Q. Why can’t my high school homeschooler dual enroll in a community college at no cost like a public school student?
A. HEAV has discussed tuition-free community college dual or concurrent enrollment for Virginia homeschoolers in a joint meeting with the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). We all agree on the idea—equal opportunity for ALL students–but we have not come to agreement on the funding issues. Our state tax system is structured differently in Virginia than in other states that allow tuition-free access to community colleges for all students.
When public school students take community college classes, they take them at the public school in which they are enrolled. These courses are taught by qualified teachers in the high school or college professors who come to the high school campus. These community college courses are not taken on the community college campus. There is no cost to the public school student who takes the course at his high school.
This is possible because there is a financial agreement between the community college and the public school regarding Average Daily Membership (ADM) funds. ADM is based on the number of students in the school.
There IS a way for homeschool students to dual enroll without paying tuition. Homeschoolers may experience the same opportunity if they are enrolled as part-time students at the local high school. A homeschool student can take up to two public school classes. (More than 50% of Virginia high schools allow part-time enrollment, and schools that permit homeschoolers to enroll part-time receive up to one-half ADM for each homeschool student.) If a part-time homeschool student meets the same qualifications for community college level work, he may be able to participate in concurrent enrollment through the public high school. In this way, ADM would cover the cost for a homeschool student to take up to two cc courses at a public school.
If a public, private, or homeschool student wants to take a college-level course that is NOT OFFERED at the high school, their parents must cover all costs for tuition, fees, and books. The same policy applies to students who participate in Governor’s School programs.
Because homeschool students are typically not enrolled in public schools where ADM funds are allocated, independent homeschool families must pay the costs for dual or concurrent enrollment on a community college campus.
Read more questions on how to dual enroll.
Read more about high school and preparing for college here.