Universities discriminating against homeschoolers?

Via pjmedia

Homeschooling has been around long enough for the data to demonstrate that its graduates can and do succeed in college. Students coming from homeschool backgrounds enter college with significantly higher test scores than their public (and even private) school peers. They graduate from college at a higher rate­—66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent—and earn higher grade point averages while in school, according to one study.

Read more…

Affording Homeschool to College – Part 2

Saving for College

This is the second in a two part series of affording homeschooling to college.

Among the myriad emotions as we graduate our first son from high school, we are shocked by college costs and possibility for long-term debt. But we learned a few things about how a middle class family can afford the cost of college.

Part 2: Financial Aid and Scholarships

Very few people pay full “sticker” price for college. Aid can come from savings, government programs (usually need-based), college grants (both need and grade based) outside scholarships and loans. I suppose aid can also come from wealthy relatives if you happen to have them. If not, read on.

Educational Savings accounts

This first one requires some advanced planning. If you are starting college, it’s too late. But if parents start young, this is the best way to go.

Educational Savings Accounts and 529 plans (which differ by state) are 2 ways to save and invest money without incurring additional tax. As long as the money is used for educational purposes, you do not pay tax on the return on the investment.

It’s never too early to save. In fact, the earlier, the better as your investment has a chance to grow. Most investment sites offer helpful tools to determine how much to save based on age.

College Grants

Colleges like to recruit kids with good grades. Among the reasons for this preference: good students often maintain those good grades in college, graduate, and get good jobs – increasing that schools reputation.

In order to provide incentives to students applying, they almost always offer some kind of “grant” to entice you to come. It’s important to understand that the same people who are charging these outrageous prices are now pretending to help you by giving you some money to pay back to them. You can think of this as funny money. Regrettably, it’s a lot like buying a car or mattress. Bottom line: it’s part of the game of college finance. Take it if you can get it.

You usually need to actually apply to the college to see what they will offer you and the real cost of attendance. First apply to the college. If accepted, apply for aid. (see FAFSA below.)

Government grants

Federal grants are from the US government. Though based on need, the Pell grant reaches well into the middle class and is based on how many siblings you have, the cost of the college and other factors.

  • Federal Pell Grants – currently limited to $5,500/yr., does not need to be repaid, is partly based on family size, the cost of the college and other factors
  • Federal Work Study – Yes, you can work you way through college, the old fashioned way. This program provides funds to the college itself or nearby institutions so they will hire students in part time jobs. It’s not much different from a regular job (also an option) but the understanding going in is that you are a student and likely more flexibility.
  • TEACH Grant – up to $4,000 a year to students plan to begin a career in teaching. There are course requirements involved.
  • FSEOG: Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants – The FSEOG is much more based on need than the Pell grant.
  • State grants (and scholarships)

State programs

Some states have their own set of grants, loans and other programs to encourage college attendance. But surprisingly, other states seem to only offer helpful advice and links. Here’s a list I compiled linking each state to it’s programs (if you have a link for Hawaii, Ohio or Oregon, leave it in the comments):
Alabama |  Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | District of Columbia | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii (no link?) | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio (no link?) | Oklahoma | Oregon (no link?) | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin

FAFSA

FAFSA (Free Application for Student Financial Aid) is a standard form that you fill out once; But it can be accessed by any college to which you apply for aid. It needs to be completed close to January of the year you are a high-school senior. Each state has it’s specific deadlines but the earlier you complete this the better.

The form asks a lot of financial questions and requires the student and parent’s electronic or physical signature to attest you are being truthful.

Important note: you need to re-apply for FAFSA every new school year you are seeking aid.

Almost all colleges use this for to grant student aid, grants, work-study and loans.

  • FAFSA­ – is the Free Application for Student Financial Aid required by most colleges.

