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Parents, businesses and institutions of higher learning all are interested in knowing the status of a home education or privately tutored diploma and whether it is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Additionally, there sometimes is confusion over what constitutes a home education program.


This Diplomas section deals with the status of each of the diploma options about which there frequently are questions.


Cyber Schools

School districts may have online schools where students work from home via the Internet. A diploma from one of these schools is recognized by the Department. The only other online schools that may grant a diploma that is recognized by PDE are Pennsylvania’s cyber charter schools; these are public schools and they are not the same as homeschooling.


Parents may elect to use a cyber school, other than these two types, but must do so within a home education program. Although some institutions may choose to recognize a diploma from these private cyber schools or programs, the Department does not. Nevertheless, a home education program utilizing the curriculum from one of these cyber schools still may obtain a home education diploma recognized by PDE.


Each year, the list of PA's cyber charter schools may change and should be checked.


Umbrella Schools

An "umbrella school” is any alternative source of education which oversees the homeschooling of children to fulfill the requirements of a state government. In PA, it includes schools that are neither public schools nor "brick-and-mortar" private schools. These include such things as correspondence courses, private online (“cyber”) schools or any type of distance-learning school (e.g., webinar). Anyone using curriculum from such a source must operate as a home education program with all its legal requirements.


While PDE does not recognize a diploma granted by an umbrella school, other institutions may. However, a home education program utilizing the umbrella school's curriculum may obtain a home education diploma that is recognized by the Department.


Privately Tutored Students

There is no direct path to graduation for a privately-tutored student; hence, there are no graduation requirements. Students who are privately tutored may obtain a Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma.


Home Education Programs (Homeschooling)

Occasionally the Department is asked to verify the home education program diplomas of individual students. While PDE does not provide or track individual diplomas of students participating in home education programs, home education programs have multiple paths to a state-recognized diploma.


- Parent-issued diploma: Act 196 of 2014 modified the law to allow parents to award a state-recognized home education diploma to their children. The Act became effective for diplomas granted beginning October 31, 2014. The requirements for this diploma follow.



(1) The supervisor must submit an affidavit to the superintendent of schools in their district of residence for the student’s twelfth grade (graduation) year

(2) The student must complete the graduation requirements of the law while enrolled in the home education program (see the Curriculum section)

(3) The home education evaluator fulfills the legal requirements as a secondary level home education evaluator (see the Evaluators section)

(4) The evaluator’s twelfth grade evaluation for the student is submitted to the school district and this evaluator co-signs the diploma confirming the student has completed the graduation requirements of the law

(5) The diploma is awarded to the student on a standardized form developed by PDE


The form for a parent-issued diploma may be downloaded and printed from this link: Home Education Diploma (PDE 6008) and Definitions.


- Home education association: The Department grants authority to certain home education associations to provide home education program diplomas. These associations are required to keep records of the diplomas they grant and may be contacted for verification of any student. Some of these also provide transcripts for higher education. A list of these associations is provided in the accompanying table.


- Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma: Homeschooled students may obtain a Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma if they do not have a diploma from any other source. This mainly is applicable to those students who graduated prior to October 31, 2014, or for those who did not complete the graduation requirements for a home education diploma.


- Verification of completing a home education program prior to October 31, 2014: For students who need verification of having completed the graduation requirements of a home education program (24 P.S. § 13 1327.1 (d)) but have not received a state-recognized diploma, there are two ways to verify that the program has been completed:

(1) request a letter from the superintendent of the student’s district of residence stating that the student fulfilled all the graduation requirements of the law for a home education program; or

(2) request the superintendent of the student’s district of residence complete a PHEAA form or send a letter to PHEAA for any student who had completed the graduation requirements for a home education program prior to October 31, 2014. Superintendents are required by regulation to do this. Before the signing of Act 196, the superintendent tracked homeschool progress through submission of the portfolios and they maintain the historical records from those they tracked; Act 196 removed the responsibility for portfolios from superintendents as of October 31, 2014. For students without a state-recognized diploma and who graduated prior to Act 196, this remains an option for verification. See 22 Pa. Code § 121.21 (c); "the Agency" is defined in 22 Pa. Code § 121.1 as PHEAA.



Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma

A Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD) can be obtained by both homeschooled and privately tutored students for successful completion of the General Educational Development (GED®) tests or by presenting evidence of satisfactory completion of a minimum of 1 full year or 30 semester hours of study (in postsecondary level courses) at an accredited institution of postsecondary education. See 22 Pa. Code § 4.72.


The CSSD may be issued to an applicant who is a resident of Pennsylvania; is at least 17 years of age; does not possess a secondary school diploma from the United States; is not in a public, licensed private, registered accredited or licensed nonpublic secondary school and has not obtained a state-recognized home education diploma.


To request a Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma, contact the Bureau of Postsecondary and Adult Education at 717-787-5532 or ra-able@pa.gov.  


Diploma-granting Associations

The accompanying table lists the diploma-granting associations that currently are authorized by the Department to grant home education diplomas for PA residents only. They may not grant a home education diploma to anyone who is not a resident of PA. Additionally, they may grant diplomas only to those students who have submitted a homeschool affidavit to their superintendent of schools for their graduation year.


These organizations reapply every three years and new organizations are added, so this list may change from year-to-year.


PDE Approved Home Ed Diploma-Granting Organizations


Email; Website

Accel Community Programs

Veronica Manley


7400 Marshall Road

Upper Darby, PA 19082





Bridgeway Academy
(a division of Essential Learning Institute)

Jessica L. Parnell

(800) 863-1474


334 Second Street;

Catasauqua, PA 18032




Buxmont Christian Educational Institute Inc

Terry L. Johns

(215) 723-7226


146 W. Broad Street;

Telford, PA 18969




Erie County Homeschoolers
(Erie County Homeschoolers Diploma Association)

Edi Thomas
(570) 967-0951


9129 State Road;

Cranesville, PA  16410




Mason Dixon Homeschoolers Association

Mary Hudzinski

(717) 762-3357


32 West Main Street #5;

Waynesboro, PA  17268




Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency

Dr. Howard B. Richman
(724) 783-6512


105 Richman Lane;

Kittanning, PA  16201




Susquehanna Valley Homeschool Diploma Program, Inc.

Margaret T. Matthews,

(717) 566-3573


484 Pleasant View Road;

Hummelstown, PA  17036




The Lancaster Center for Classical Studies
(The Classical Foundation of Lancaster)

Wilson Brown

(717) 397-3223


910 Marietta Avenue;

Lancaster, PA  17603


Upattinas School and Resource Center

Kim Coffin

(610) 458-5138


429 Greenridge Road

Glenmoore, PA 19343




Valley Forge Baptist Home Education Association

Karen Melchior

(610) 948-8100


616 S. Trappe Road;

Collegeville, PA 19426





Here is listing of previous diploma-granting institutions. If the student graduated within the dates of operation, they still would have a valid diploma.


PDE Approved Home Ed Diploma-Granting Organizations

 (Expired Authorization - but could assign diplomas for the dates indicated)



Alethia Learning Center

5/18/1999 to 5/18/2002

Richard G. Patton




68 Bertolet School Road

Spring City, PA 19475

Teen Travel Foundation of Western PA


(866) 463-9081





322 Mall Blvd. #165

Monroeville, PA 15146



Becoming a Diploma Provider

An association serving homeschooling families may apply to PDE for recognition to grant home education diplomas by completing the Home Education Association Application for Recognition.



Updated: 2/4/2015

For additional information, please contact:

Suzanne Tallman |
Pennsylvania Department of Education
333 Market Street | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.214.8212
RA-home-education@pa.gov | www.education.state.pa.us