June 17th, 2019 | Alla Schay, General Manager, Education

Top 4 Reasons to Conduct Background Checks for Student Employment and Internships

Top 4 Reasons to Conduct Background Checks for Student Employment and Internships

College and university campuses are composed of a large cross-section of people – ranging from administrators and professors to support staff and of course, students. The need for a safe and secure campus is critical.

Typically, schools have a background screening program in place, but is it sufficient? Does it cover some conditions that may be outside the standard employment model, particularly those involving students?

Here are four scenarios where students’ services are utilized:

1. Students as On-Campus Workers

Students often work shoulder to shoulder with university employees as part of work-study programs or even based on the simple desire to earn a few extra dollars as spending money. This can happen anywhere from the cafeteria to the library, or anywhere in between. Some jobs may be positions of trust, including the handling of sensitive information or money. Others may be in sensitive locations, such as those in health services, involving high privacy or vulnerable scenarios. Knowing the backgrounds of these students helps foster a safe, secure workplace where everyone is subject to the same rules – whether a student or full-time employee.

2. Students as Volunteers on Campus

Your campus may depend on students to help with security, transportation, child care for employees or within health services. These are also positions of trust and include regular interactions with vulnerable populations. Knowing the backgrounds of these students can help prevent safety-related risks and reputational harm.

3. Students Enrolled in Select Programs

Some academic programs, such as nursing, lead to professional licensing. Licensing boards may require applicants to pass a criminal background check. It is critical for you to know that the students you are investing in are on a pathway to success. In case any are veering off-track, appropriate counseling on other options can occur before it becomes too late in the student’s academic career.

4. Students Seeking Internships or Outside Employment

Some of the most valuable learning occurs outside a classroom. Universities often have relationships with community organizations and employers to provide internships or paid jobs. Providing a pool of high quality applicants helps cement your standing with your partners. Ensuring that these applicants have passed a background check can avoid disappointment later if the partner cannot follow through on a commitment based on information found later. The negative ramifications of this scenario can reflect on your brand and reputation.

Key industry examples of such student experiences include:

  • Pharmacy and medical
  • Research
  • Childcare and teaching
  • Government and law enforcement

Build Flexible Payment Models

The investment a school makes in a student screening program can be well worth the dollars spent for the increased emphasis on physical security and safety. While the school paying for the background check may be satisfactory for the student, it may not be financially feasible for all institutions. Schools should consider payment models where the student pays for the background check or shares part of the costs, understanding that some state regulations and policies require a prospective employer to pay for a background check. Be sure to consult with your counsel and other stakeholders in developing the best model for your students.

Sterling Student

Through Sterling Student, universities can be covered for various types of student employment and related background screening needs. Convenient and appropriate payment options range from a direct student shopping-type experience to payment by the school with all, some, or none of that expense passed along to the student.

Student employment or other experience-gathering arrangements are common. Consistent and effective background screening as part of this experience should be as convenient as for any employee on your campus. Click here for more information and discover the difference that’s making the world a safer place.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.