Outside Scholarships

While it’s true many scholarships are based on financial need, there are some offered for specific talents, groups and fields of study. Here are some categories you may fit into from Scholarships.com (this should give you ideas but the links do not list every scholarship):

Most colleges have a helpful page of scholarship that fit their school programs. Here are a few independent sites to search for scholarships:

Student loans

Federally guaranteed student loans can be a useful tool for financing an education. With nominal interest rates, it’s foolish not to take advantage of a small loan if you need it. However, the cost of college has increased steadily, recently rising 15% in just two years. This may tempt one to take a much larger loan.

Student loans (if large enough) could saddle your newly minted graduate with regular payments that will prevent him or her from moving out of the proverbial parents basement for quite some time. To begin adulthood under such a terrible burden would be unfortunate.

The worst part of student loans currently is, unlike most loans, even bankruptcy cannot provide relief. So if the burden of debt and the slow job market conspire against you, there is no way out.

Loans should always be a last resort. Student loans even more so.

Affording Homeschool to College – Part 1

Clare College
This is the first in a two part series of affording homeschooling to college.

We are at a milestone in life of graduating our oldest from high-school. He is planning on college. While we are not experts in this, we have a few things to share.

The cost of college today is much higher than 20 years ago. Even with financial-aid offers, a 4-year degree can seem out of reach for many and could potentially bury a graduate with mountainous debt. It’s important to know, today’s government-backed student loans are not normally forgivable, even after bankruptcy. This is potentially crippling debt – a bad way to start adult-life.

Hopefully, this collection of strategies and facts we learned will be helpful to your family as you prepare for college.

Part 1: Lowering the cost without lowering standards

Before you tap savings, scholarships and financial aid, there are some things you can do first to lower the cost of a degree.

Take college classes in high school

A good way to reduce the cost of college is to reduce the time you spend in college. If you can get a 4 year degree in 2 or 3 years, you save the tuition, room and board cost while entering the workforce and earning earlier. We had our son take a few low cost, dual credit classes at a local community college while in high-school. These classes were in English 101 or other subjects required for most 4 year degrees. Not only did this remove that requirement, time and expense from his first year of college, but each one-semester class counted as two semesters for high-school (in our state) and allowed him to graduate early. This head-start continues into college and should allow him to get a four year degree with fewer semesters and dollars. One caveat: check with the eventually intended college and make sure you can transfer the credits.

CLEP

CLEP are college level exams in many subjects like English, history and math. The student learns the material on their own and if they pass the test it is counted as college credit. It’s another approach to reduce cost by reducing time in college.

A few things we learned about CLEP: Some colleges will not accept CLEP credits toward a degree. Schools may also limit the amount of CLEP credit they will take.  Also, if you are planning on the 2+2 approach, even if the Community College accepts CLEP, the school you plan to transfer to may disqualify those credits later, forcing your student to take these classes again at the more expensive college. CLEP might be a good option depending on your college choice. Be careful to check first.

Consider a range of schools

A degree from a selective private university may be a nice dream but the cost may be out of your league financially. (Don’t let that prevent you from applying, they do offer need and merit-based aid.) But the degree itself may matter more than where it came from.

A study by Princeton economists Dale & Krueger suggests that motivated students (not the schools they choose) accounts for financial success.

“…students who attended more selective colleges do not earn more than other students who were accepted and rejected by comparable schools but attended less selective colleges.”

Most States have a very good system of state and community colleges with reduced rates for residents. Make sure you compare placement rates for graduates and other issues. (See also 2+2 below.) These aren’t your father’s community colleges either. They have also changed in the last few decades from glorified high-schools to well equipped learning centers.

2+2

A simple strategy for reducing college cost is to take the first 2 years at a lower cost Community or State College, then transfer to the more expensive private university to gain your degree a this prestigious institution. In theory, that’s a good way to reduce cost. Again, check with the two colleges involved to make sure credits transfer and you don’t end up spending 5 years for the 4-year degree. Many universities work closely with local community colleges to enable this approach. If not, it’s up to you to sort out the requirements.

