FAFSA and PHEAA time!
Most people think of this time of year as the dreaded “tax time,” but for many of us it is FAFSA and PHEAA time. Those letters send chills into some people more than the letters: IRS. FAFSA is a pain for everyone who has a child going to college. It is like an entrance exam for parents. But PHEAA is an extra challenge for Pennsylvania homeschoolers who have a child going to college.
If you have a graduating high school senior, going to college next year, you should apply to Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) for aid. (Remember applying for aid is not the same as getting aid.)
One of the provisions of the new home education law (Act 169 of 2014) is the supervisor/parent issued high school diploma. The form can be downloaded from Pennsylvania Department of Education (form PDE-6008), signed by the parent and evaluator. Per law, PHEAA must grant all of the rights and privileges, as any other high school diploma to the home education high school diploma. This diploma (PDE-6008) is proof of high school graduation, a requirement for applying for PHEAA aid.
The question arises: how do I submit a diploma as verification of high school graduation to PHEAA when my child has not had their final 12th grade evaluation? The answer is: like every other student who will receive a diploma at their June graduation. We propose that you send a copy of the diploma with an “anticipated graduation date” and print the name of the evaluator. This should accomplish the goal and align with the other educational options. Official graduation is verified by sending the final transcript to the college with the date of graduation.
It should be noted that previous to Act 196 of 2014, the superintendent would sign a PHEAA form certifying that the student complied with the home education law and graduation requirements. Since the superintendent no longer has any knowledge of whether the graduation requirements have been met, they can no longer sign the PHEAA form.
If you receive any information from PHEAA contradicting this, please let us know. We have found PHEAA to be inconsistent and unknowledgeable of home education over the last 10 years.