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Army Opens Doors to Home School Graduates


Updated July 29, 2008

Under a special test program, the Army is now treating home school graduates as educational Tier I, the same educational category as high school diploma-holders.

The Army now offers home school graduates who qualify the same enlistment incentives as traditional high school graduates, including cash bonuses up to $20,000 for enlistments of three or more years and the Army College Fund, which provides up to $70,000 for college.

The policy change 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 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.

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.

At least for now, the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are continuing to process home school graduates as Tier II education category (the same as GED), which means they restrict the number they allow to enlist each year.

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

  • Must possess a home school diploma and submit transcripts at the time of enlistment. The course work must involve parental supervision, the transcript must reflect the normal credit hours per subject used in traditional high school and the diploma must be issued in compliance with applicable state laws.
  • Must score 31 or above on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.
  • Must take the Assessment of Individual Motivation (AIM) test, which is 20-minute pencil and paper test. The AIM test score is used to obtain data and does not affect qualification for enlistment.
  • At a minimum, the last academic year (9 months) must be completed in a home school environment.

Enlistment of home school seniors in the Army's Future Soldier program is also authorized.

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