Homeschool Students Scholarships
You Can Still Receive Financial Aid without Public Schooling
More than 2 million students are home schooled in the United States every year, and the number increases as time marches forward. While there’s a lot of sacrifice involved, proactive parents increasingly choose home schooling for the educational benefits it provides. Accredited home schooling programs are administered by states, holding parent-educators accountable for curricular standards and home school best-practices.
As home schooled children move into higher education roles, they are faced with the same challenges impacting conventional graduates. Tuition and other college-related expenses often exceed family budgetary allowances, so home schoolers seek financial aid alongside their high school peers. General aid initiatives, in the form of Federally Subsidized Student Loans, and Pell Grants are available to home schoolers, provided eligibility requirements are met. Merit scholarships and other resources fill gaps left by federal assistance, including efforts aimed at specific student groups, among them: Homeshool students.
While most scholarships don’t specifically exclude homeschoolers, more and more are actually targeting them specifically, even encouraging homeschoolers to apply. Home schooled financial aid applicants make worthy contributions at the post-secondary school level, with widely publicized studies revealing that homeschoolers have consistently scored higher on college entrance exams than their public school counterparts, in recent years.
Homeschoolers follow the same paths as other students when pursuing aid for college. Setting the stage for assistance includes taking the SAT/ACT during your junior year in high school, as well as taking an active role in your community. Since scholarship selection criteria list extracurricular activities and/or community service as part of the evaluation process, home schoolers without track records of participation in school-sponsored activities must be proactive about civic engagement and volunteerism.
State Scholarships for Home Schooled Candidates
Individual State Education Associations (SEA) are responsible for many aspects of home schooling compliance. State requirements vary across The Union, but there are opportunities for financial assistance in every region of the country. Some state-specific resources are applied generally, to benefit the greatest numbers of applicants, but there are also initiatives on the books for particular student groups. While state scholarships might not be specific to homeschoolers, they usually don’t specifically exclude them from participating either.
Wyoming Department of Education, for example, provides specific instructions for home schooled applicants. The state’s Hathaway Scholarship awards need and merit based assistance to eligible students. Although GPA is used as a selection metric for conventional high school educated applicants, home schooled candidates are allowed to bypass this requirement by submitting a list of classes completed, along with ACT or WorkKeys scores. Successful home schooled applicants must meet all other eligibility requirements, and be accepted at participating post-secondary institutions, before reaching the age of 21 years.
The Hathaway initiative is administered in four distinct merit-based categories:
Each award carries particular participation standards, and the Hathaway program also maintains a need-based component that provides additional, supplemental funding to augment the merit scholarships. Hathaway scholarships are applied to tuition costs at accredited Wyoming Community Colleges, as well as the University of Wyoming.
Florida Department of Education accommodates home schooled students, with financial assistance originating from the state’s Bright Futures Program. Home schooled candidates are excluded from official transcript requirements, instead qualifying for aid through testing performance. The following standards apply for home schooled applicants:
Florida Academic Scholars - SAT scores of 1280, or ACT scores of at least 28 are required for participation. Scores are not blended. Instead, the highest marks in each category are used to evaluate home schooled applicants.
Florida Medallion Scholars - 1070 is the minimum SAT score for program participants, and ACT qualifiers must score at least 23.
Additional Resources for Homeschoolers
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) – Patrick Henry College – Purcellville, VA
HSLDA is an advocacy organization for homeschoolers. The Association maintains this listing of financial aid opportunities for home schooled students of higher education. The organization is involved in educational financing at schools like Patrick Henry College, a Christian college appealing to faithful homeschoolers. Successful applicants display financial need, outstanding academic achievement and a track record of community service. PHC Scholarships are open to Freshmen, home schooled through high school, that are sponsored by someone whose been a member of HSLDA for at least 4 years. Applicants must also submit two letters of recommendation.
Oral Roberts University – Homeschool Grant
Awards worth $2000 each are distributed to applicants who graduated from a home school after at least four-years of home-based education. Once accepted to the University, home schooled scholarship candidates are encouraged to apply through the school’s financial aid department.
Michigan State University
To accommodate growing numbers of home schooled applicants, universities like Michigan State have established standards in-place, which govern admissions and financial aid for home schooled students entering college. Homeschoolers are held to the same standards as traditional applicants, with some allowances made for slightly different application materials.
At Michigan State, homeschoolers are required to submit the same documentation as institutional high-school graduates, including educational transcripts. Records should include 9-12 grade courses completed, including grades. On occasion, home schooled candidates are asked to submit specific information about textbooks and curriculum.