges have admitted home schooler students only if they
have earned a General Education Development (GED) diploma or have passed
a federally approved test showing that they have the "ability to benefit"
from attending college (Morgan, 2003).
In June, 2002, Rep. Howard P. (Buck) McKeon introduced a bill (HR4866)
that clarified that homeschooled students would not have to obtain a GED
or pass any other standardized tests that college use to determine a student's
"ability to benefit" from college. The measure was defeated on the House
floor, but college officials expect the issue to re-emerge when lawmakers
draft legislation in Fall 2003 to renew the Higher Education At (Morgan,
HOW DO HOMESCHOOLERS FARE IN COLLEGE?
Current evidence indicates that homeschoolers' college academic performance
comparable to that of traditionally educated students. Oliveira's study
(as cited in
Galloway, 1995) found no significant differences in critical thinking
skills among college freshmen who had graduated from different types of
high schools, including home schools, public schools, conventional Christian
schools, and accelerated Christian education schools (Galloway, 1995).
Sutton and Galloway (2000) also investigated the undergraduate success
of college graduates from home schools, private schools, and public schools
nationwide. They used 40 indicators of college success that reflected five
domains of learning outcomes-achievement, leadership, professional aptitude,
physical activity, and social behavior. They concluded that, overall the
students from all settings received equivalent educations.
ADDITIONAL READING ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING AND HIGHER EDUCATION
Home-Schooled Students & College Admission: Your Unique Approach
to the Process.
And What About College? How Homeschooling Leads to Admissions to the
Colleges and Universities http:[email protected]
College Admissions Policies. Good News: Homeschooler-friendly Colleges
The National Center for Home Education: Rating Colleges & Universities
by their Home School Admission Policies http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000002/00000231.asp
Patrick Henry College, the First Postsecondary Institution for Homeschooled
Bielick, S.; Chandler, K.; and Broughman, S. (2001). Homeschooling in
States: 1999 (NCES 2001-033). U.S. Department of Education. Washington,
National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved June 2, 2003 from
Cloud, J. and Morse, J. (2001, Aug. 27). Home Sweet School. Time Magazine.
Retrieved August 8, 2003, from LexisNexis(TM) Academic Database.
Cohen, C. (2000). Happily Homeschooling Teens: HIgh School Requirements
College Admissions. Arroyo Grande, CA: Author. (ERIC Document Reproduction
Service ED 446 845)
Foster, J. (2000). Home Schoolers Score Highest on ACT. WorldNetDaily.
Retrieved July 21, 2003, from http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE
Galloway, R. (1995, April). Home Schooled Adults: Are They Ready for
College? Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational
Research Association, San Francisco, CA (ERIC Document Reproduction Service
ED 384 297)
Klicka, C.J. (2002, May 31). Home Schooled Students Excel in College.
Retrieved July 21, 2003 from the Home School Legal Defense Association
Morgan, R. (2003, Jan. 17). A Growing Force: In Fight for Federal Student
Home-School Lobby has Powerful Friends. The Chronicle of Higher Education,
49, 19, A19. Retrieved February 25, 2003, from http://chronicle.com/free/v49/i19/19a01901.htm
Patrick Henry College Opens for Home Schoolers (2000, Summer). Journal
of Blacks in Higher Education, 28.52.
Rudner, L.M. (1999, March). Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics
of Home School Students in 1998. Education Policy Analysis Archives, Vol.
7, No. 8. Retrieved June 5, 2003 from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v7n8/
Schnaiberg, L. (1999, March 31). Study Finds Home Schoolers Are Top
Achievers on tests. Education Week on the Web. Retrieved July 20, 2003
Sutton, J. and Galloway, R. (2000). College Success of Students from
School Settings [CD-ROM]. Journal of Research and Development in Education,
33,3, 137-46. Abstract from: Dialog OnDisc: ERIC Item EJ 612 229