Homeschooled Student Information


Tompkins Cortland assists homeschooling families in meeting their individualized home education goals. CollegeNow serves as the College's point of contact for high school-aged homeschooled students, advising students each step of the way. Homeschooled students may enroll in courses at the Tompkins Cortland Campus in Dryden, the Ithaca and Cortland Extension Centers, or online, and can take advantage of a full array of the College resources and services. In addition, CollegeNow partners with local homeschooling communities to offer college courses through our concurrent enrollment program; the College does not charge tuition for these courses, though there may still be a fee from the homeschooling organization for the class to cover their instructional costs. If your homeschooling organization is interested in teaching college courses, please contact CollegeNow.

At Tompkins Cortland, students are able to supplement their homeschool curriculum with college-credit courses. These courses may fulfill high school graduation requirements, as stipulated in an IHIP, for those who are still of compulsory school age and/or pursuing a Letter of Substantial Equivalency from their district Superintendent. Students should contact their school district or BOCES for information on IHIP requirements. You can find information for the TST BOCES region here

In some cases, homeschoolers may wish to pursue other options to earning a high school diploma. In New York State, there are four pathways to a High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma. Students interested in taking the HSE exam (GED) should work with their local BOCES, such as TST BOCES or OCM BOCES. Through CollegeNow, the College offers the 24 College Credit Program, allowing students to earn a New York State high school equivalency diploma based on the completion of a core set of college courses. The courses within this program are selected with the student based on their goals so that the credits apply to a future degree. Students pursuing the 24 College Credit Program are expected to matriculate to Tompkins Cortland to complete their degree following conferral of the diploma. 

Not sure of your goal? Many students start out taking a college course or two before they decide on their path. Contact CollegeNow to learn more about our courses and discuss your options. 

Homeschooled students who have already fulfilled their high school diploma requirements -- either by earning a "letter of substantial equivalency" from their district's superintendent, completing the 24-credit hour program, or passing the GED -- should work with the College's Admissions Office to apply as matriculated students. 

Biz offers non-credit opportunities that may be of interest to homeschooling families. Online courses through ed2go include "Homeschool with Success" and GED prep courses. For more information about these and other non-credit learning opportunities, please call 607-844-6526 or email

College Coursework and Expectations

When students enroll at Tompkins Cortland, they initiate their academic permanent record, the college transcript. Before enrolling in college coursework, students and parents should familiarize themselves with the Implications of Beginning a College Transcript.

Parents and students should also read and understand the college’s Grading Policies and Student Rights and Responsibilities, including the college’s Attendance Policy. Of particular importance at the college level is a thorough understanding of Academic Integrity and the consequence of violating the college’s Academic Integrity Policy. Students planning to attend Tompkins Cortland after completing their IHIP requirements should also understand the Academic Standards they will be expected to meet once they matriculate.

Any credits earned while still of high school age would apply to a Tompkins Cortland degree program if the student matriculates after completing his high school requirements. As a SUNY institution, Tompkins Cortland credits are highly transferable to colleges and universities across the country. Learn more about transferring Tompkins Cortland credits.

Please note that students under the age of 16 may need to obtain instructor permission before registering for a course. When they are in class, students under 17 years of age must have a parent, guardian, or responsible adult on campus.

Time Commitment

For courses on the College's campus or extension centers, students can expect to be in class for 1 hour per credit each week. Lab sciences and studio classes are exceptions and generally require more classroom time. Students should expect to spend an additional 2 to 3 hours per credit per week doing homework.

Due to the independent nature of online learning, the time commitment for online courses is calculated differently. The average student spends 2.5 to 4 hours per week per credit on coursework.  For a three-credit course, students should plan on spending at least 7.5 to 12 hours per week on the course. For more information about online courses, visit the Online Course Guidelines and the “Is It Right for You?” page.


The CollegeNow staff works with students and their families on an individual basis to determine readiness for college-level coursework. Tompkins Cortland may use the Accuplacer test to determine placement in Reading, Writing, and Math courses. Students can familiarize themselves with the placement testing process by reviewing the Accuplacer study guide, which includes an overview of topics and links to online practice questions. The College's Baker Center has also created an excellent Math study resource called the Go2Guide, with links to practice videos for each topic covered in the College Math's curriculum through Trigonometry.

Course Registration

A searchable database of all Tompkins Cortland courses is available through the college’s course catalog. Students may enroll in courses that take place on the College campus, the Ithaca and Cortland Extension Centers, and online by submitting this registration form to CollegeNow. These courses are available at the College's part-time tuition rate, plus any course-specific fees or textbooks. In lieu of a traditional textbook, some courses use OER, which are digital learning materials; the College charges a $10 fee for the OER. 

For Concurrent Enrollment courses taught by a homeschooling organization, students should register through the Concurrent Enrollment Registration site per their teacher's directions. 

A Certificate of Residence for each student is required annually to ensure the in-state tuition rate.

Financial Aid

Homeschooled students are not eligible for Financial Aid for courses taken while completing their high school requirements. Only students who have earned their high school diploma or equivalent, are matriculated in a degree program, and have completed a FAFSA are eligible for financial aid.

Library and Academic Support Services

Homeschooled students taking courses at Tompkins Cortland have access to the college’s library resources and services. Students may use the academic article databases, electronic books, and streaming educational videos from wherever they have Internet access. Librarians support students with reference help via text or chat and can mail books and other resources to the students’ home with a pre-paid return label. Learn more by visiting the LibGuide for CollegeNow students.

Tompkins Cortland's Baker Center for Learning provides tutoring in several subjects, both in person and online. Information about tutoring schedules, locations, and how to access online tutoring, is available on the Baker Center’s site.

Getting Started

To schedule a meeting to discuss your child’s options, please contact the Associate Director of CollegeNow at 607.844.8222, extension 4413.