HOPE Scholarship changes open up more doors for homeschoolers


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Homeschool students in Tennessee now have more ways to qualify for the HOPE Scholarship.

Previously, homeschooled students could only qualify if they provided ACT scores. As of July 1, they can submit coursework from dual enrollment programs.

To submit that way, homeschooled students need to be taking six hours of credits at a college, along with their homeschool credits. Other high schoolers have always been able to qualify through their GPA, but homeschoolers previously didn’t have the ability to qualify through coursework. ETSU recruitment and financial aid advisors agreed that this levels the playing field between homeschoolers and other students.

“A traditional high school student can use their high school GPA. Homeschool students have to either use their ACT or dual enrollment credit,” said Catherine Morgan, ETSU Director of Financial Aid. “I think this just opens up various ways, and possibly for students, a lot have test anxiety, some may not test well. “

“The circumstances surrounding standardized testing, we all know not every student is like a super test taker. Sometimes that’s really challenging for students. Sometimes the test comes at bad times and there’s some research in terms of bias in standardized testing,” said Kristin Wright, ETSU Associate Director of Admissions. “So if you don’t get the 21 on the ACT or you didn’t take it because your school is test-optional for admission, like ETSU is, taking these dual enrollment courses can be another opportunity to showcase your hard work, showcase your effort in the classroom.”

Wright said this won’t necessarily change how they recruit homeschool students, but it gives them more opportunities to get students to get involved in their dual enrollment program.

“I think it brings in another opportunity for homeschool students, and it brings another opportunity for ETSU to get more students involved in our dual enrollment program,” said Wright.

As for how much students can qualify for, it depends on if they qualify through their ACT score or dual enrollment.

“If you do it by dual enrollment credit, the grant that they would receive from being dual enrolled would be deducted from their award for the lottery. If they do it by ACT score, it’s a flat amount but depends on which lottery you qualify for because it’s not just HOPE,” said Morgan.

Wright said she understands the language on the state website can be confusing for students and parents, especially homeschoolers who may not have as much access to academic advisors. She said if you have any questions about qualifying or the grants to reach out to the university.

For more information on the HOPE Scholarship click here.

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