Would you believe that many Texas public institutions of higher education are ignoring the law with their admission requirements for Texas homeschool graduates? While it is hard to believe, this is an ongoing battle that THSC continues to fight.
During the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015, THSC worked with lawmakers to unanimously pass Senate Bill 1543. This bill closed a loophole that allowed Texas public universities, colleges and trade schools to have different admission standards for homeschool graduates.
SB 1543 amended and clarified the section of the Texas Education Code to end separate admission requirements for homeschool graduates at Texas public institutions of higher education. Unfortunately, some Texas schools are not complying with these laws.
As part of an ongoing project, THSC is actively researching the admission requirements of every Texas public institution of higher education. Regardless of whether they are a major university or small community college, THSC wants to ensure that each school is complying with state law.
Furthermore, THSC often receives tips from parents and students that a school is using different admission requirements for Texas homeschool graduates. THSC takes each of these complaints very seriously.
THSC Contacts Governor’s Office in Response to Discriminatory Admissions Policies by State Colleges
When THSC became aware of state colleges that were adopting discriminatory admissions policies based on incorrect information, we sent a letter to the Governor’s office asking them to help resolve the issue.
Angelo State University Ends Discrimination Against Homeschoolers
A Texas homeschool family informed THSC that ASU was requiring standardized test scores that were 250 points higher than those required of public school graduates.
Upon researching the ASU website and calling their department of admission, THSC discovered that not only was ASU requiring higher standardized test scores from homeschool graduates, but they were also requiring homeschool graduates to submit the Texas Private School Certification.
THSC sent a letter to the ASU department of admissions, copying both high-ranking ASU officials and public state officials, informing them that their separate requirements for homeschool graduates was unlawful. THSC concluded this letter by requesting that the university bring their admission requirements into compliance with Texas law.
ASU promptly responded with a phone call to President Tim Lambert and a reply letter. ASU copied the same school officials and public officials and informed THSC that they had brought their admissions requirements into compliance with Texas law and that they had also updated their admission requirements on their website.
After reviewing ASU’s response letter and the new admission requirements, THSC wrote a letter to the ASU admission department thanking them for their quick action to correct the issue.
Stephen F. Austin University Ends Discrimination Against Homeschoolers
THSC was contacted regarding the admission policy for homeschool applicants at Stephen F. Austin University (SFA) in Nacogdoches, Texas. The admissions page of the university’s website listed admissions requirements that failed to match SB 1543.
THSC quickly responded with a letter to the SFA Office of Admissions, copying executive and legislative officials. THSC outlined the incorrect homeschool graduate admission policy informing SFA that their policy was in violation of the Texas Education Code following the passage of SB 1543. THSC urged SFA to update their policy to comply with the new state law.
How SFA Responded to THSC’s Letter: Within days of receiving the letter, Monique Cossich, Executive Director of Enrollment Management in the Office of Admissions at SFA, called the THSC Customer Service team requesting to speak to the Policy department. Soon, a conference call was set up between THSC and SFA to discuss homeschool admission policies.
Cossich informed THSC’s Policy department that after reviewing the policy within the office, they were in fact treating homeschool graduates equally with all other applicants. However, they had been unaware, until our letter, that their website was not up to date. They then asked THSC for input on the best language to include in the admissions page update.
After updating the webpage, SFA sent a response letter to THSC to thank us for bringing the concerns to their attention. They also informed us that the website was updated and that training was done for admissions staff regarding homeschool applicants.
Over the years, THSC has worked with dozens of colleges on homeschooling issues. The swift, efficient and courteous response received from SFA clearly demonstrates the value they place on Texas homeschool graduates. THSC commends SFA for their quick action ensuring proper admissions for homeschool graduates.
Letter to Texas A&M University Financial Aid Office – May 31, 2011
Read Tim Lambert’s letter to Texas A&M University Financial Aid Office regarding B-On-Time Loans for homeschooled students.
Letter to University of North Texas – September 8, 2010
It was brought to THSC’s attention that the Apply Texas Freshman application being distributed to potential college freshman at the University of North Texas was in conflict with the policy of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
President Lambert wrote UNT and referred university officials to the policy that has been in effect since October 2006. President Lambert referenced where this policy can be found in the Texas Administrative Code and the memo issued by the THECB. Read the letter.
University of North Texas – August 16, 2013
University of North Texas’ policy treated all homeschoolers—regardless of their ability—as if they were equivalent to the 51st-75th percentile of their peers in accredited public high schools.
President Lambert wrote a letter in support of the student and urged the school to take any and all actions necessary to resolve the discriminatory practice.
