Community College Homeschool Admissions
The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers (VaHomeschoolers) has recently received inquiries and some expressions of concern about changed admissions rules for homeschooled students attending Virginia’s community colleges. Representatives of VaHomeschoolers recently met with officials of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) in Richmond and Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville to discuss these changes and their implications for homeschooling families.
The new rules reflect policies approved in May 2009 by the State Board of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), and apply to all Virginia community colleges statewide. Many of these policies were actually approved at the state level many months or years prior to May 2009, but were not being followed consistently by all local community colleges until recently.
The new policy changes reflect VCCS’s desire that dual enrollment retain academic credibility with 4-year institutions, and that under-18 public, private, and homeschooled students have equivalent admissions rules. While some of the VCCS admission rules for homeschooled students are imperfect or ambiguous, some aspects are now superior, such as nullifying the arbitrary minimum age requirements imposed by certain community colleges.
Following are the highlights of VCCS policies and policy changes regarding homeschool admissions:
- Admission policies for adults who were fully or partly homeschooled, and for those with a high school diploma or equivalent, are the same as for their non-homeschooled counterparts. Like all applicants, homeschooled adults must provide a “high school graduation date” and may be required to provide “documentation of coursework” (in the form of a high school transcript). Some majors may require additional documentation or information.
- “Dual Enrollment” policies now apply to all minor aged students without high school diplomas or equivalents attending community college. (In the past, some Virginia community colleges had special separate policies for minor aged homeschooled students.)
- VCCS admission requirements for dual enrollment now focus on the grade level of minor aged students, rather than their age. The homeschooled student or parent must provide evidence that the student is at a junior or senior grade level. According to VCCS, evidence might take the form of the community college’s own placement test (the Compass test), a correspondence school transcript, SAT or ACT test results, or any other means acceptable to the college. Every community college is empowered to make exceptions to the junior-senior grade level rule on a case-by-case basis.
- The homeschooled dual enrolled student or parent must provide a copy of the agreement, approval, or acknowledgement provided by the school division to either their notice of intent (NOI) or their claim of religious exemption (RE). If a school division doesn’t provide such acknowledgement or won’t do so in a timely manner, the college may accept an explanation by the parent and a copy of the NOI or RE claim submitted to the school division. If the parent did not retain a copy, the school may be amenable to the parent’s explanation.
As in the past, all students seeking to enroll part-time or full-time must comply with all the relevant admissions requirements for community college, including filling out admissions paperwork, taking placement exams, meeting with a counselor, etc. If the student is under age 18, the parent or guardian must also sign a parental permission form because of the potentially adult content of some courses.
The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers will be working with the VCCS to improve existing policy language regarding homeschoolers and community college admissions. Please contact VaHomeschoolers if you encounter a community college admissions situation in which you think you are being treated unfairly as a homeschooler, or to share your experiences regarding the homeschool/community college experience. We look forward to hearing from you.
VCCS Admissions Guidelines – Read the complete text of the VCCS policy on admission and dual enrollment in sections 6.0.1 General Admission to the VCCS Colleges and 126.96.36.199 Dual Enrollment Student Admissions. This document reflects the May 2009 changes approved by the State Board of VCCS.
Proposed Revisions to VCCS Policy Manual Section 6.0.1—General Admission to the VCCS Colleges – Read the original VCCS policy prior to the May 2009 changes.
Contact your local community college to learn more about how these policy changes impact your specific institution or your admissions status.
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