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When Should Colleges Require Student Background Checks?

Blake Hicks | Industry Expertise

When Should Colleges Require Student Background Checks?

Colleges live and die on their reputations, and the more famous a college is, the more students will attempt to enroll. This is why running background checks on potential and enrolled students can be so useful. The reputation of a college often rests on the students as well as staff, so running background checks can help protect your reputation. But running constant background checks can get very expensive and bother students more than it will help you. So, if you’re looking to hire a reputable background check service, it’s best to know when colleges should require student background checks.


Enrollment is one of the most popular times to run background checks on students. It’s best if you can learn about your potential students before you actually offer them an acceptance letter. However, there are a lot of issues with running background checks before you enroll a student, as the information you gain might color your decisions and open you to lawsuits. So, you need to run pre-enrollment checks carefully.

Representing the College

Anytime a student gets in a position that represents the college in an official manner, it’s best to run a background check on them. This includes hiring them for a college job or inviting them to join an athletics team. Any position that has a public face for the school is something you should protect.


Some schools have started running yearly background checks on their students for criminal records and other issues. These can be costly, but they offer a lot of safety for your school and ensure that you don’t overlook students who may have caused problems after acceptance.

Legal Issues

There are no laws that prohibit the use of background checks on students before and after you accept them. However, there is a risk of lawsuits if you use the information from a background check inappropriately. Ensure that you follow any local and federal laws about student rights when running background checks.

These are the times when colleges should require student background checks or at least consider them. Protecting your reputation is extremely important, and running good background checks can protect your students and your reputation from potentially dangerous situations.