The South Dakota Board of Regents is struggling with how to deal with ambitious home-schooled students who accelerate through high school and want to start university early. Apparently under current policy, South Dakota's public universities are denying these precocious home-schoolers admission because they haven't served their time:
Several home-schooled students ages 15 and 16 applied for admission as degree-seeking students who would commute from home and wouldn’t live on campus. They were denied admission because they weren’t yet 18 years old and their high school class hadn’t graduated yet.
The students’ transcripts showed they had graduated. But they hadn’t fulfilled the state board’s requirements that they complete four years of English, three years of advanced mathematics, three years of laboratory science, three years of social studies and one year of fine arts for admission to a bachelor-degree program [Bob Mercer, "South Dakota Universities Seek Policy for Admitting Home-Schooled Students," Aberdeen American News, 2013.10.11].
The Regents are convening a working group to ponder the issue. Regents, let me ease your struggle: let the kids in!
Graduation requirements should be a matter of completing course requirements, not spending a set amount of time in any particular room. Some kids will stare the whiteboard for 27 months and know less algebra than the kid who plows through every problem in the Algebra I, Algebra II, and Pre-Calc textbooks in nine months. Whether those early graduates are making the grade at school or at home, if they can pass muster with their local school boards and the ACT, calendar requirements should not stand in their way.
Attending university early will save home-schoolers' families money on tuition (this year is always cheaper than next year) and especially on room and board. It will also allow them to enter the workforce sooner (if that's what they want) and boost their lifetime earnings. Students who work extra hard to finish high school deserve at least that reward. Regents, make it happen!