February 15, 2017 STEUBENVILLE, OH – In an exciting move allowing homeschool students to earn college credit before ever stepping foot on campus, Franciscan University of Steubenville has partnered with HomeschoolConnections.com to provide a 10 percent post-secondary tuition discount on online undergraduate classes for select homeschool students. According to Maureen Wittmann, co-founder of HomeschoolConnections.com, the agreement allows eligible families to experience substantial savings on college costs. "College has gotten so expensive," said Wittmann. "It's a big financial burden on many families, but dual enrollment with college credit can help lighten that burden." The discount, which will be available starting August 2017, is open to junior and senior high school-level students whose families are members of HomeschoolConnections.com, a Catholic faith-based organization that provides online classes to homeschool students and teaching resources for their parents. Eligible students will be able to take up to two discounted Franciscan University classes per semester, including summer, for a maximum total of 12 undergraduate courses while still finishing their high school-level coursework. "Our partnership with HomeschoolConnections.com creates an avenue for homeschooling families to start their children's college education with our passionately Catholic and academically excellent courses, building on the faith foundation they have established in their homes," said Franciscan University President Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR. "With so many students coming to us from homeschools, we are happy to make a Franciscan University education more affordable and accessible to them. We see this outreach to homeschooling families as an important aspect of our service to the Church." Franciscan will begin offering select undergraduate classes online for the first time during the fall 2017 semester. The courses will be drawn from Franciscan's core curriculum, which includes philosophy, theology, literature, and natural and social sciences. While the online classes are open to all qualified students, the discount is only available to HomeschoolConnections.com members. Through the partnership, Franciscan University will become the exclusive higher education sponsor of the HomeschoolConnections.com parent webinars and online conferences, which are offered free throughout the year. Past webinar topics have included college preparation and how to avoid homeschool "burnout." The partnership is a natural fit for both organizations. Approximately 19 percent of Franciscan University students come from homeschool families, while HomeschoolConnections.com shares a similar mission to the University. "Our mission is well aligned with Franciscan: academically excellent and passionately Catholic," said Wittmann. "Franciscan University challenges the mind but also the heart and the soul—it just feeds students so completely. It's the reason we're so excited to work with Franciscan." HomeschoolConnections.com was founded in 2008 in the spirit of St. John Paul the Great's teaching on the domestic church and the new evangelization. Seeking to use technology to enhance the homeschooling experience, HomeschoolConnections.com offers both interactive and pre-recorded online classes on a variety of topics from math to science, literature to writing, and theology to philosophy. Giving parents the tools to fulfill their God-given vocations as educators, HomeschoolConnections.com also offers free webinars, eBooks, and educational videos. To learn more about the Franciscan University-HomeschoolConnections.com partnership, visit franciscan.edu/homeschoolconnections.