Revision allows home-schooled to enroll earlier



 The Board of Regents has issued a revision to the admission policies for South Dakota Universities. The revision will allow state universities to admit home-schooled students under the age of 18 to college.

“This year a couple of the institutions have seen an increase in students younger than 18 that have applied,” said Sam Gingerich, system vice president for academic affairs.

The regent schools, specifically SDSU, experienced an increase in home-schooled students under age 18 that were applying to colleges.

“The change we are seeing is having students who are 15 or 16 years old that have graduated high school and that becomes an issue because we don’t have policies to handle it,” Gingerich said. 

The increase in students was brought to the attention to the BOR, and in order to establish clear guidelines for colleges and students, they are going to review the policy. 

“We started the process to draft a revision to the policy,” Gingerich said.

The proposal for the revision will be brought up at the April or May board meeting, and the policy could go into effect immediately or in 2015, depending on the results of the board meeting.

“The age is not the big issue. We have to look at if the student is academically ready for college course work,” said Director of Admissions Tracy Welsh.

While this possible change in policy will not affect many students, it is being considered because the number of applicants under the age of 18 has been increasing. Before, when an applicant under the age of 18 applied, they would simply not have been admitted. 

“Board of Regents policy is explicit. They have to be 18 years [old] or [the] class they were a part of needed to have graduated,” Welsh said.

When an applicant is a applying, they need to provide a $25 application fee, their final high school transcript and their ACT Score. If they meet admission requirements, they will be accepted. 

“It’s a really simple process; the students need to give their academic credentials,” Welsh said.

Age, too, is considered when an application is being reviewed for admission.

“In the past, it was very rare to get a student who was under 18 and had finished high school,” Welsh said. 

The policy is being reviewed in order bring clarity to the admission process of home-schooled students. Admissions offices noted that there were applicants under the age of eighteen, and then saw that there was a gap in the policy. 

“People know that we are paying attention and we are trying to develop a policy that will meet the needs of the citizens of South Dakota,” Gingerich said.