The Tennessee legislature has updated the definition of “home school student” with respect to Hope Scholarship eligibility.
By virtue of the enactment of Senate Bill 1773 on March 28, 2014, the Tennessee Legislature updated the definition of a “home school student” eligible to receive a HOPE scholarship. This action was needed because the HOPE scholarship provisions of the law were not in line with the changes to the homeschool law made in 2011. The old homeschool law recognized only two options for parents: (1) homeschooling through the school district or (2) associating the homeschool with a church-related school, which also involved registration of the student with the school district in grades 9-12. The changes to the homeschool law made three years ago preserved these two options, except that a student whose homeschool was associated with a church-related school was no longer required to register with the school district in the high school grades. Additionally, the law began to recognize a third option whereby a parent could homeschool a child while participating as a teacher in the church-related school in which the child was enrolled. The HOPE scholarship provisions now reflect all three means of homeschooling by which a student may become eligible for a college scholarship. The law continues to require that the student be a homeschool student for at least one year preceding completion of high school.
Senator Mike Bell (District 9) was the chief sponsor of this legislation.