South Plains College – July 22, 2011
Tim Lambert wrote a letter to South Plains College pertaining to admissions for high school graduates of unaccredited private schools.
North Central Texas College – January 30, 2012
Tim Lambert wrote a letter to North Central Texas College regarding the administrators’ signatures on a homeschooler’s high school diploma.
Vista College in Amarillo – June 19, 2012
Tim Lambert wrote a letter to Vista College when a member of the association contacted THSC after her daughter was told that she would no longer be allowed to attend classes at Vista College because her diploma was from a homeschool.
The Response: The THSC Association member reported that eight days after the letter was sent to Vista College, a representative of the school called the student and let her know that she was being reinstated. Read the letter.
Letters Concerning EMT Training
The following are a series of letters concerning the admission of students with nontraditional secondary education into institutions of higher learning.
- Letter from Tim Lambert to Ms. Terri Phillips of the Texas Department of State Health Services dated June 20, 2012
- Response from Texas Department of State Health Services
- Letter from Tim Lambert to Jane Guerrero of Texas Department of State Health Services, Office of EMS/Trauma Systems
- The current Texas Administrative Code 157.33 EMS Rule Certification
Tech School Trips up a Transfer Student
When a homeschool graduate sought to attain additional certificates from a college he previously attended, he found recently added requirements that created new difficulties and obstacles for homeschooled students to enroll.
The family contacted THSC for assistance and President Lambert promptly wrote a letter to the Director of Education.
THSC Collaborates with the TEA to Ensure Homeschool Graduate Equality – 2017
THSC president Tim Lambert and the THSC Policy Team engaged Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath in a productive meeting on February 24, 2017. The objective was to discuss an issue for homeschool graduates that came up during the previous year.
The issue was the result of these circumstances:
- A THSC member and homeschool graduate applied to an out of state college.
- The graduate was told by the college that TEA employees stated that homeschool graduates were not equivalent to graduates from Texas public high schools.
- This information was relayed to THSC, prompting our intervention.
TEA quickly corrected the misinformation that staffers had disseminated and the record was set straight. As a result of this, THSC requested that the TEA post on their website that homeschool graduates were equivalent to public school graduates. By August 21, Mark Baxter was able to work with his team to post the following statement to the TEA website:
The State of Texas considers the successful completion of a home school education to be equivalent to graduation from a public high school, therefore an institution of higher education in Texas must treat a home school graduate to the same general standards, including specific standardized testing score requirements, as other applicants for undergraduate admission who have graduated from a public high school. For additional information and specific guidance please contact the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
THSC Intervenes with UT-Arlington – 2017
Early in 2017, THSC discovered that the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) had different admission standards for homeschool applicants compared to public school applicants. While the university sorted and admitted students by standardized test scores, THSC discovered that UTA only admitted homeschool applicants on a “review-only” basis. THSC took action to intervene on behalf of homeschool applicants.
After verifying with the office of admissions that UTA was only admitting homeschool applicants on a review-only basis, THSC wrote a letter to the Office of Admissions stating that the admission policy for homeschool applicants was unlawful. THSC took the following action in our correspondence with UTA:
- THSC copied state and UTA officials on all correspondence according to our standard procedure.
- THSC requested that the university work with their departments to bring the admission requirements for homeschool applicants into compliance with state law.
- THSC requested that UTA update their website to correctly reflect their new policies when brought into compliance.
Then, in July 2017, THSC was informed that UTA had updated their admission standards to ensure that they were in compliance with the Texas Education Code and Senate Bill 1543. UTA also informed us that their website had been updated to reflect these changes.
This example of THSC working with UTA captures our mission to protect and defend homeschoolers on their journey, even at the university level. We are thankful to UTA for their commitment to complying with the law to ensure homeschool graduates receive equal opportunities to advance in their educational pursuits.
Chamberlain University – 2018
In Texas, public colleges and universities are required by law to treat homeschool graduates as equal to other college applicants. Though these regulations do not apply to private institutions of higher education, THSC has taken the initiative to reach out to private institutions when necessary and work with them to craft admissions policies which are friendly to homeschoolers.
One such instance occurred recently when a THSC member encountered some difficulty in applying to the Chamberlain College of Nursing in Houston. After THSC contacted the university about their policy which prevented the acceptance of homeschool transcripts, the university implemented a special task force to revise their policies and make sure that future homeschool students are properly included.
– Do you appreciate the efforts to ensure Texas homeschool graduates receive a “level playing field” in college admission?
Consider donating to THSC today to support our interventions on behalf of Texas homeschool students before and after graduation. Our commitment to advocacy is just another way that THSC is Keeping Texas Families Free!