Live at home

I did this back in the day, when I was in college. We had a good university in my town, so I commuted to and from campus each day. I’m not going to say this was ideal because it quickly got to the point where I only went home to sleep (when I wasn’t doing all-nighters). It saved me room and board but was it worth it?

You have to decide for yourself but you can always try the first year at home and change later.

Side note: A friend’s daughter was eligible for needs-based aid to attend a very good local college in our town. Although they live nearby, she was required to live on campus in order to get the funding. Odd but true bureaucratic rules.

Online colleges

We have some homeschooling friends who had their oldest son go directly from homeschool to home-study through an online college. He did this for a variety of reasons including cost. But his most compelling reason was so he could watch his little brothers grow up. An added bonus, he could still go with the family on their off-season vacations (as long as he could get internet access). He didn’t get a taste of campus life, but some may consider that a plus.

Of course you save the added cost of room and board. But because these schools do not need to expand their campus to accommodate more students, the tuition is often much less.

Make sure the online college is properly accredited and has a good job placement record.

Books for Homeschoolers on Affording College

Homeschoolers’ College Admissions Handbook: Preparing Your 12- to 18-Year-Old for a Smooth Transition

The transition from homeschooling children to preparing them for success in college deserves both planning and preparation. As the parent of a homeschooler, you have many issues to consider besides academic excellence: fulfilling other people’s expectations and standards, tackling standardized tests and application essays, and introducing your homeschooler to the atmosphere of a college campus.

College Without High School: A Teenager’s Guide to Skipping High School and Going to College

High school can be boring. High school curriculum can be frustrating and out of touch. So what is the answer for young people whose creativity, bright ideas, and boundless energy are being stifled in that over-scheduled and grade-driven environment? What would you do if you could go to college without going to high school? Would you travel abroad, spend late nights writing a novel, volunteer in an emergency room, or build your own company?

Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents

These days, most people assume you need to pay a boatload of money for a quality college education. As a result, students and their parents are willing to go into years of debt and potentially sabotage their entire financial futures just to get a fancy name on their diploma.

But Zac Bissonnette is walking proof that this assumption is not only false, but dangerous-a class con game designed to rip you off and doom your student to a post-graduation life of near poverty .

Cracking College Affordability

At some point, all of us will find ourselves facing the challenge of understanding and navigating the labyrinth of college financing. It’s a topic that is not very well understood by most people, unfamiliar to many and intimidating for almost all. “Cracking College Affordability” attempts to demystify this complex topic and make it easier to understand by starting from the fundamental building blocks, explaining each one of them and laying out how all of them fit together.

Paying for College Without Going Broke, 2010 Edition (College Admissions Guides)

As the price of college tuition steadily increases, paying for it requires strategies to maximize financial aid and minimize costs. Paying for College Without Going Broke, 2010 Edition is thoroughly revised and updated to reflect current economic uncertainties and to take the stress, confusion, and guess-work out of applying for financial aid.

 

Even on Your Salary: The Single Parent’s Guide to Providing for College

Every year, thousands of students are forced to postpone their education due to household finances. As overwhelming as the college experience can be, its anxiety intensifies for the single parent looking to send their child to college on an annual salary of $50,000 or less. Even on Your Salary is designed to reduce the stress associated with both the financial burden as well as the entire college experience.

10-year-old college sophomore

10-year-old college sophomore

Maybe the homeschooling didn’t have much to do with this. But this kid is very philosophical and wise for his age.

Moshe Kai Cavalin likes to tell about the time his father took him to take his college entrance test. The administrators told his dad he couldn’t bring an 8-year-old with him into the test room. His father told them the boy was going in alone — because he was the one taking the test. Read more…

Who better to teach about unschooling?

Who better to teach about unschooling?

An unschooler named Andi wrote this comprehensive how-to on unschooling aka”worldschooling.” It’s fairly balanced and informative for anyone who’s considering homeschooling or unschooling. You can even add to parts of it.

