Many people assume that homeschoolers should take the GED test as a way to prove the student has completed high school. While the GED is useful for many adult learners who have dropped out of high school, it is generally a poor choice for homeschooled students. Here’s why:
Homeschoolers can graduate from high school
Attending a homeschool high school is attending high school. Homeschool graduates aren’t drop outs. Homeschool diplomas, whether they are parent issued or issued by a supervising accrediting school, are recognized as proof of high school graduation. The majority of homeschoolers who go to college in the U.S. do so with parent issued high school diplomas. State laws vary and homeschoolers should check the requirements in their state to make sure their homeschooler is complying with all requirements.
GED carries stigma
Whether it should or not, the GED still carries some stigma in some people’s minds. While it is intended to be viewed as equivalent of a high school degree, some employers consider it a lesser credential.
GED may lock students out of state scholarship programs
GED earners are treated differently than high school graduates by many state scholarship programs. Many of these programs require students to graduate from a public, private, or homeschool. Students receiving a GED may be entirely ineligible, or eligible just for a much smaller one time scholarship. For example, under the Georgia HOPE scholarship GED earners can earn a one-time $500 grant, versus high school graduates who receive much more substantial scholarships that help all the way through college.
GED can mean lower pay rank
Some jobs classify high school graduates and GED earners differently when it comes to pay scale. Also, military entrants are classified into different tier levels. Homeschool grads who earn a sufficient score on the entrance exam can enter the military as the top-ranked Tier One which is important because 90% of enlistees are classified as Tier One. GED earners typically enter as Tier Two.
GED Is not required for financial aid
There is a lot of misinformation floating around about homeschoolers needing to get the GED for financial aid. In fact, this has not been required for many years and is still not required by the federal government. Unfortunately some college financial aid offices still aren’t well informed about this. If you are told your student needs to have take the GED to receive federal financial aid, this is not a federal requirement and you will need to bring accurate information to the attention of the college. Students are advised to check with the financial aid office at the college they plan to attend to make sure they are meeting all requirements for financial aid form and evidence of graduation.
While it is the case that the GED generally does not make sense for homeschoolers there are some less common circumstances where it may be beneficial. Some apprenticeships or trade unions refuse to accept a homeschool transcript as proof of graduation. Certain states such as New York have particular state laws that make it more difficult for parents to simply issue a diploma. Every family should research state law and the expectations for the post-secondary programs their children may be considering, but in most cases the GED is not required.