Do Homeschooled Students Get a Diploma?
Every now and then I meet a person who was homeschooled, via a letter of intent, who tells me that they never went to college because they don’t have a high school diploma.
It’s happened several times, and when I tell them that all they need in Florida is for their parent to sign a Homeschool Completion Affidavit, and they can go to college— it changes their life. Just that little bit of information changes their life.
One lady was in her 30s and she literally started jumping up and down, saying, “Oh my God, I can go to college!” It still gives me the chills and I get choked up when I remember it.
Then, I remember another lady that I shared that with, and she cried too. Not because of joy, but because of sadness because her mother, who was a single homeschooling mom, had already passed away. No one could sign her Homeschool Completion Affidavit (it has to be notarized).
So, this is a reminder for you, and please share this with your homeschool buddies: As soon as your child graduates, give them a signed, notarized Homeschool Completion Affidavit (HCA).
Keep one for your records, too. This is an important document, one that should be kept with other important documents. You may never need it, but if you do, it’s good to have. You never know what could happen!
What is a Homeschool Completion Affidavit?
A Homeschool Completion Affidavit is a document that the parent/school official of a legal homeschool signs to graduate their student from homeschool. It is considered equal to a diploma from a public or private school. It must be signed in front of a notary public. In the state of Florida, this is the official graduation document of a homeschooled student, and is required to be accepted by all state colleges and universities.
Where do I get this document?
We have a sample HCA in the group files of our Facebook group Florida Homeschoolers Dual Enrolled, which you can use. There are also many floating around on the internet, mostly on various Florida state college websites, such as this one from Polk State College, and this one from Hillsborough Community College.
You can use any HCA that you choose, as long as it says that your child has completed an educational program according to FL state statute 1002.41. In Florida, our statutes say that all FL colleges must accept the HCA as legal proof of graduation from a homeschool. We’ve nicknamed it the “homeschool diploma” because, even though it’s not a fancy certificate looking thing, like your traditional diploma, it serves the exact same purpose. And, you can even order a custom, commemorative diploma certificate for your child if you want to (we got ours from HSLDA). But the HCA is the actual, legal document.
Here is the actual language from the statute we linked above (FL SS1007.263 (2) ):
“(2) Admission to associate degree programs is subject to minimum standards adopted by the State Board of Education and shall require:
Hardly anyone in Florida knows about this – but it is such a crucial piece of information! It is an empowering piece of information that really completes the puzzle. The fact that nobody knows they can do this keeps people from homeschooling their children through graduation, and forces them to make choices that might not be the best for their child.
This statute is what all state colleges and universities refer to when admitting a homeschooled student.
And, most universities around the country don’t even ask for a diploma at all (such as University of Florida, to name one). They only care about the official high school transcripts of a homeschooled student.
Florida law treats homeschools as ACTUAL schools. Florida’s education law allows for three equal educational options: homeschool, public school, and private school. When you send a letter of intent, you become the school official and guidance counselor of your school in your home. In that role, you are the only person who can legally graduate your student, issue their official high school transcripts, and promote them to the next grade. Florida law actually prohibits county school districts from having any academic oversight of a homeschooled student, because your homeschool is your child’s school of record.
Don’t Believe the Hype
So, please do not believe anyone who tells you that homeschoolers don’t “get a diploma.” It’s false!
You don’t have to join an umbrella school, or put your child in public school, nor do you have to use FLVS Full Time. Florida law provides a way for homeschoolers to graduate legally, and that same law requires colleges to accept the HCA as equivalent to a public or private school diploma.
Our family has personal experience with this. We have five children, all homeschooled since birth, and so far we have graduated two home scholars. The photo above is our second oldest child, who graduated in May 2019 from our homeschool. She was accepted to University of Florida (with scholarships, including Bright Futures) and already has her AA through dual enrollment. University of Florida did not ask for any diploma, they only wanted her transcripts.
Our oldest daughter is completing the last 10 credits of her AA through Eastern Florida State College, after completing 50 credits through dual enrollment. Upon graduation from our homeschool, she continued as a regular student. EFSC asked us for her homeschool completion affidavit.
If any of this information excites you (like it excites us!) please join our Facebook group: Florida Homeschoolers Dual Enrolled, where you can learn all about homeschooling through high school, including graduation, transcripts, scholarships, college admissions, and more!
Lastly, if you want to know who to thank for this amazing piece of legislation, the person responsible for this and so much more is Brenda Dickinson, our only homeschool lobbyist in Tallahassee (she and her husband Craig wrote our home education law). She needs all of our support. Please donate to her foundation here: www.GoFundMe.com/FLHEF (cell phones may have trouble accessing the link, if so please visit on a computer).