Hi, I’m Andi. I wrote this lens. (In case you don’t know, a ‘lens’ is Squidoo’s name for a user-made page about a topic.)
From the time I was six, I was homeschooled. From the time I was twelve, I was worldschooled. Then, this spring, I graduated.
So I’ve been through the whole thing – all the way until I was accepted into my top choice college and awarded 60% tuition in grants.
And you know what? You can do it too. You can follow your interests during your teens years and have an incredible launch into your adult life.
That’s what this lens is about. Read more…

Homeschooler courted by top universities

Homeschooler courted by top universities

In what has been called the most competitive year ever for college admissions, Chelsea Link defied the odds to get accepted into Yale. Then Harvard.
Then came the fat envelopes from Princeton, Columbia, University of Chicago, Stanford and Northwestern University.
Making that feat still more extraordinary, Link has been home-schooled since age 5. Read more…

Homeschooler ahead of his time

Homeschooler ahead of his time

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – By day, Neil Turner tackles academic research papers on topics like the biblical accuracy of carbon dating.
At night, the college freshman sometimes needs to be reminded to brush his teeth.
He’s still 13, after all. Read more…

College Night for homeschoolers

College Night for homeschoolers

BEDFORD — Seven students sat around Anne Gebhart’s dining room table, with maps and folders strewn in front of them.
Gebhart, 40, directed the children, ages 6 to 11, in learning the nation’s state capitals. For the younger students, it represented new information. For the older ones, just a review. Read more…

Homeschooled student ears full-ride scholarship

Homeschooled student ears full-ride scholarship

CHARLESTON — A book by German philosopher Martin Heidegger sits open on the coffee table in front of the fireplace at Peter Borah’s home.
It’s weighty material for someone like Borah, who’s high school age, but he says spending time poring over such works is a valuable opportunity for him.
“There’s just no time to read a German philosopher in school,” he said, explaining that having the chance to read Heidegger’s book is one thing he likes about being schooled at home. “It’s given me opportunities to explore things that I’m interested in and to work at my own pace.” Read more…

Homeschoolers Rally to Make Pro-Life/Pro-Family Movie

Homeschoolers Rally to Make Pro-Life/Pro-Family Movie

From the press release below, PH College is backing this effort.

With a tiny budget and cast and crew of homeschool students, Advent Film Group (AFG) begins “pickup” filming of its first movie, “Come What May” for a week on location at Purcellville, Virginia in late January 2008. During a special AFG Film Day on January 30th, a contingent of homeschool families from across the country will join the set, some from as far away as Oregon and Texas. Read more…

Can homeschooled children get into good colleges?

Can homeschooled children get into good colleges?

Advocates of traditional education have many critiques of home schooling. Most of these objections are thoroughly unjustified and stem more from politics than from educational philosophy. Government support of home schooling reduces the resources allocated to public education, and hence many teachers and parents view home schooling as a threat to the quality of public schools. Read more…

Homeschooled Tebow deserved Heisman

Homeschooled Tebow deserved Heisman

Once homeschooled, now a Heisman winner. No correlation here, just remarkable. UPDATE: Of course you can also find people who think he didn’t deserve it.

The Heisman is sacred. It is not won in a race, and not by a clever political campaign, marketing gimmicks, or in a beauty contest. Tebow deserved it for what he did on the football field, what he did in the classroom, and what he did away from campus.
Remember, just two years ago, he was a home-schooled kid who was able to play high school football in Florida by state law. Now in this, his first full season as a starter for the defending national champion Gators, Tebow had a record 51 touchdowns — 29 passing and 22 rushing — becoming college football’s first 20-20 man. Read more…

Tebow’s family ties

Tebow’s family ties

Another article on the close knit Tebow family. Tim Tebow is a Heisman Trophy contender and was homeschooled.

