Army Opens Doors Wide to Home School Graduates

Ever since HSLDA drafted and convinced Congress to pass a five year pilot project in 1998 to place all homeschoolers in Tier I category of military enlistment, homeschoolers have proven themselves with faithful service in the Armed Services. The Army has especially taken note and wants home school graduates.

A recent Defense Department survey conducted in 1994 analyzed the home school enlistees attrition rates and performance in the military. Homeschool graduates serving in the Army showed good results

For example, home schoolers enlisting in the Army have consistently scored, on the average, as high as traditional public school graduates on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). For the first 12 months, their attrition rate was as low as public school graduates.  Legal Waivers for drug and alcohol offenses committed prior to enlistment were 0%, and only 1.8 of all homeschool Army Recruits who left the Army received Less than Honorable Discharges.

After working with the Army the last six years on homeschool recruitment issues, Chris Klicka, HSLDA Senior Counsel was told that the Army has started a new push to obtain home school graduates. In spite of the ending of the five year pilot project in October 2004 that placed homeschoolers officially back in Tier II, the Army has chosen to open the door wide for home school graduates and not apply any Tier categories to qualifying home school graduates. That means they have the same benefits and positions that are available to traditional high school graduates.

The Army is able to this with the blessing of the Defense Department. When the Defense Department refused to renew the five year pilot project last October, effectively blocking home schoolers from most of the Armed Services, Chris Klicka called a counsel in the Bush Administration, with whom we have worked before, to help with this problem. He arranged for a meeting with an Assistant Secretary of Defense on the White House grounds. Klicka presented the problem and urged for a renewal of Tier I status for home school graduate.

After following up with a Deputy Assistant Secretary, Klicka finally secured a date January 21,1995, directive-type memorandum that “afforded priority enlistment with no practical limit” to home schoolers without having to obtain a GED.

The Army now offers qualified home school graduates a variety of enlistment incentives when they enlist.  In fact, enlistment of home school seniors into the Future Soldiers Program is also authorized.  Under current Army policy, an applicant who qualifies as a home school graduate, will now be eligible for the same enlistment incentives as a traditional high school graduate. This is part of a special test program the Army is developing to predict first-term attrition among Army enlistees.  Currently, the best single predictor of an individual’s likelihood of adapting to the military is a traditional high school diploma.  However, many individuals with alternative education experiences, like home school, are successful in the military. The goal of this new program is to identify applicants who are likely to adapt to the Army and successfully complete their first term of service.

Home school graduates seeking to enlist in the military need to meet the following criteria:

1) A home school diploma and transcript are required at the time of enlistment. The course work must involve parental supervision and the transcript must reflect the normal credit hours per subject used in traditional high school.

2) Must score 31 or above on the ASVAB

3) Must take the Assessment of Individual Motivation (AIM) test, which is a 20-minute pencil and paper test. The AIM test score will be used to obtain data and will not effect his/her enlistment.

4) At a minimum, the last academic year (9 months) must be completed in a home school environment.

For more information on this new pilot program, home school parents and students should contact the local Army recruiter. If any home school graduates have problems with the recruitment process, they should immediately call HSLDA and our legal staff will assist member families. (540) 338-5600

We are thankful for the Army’s open door policy for all home school graduates who want to serve their country in this capacity.