50.19 - Verification of Educational Degrees and/or Academic Status for Job Applicants and Employees

Created October 4, 2007

A. General. Verification of educational degrees and academic status confirm an individual’s qualifications relative to the requirements of their employment at the University of Idaho (UI). The UI allows degree or academic verification for new employees and for those employees accepting different responsibilities within the University of Idaho when (1) positions require an educational degree as listed in the position or job description, or (2) an outside agency or entity requires the verification or certification of educational credentials. The University will use the following procedures with respect to the acquisition and use of educational verification information.

B. Procedures. For Degree and/or Enrollment Verification Checks on Candidates. Effective immediately, the University may conduct degree verification checks on all successful candidates, internal and external, for positions requiring a degree or designation of all-but-dissertation (ABD).

B-1. Required Notification of Degree Verification Checks. The University of Idaho’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) includes a statement that all stated degrees are subject to verification. Any advertisements, notices, and postings for positions not listed in ATS, but requiring a degree verification check will state: "This position is subject to the successful verification of all academic work and degrees stated." Successful candidates for these positions will be offered the position contingent on a satisfactory degree or academic verification check. No candidate for a position requiring a degree or academic check shall commence employment until a satisfactory educational check has been received.

B-2. Required Authorization for Educational Check. All candidates being considered for positions requiring degree or academic checks will complete the Authorization to Release Information for Educational Check. Once an offer has been made, the hiring authority will forward this form to the University’s Human Resources (HR). Based on the information provided by the individual, HR will verify the education listed on the candidate’s application material. When possible, the National Student Clearinghouse will be used. If records are not obtainable through this free resource, other means, including contacting colleges and universities will be utilized. Any costs associated with the educational checks will be charged to the hiring unit.

B-3. Contingent Offer of Employment. If circumstances require that a job offer be made quickly to a candidate, prior to the completion of the educational check, the offer must be in writing and include the following statement: "This offer is contingent upon the completion of a satisfactory educational background check." Although the offer may be made, the employee may not begin work in any capacity, including attending New Employee Orientation, for the University without a completed satisfactory educational check.

B-4. Prior Educational Check Qualifies. If the candidate has had an educational check completed by the UI and the results are satisfactory for the position for which s/he is applying, a subsequent check may be waived at the discretion of the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources or designee.

C. Results of Educational Checks. If the educational check identifies inconsistencies, the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources or designee, in consultation with the hiring authority, will determine whether to exclude the candidate or initiate action against a current employee. If the educational check is on a current employee, the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources or designee, in consultation with the Unit Manager, will determine what personnel action if any, should be taken. The Assistant Vice President for Human Resources or designee may ask for a written explanation from the employee.

D. Communication of Results and Employee Rights.

D-1. Consumer Reporting Agency. Procedures when the report has been provided by a consumer reporting agency (e.g., Intellisense).

i) If a determination has been made that a candidate has provided false information and should be excluded, or that adverse action should be taken against a current employee, based on an unsatisfactory educational check, HR shall, prior to taking any adverse action against the individual, provide a Pre-Adverse Action Disclosure that (1) notifies the individual in writing of the unsatisfactory result, (2) provides the candidate or employee with a copy of the report, and (3) provides the candidate or employee with a written description of his or her rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

ii) After the adverse action has been taken, HR will provide the candidate with an Adverse Action Notice, which includes (1) the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting agency that supplied the report; (2) a statement that the consumer reporting agency that supplied the report did not make the decision regarding the adverse action and cannot provide the reasons for the adverse action; and (3) a notice of the individual’s right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information the agency has furnished, and his or her right to an additional free consumer report from the agency upon request within 60 days.

iii) A candidate or employee who has received an initial unsatisfactory result and who has sought correction of his or her report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act is not eligible for a listed position until the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources or designee has confirmed the correction and determined that the result is satisfactory. The University has no obligation to hold a position open to allow a candidate or employee to correct his or her report.

D-2. National Student Clearinghouse Reporting Agency. Procedures when the report has been provided by an educational agency (e.g., college or university) are as follows:

i) If a decision has been made to exclude a candidate, or initiate action against a current employee, based on an unsatisfactory educational background check, HR shall (1) notify the individual in writing of the unsatisfactory result, and (2) provide the candidate or employee with a copy of the report.

E. Record Keeping. Educational verification information collected under this policy shall be kept in the confidential personnel file of the employee or as part of the hiring record, if applicable. For those candidates not hired, the educational information will be kept with the hiring record. The information shall be used for the sole purpose of evaluating the candidate or employee and shall be disclosed only as permitted or required by law.

F. Disclaimer. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to limit the university’s right to terminate an employee or exclude an applicant from employment, if the university otherwise becomes aware that information on the application material has been falsified.