As a top contender for the Heisman Trophy, Tim Tebow, the sophomore quarterback who has been dubbed Florida’s superhero, will have the eyes of the sports world fixed on him.
But while the Gator Nation anxiously waits to hear if he will make history as the first sophomore to receive the coveted award, the tight-knit family who knows him best says instead of focusing on a win, they are focusing on supporting the baby of their family, whom they affectionately call Timmy. Read more…

Homeschooler Snaps Up Heisman Nomination

Homeschooler Snaps Up Heisman Nomination

Veteran blogger Izzy Lyman is still writing about homeschooling. She gives us a view into this amazing home-grown athlete.

The December 3rd 2007 issue of Sports Illustrated will be of special interest to education reformers.
Next to the cover photo of Chase Daniel, the University of Missouri’s plucky quarterback, is a smaller photo of Tim Tebow.
Tebow is also a QB, but he conducts his business, not on the plains but in “the Swamp,” the football stadium at the University of Florida in Gainesville. All of 20 years old, he is a serious contender for this year’s coveted Heisman Trophy, the annual award given to the most outstanding collegiate football player in the nation. Read more…

Homeschooled Children finding less hurdles in college

Homeschooled Children finding less hurdles in college

Whitney Sorensen has been taking online and on-campus classes and violin lessons at UVSC for about a year, but she’s not a traditional college student. First of all, she’s 14, and second, she’s a home-school student…
Sorensen is one of Utah County’s more than 2,000 students who choose to forgo public school and learn at home. Home schooling is gaining popularity. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nationwide there were more than a million students being home-schooled in 2003, up from 850,000 in 1999. In addition, students with nontraditional backgrounds are becoming accepted at colleges and universities. Read more…

Harvard for Homeschooled Christians

Harvard for the Home-Schooled, Christian Crowd

An NPR story about a book about inside Patrick Henry College.

NPR.org, November 16, 2007 · For home-schooled students, Patrick Henry College in Loudon County, Va., is like Harvard University.
Many high-achieving, home-schooled students have passed through Patrick Henry’s campus, which is meant to provide a network of connections for the rest of their lives — like Harvard or Stanford does for others. The conservative Christian college is known for attracting top students and arming them with religious training and an Ivy League-quality education. Read more…

Homeschooling, then what?

Homeschooling, then what?

When their home-schooling is over, many students have the chance to go to college. But not all define success the same way.
Success can be measured in inches or accomplishments, in test scores or yards, in pounds or progress.
For home-schooled students and students who complete the majority of their education outside a traditional classroom, success is measured in any of these ways and more. Read more…

Homeschoolers adjust easily to campus life

Homeschoolers adjust easily to campus life

From Vanderbilt University’s student media site…

As the home-schooling movement edges toward the mainstream, its students are applying in greater numbers to colleges across the nation, with some colleges considering them an attractive niche market.
Vanderbilt does not actively target home-schooled students but views them as a crucial component of its institutional commitment to diversity.
“We want to understand each student, and in the broadest sense, home-schooled students bring a different experience,” said Dean of Admissions Doug Christiansen. “That’s what diversity is all about, whether it’s ethnic, gender, geographic or some other type of diversity.” Read more…

Mom, Dad and daughters attending college together

Mom, Dad and daughters attending college together

They mention in the article that they homeschooled. It’s not too bad an idea and a natural extension for some homeschooling families.

Some college students might not be so thrilled if their parents told them they would be attending the same university.
Katie and Kristen Halloran see it a different way.
“I always kind of thought it would be a cool thing,” Katie said. Read more…

Colleges embrace homeschooled

Colleges embrace homeschooled

Alicia Pyle, 20, has no trouble negotiating the range of emotions – not to mention the notes – of Rachmaninoff’s “Concerto No. 2’s” third movement.
Indeed, she knows it so well, she performed it last year as a guest artist for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.
Now majoring in piano performance at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Pyle also has mastered something else – the transition from home schooling to college. Read more…