A young man named Paul Owens graduated from a high school homeschool program in June 2001. His homeschool program apparently met all the state requirements at the time.
He applied to and was accepted at Monroe Community College, which knew he was a homeschool graduate. He attended during the Fall 2001 and throughout 2002, meeting all requirements to obtain his Associate’s Degree.
But, in December 2002, he was notified that he was being dematriculated, unless he took the GED, since he did not have the equivalent of a high school diploma. Thus, even though he completed all courses necessary to obtain an Associate’s Degree, the College would not grant him the degree because the New York Board of Regents had applied a new interpretation to a 20-year-old policy regarding college admissibility of private school students.
Owens began attending a private college which has higher tuition than the state college he would have been able to attend had Monroe granted him his Associate’s Degree.
The Home School Legal Defense Fund (HSLDA) filed a lawsuit on his behalf against the Board of Regents and Monroe Community College seeking an injunction requiring Monroe to grant him his earned degree, and damages equivalent to the difference in tuition between the two schools.
The Board of Regents changed its rule at its September meeting to allow students to be admitted to state schools with a homeschool diploma. The judge denied the request by Mr. Owens for damages. No appeal was taken.
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