Q: What is this policy?
A: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology requires all degree-seeking students to complete a Criminal Background Check (CBC) as a condition of acceptance and matriculation.
Q: Why does the school require this policy?
A: There are four main reasons why the school implemented this policy:
1. Protection of Public Safety: Psychology professionals are entrusted with the health, safety, and welfare of those with whom they work, have access to confidential and sensitive information, and operate in settings that require the exercise of ethical judgment and professional behavior. Thus, assuring the absence of serious criminal convictions in our students' backgrounds is imperative to promote the highest level of safety possible in our communities.
2. Compliance with Training & Community Engaged Scholarship Partners: Applied learning experiences are essential elements of The Chicago School's degree programs. Students who cannot participate in such experiences due to serious criminal convictions may not be able to fulfill the requirements of their degree program. Therefore, it is in both the student's and school's interest to identify such restrictions as early as possible.
3. Early Identification of Licensure or Certification Ineligibility: Similarly, serious criminal convictions may prevent graduates the ability to attain a professional license or certification in their chosen field of study. Both the student and the school should quickly identify such limitations.
4. Campus Safety: All members of The Chicago School community are entitled to work and study in a safe environment. Identification of violent backgrounds through CBCs reduces the possibility of criminal acts on or around campus.
Q: Do other schools require a policy like this one?
A: Yes, a growing number of schools are implementing this type of policy, and it is considered a "best practice" in higher education. In fact, entering medical school students in some states are required by law to complete CBCs.
Q: If I recently completed a CBC, will the school accept it?
A: Prior results from any company or government, including our vendor, cannot be accepted. The reason is because not all CBCs are created equally, both in terms of the quality/reliability of the vendor as well as the scope of the search itself. As an institution, we have established the standards of our criminal background check, and we need to ensure that every student across the institution is evaluated in a consistent manner and cannot entrust that responsibility to multiple third-party vendors.
Q: Does this policy apply to all Chicago School campuses?
A: Yes. All degree seeking students must complete this requirement. Students in the ABA Certificate program must complete the CBC requirement due to practicum placement.
Q: How does it work?
A: Students will be provided information from the school about how to complete this simple (5 min) online procedure through an identified third party vendor.
Q: What should I do if I encounter any technical difficulties in completing the online form or feel that I have been overcharged?
A: Students who have any difficulties with the online process or vendor should start by contacting their customer service line as provided on the vendor's website. If contacting customer service does not resolve the problem adequately, students can contact their campus Student Affairs representative.
Q: What will happen if a student fails to meet this requirement?
A: Because of the importance of fulfilling this requirement, students who fail to complete their CBC by the designated deadline will have a registration hold implemented, and be administratively withdrawn if they fail to complete by the add/drop deadline of the next term. The CBC completion deadline for all campuses is the first day of the first term. Online students will be administratively withdrawn if an order is not received by the last day of their first term.
There are Financial Aid (FA) repercussions should a student not complete their CBC by the deadline for their specific program.
Q: What are the Financial Aid (FA) repercussions if the CBC is not completed by the deadline?
A: The student will be administratively withdrawn from the program and funds received may be retroactively returned back to the Department of Education. The return of funds will create a balance on the student's ledger and the student's account will be placed on billing hold. The student must then make arrangements with Student Account to resolve the balance. The billing hold must be resolved before the student may re-enter back into the institution. Communication in regard to funding and billing will be held between the student, the FA Office, and Student Accounts.
Q: What should I do if I know or suspect that something adverse will appear on my CBC results?
A: Students who suspect that an adverse finding will emerge on their CBC should submit an explanatory statement to the appropriate campus representative prior to conducting their CBC. Statements should be directed to:
On-ground and Online Programs
Q: When will I need to complete this process?
A: Students must complete the CBC by the first day of their entering term. Because it takes about five days for the results to be generated, students are strongly encouraged to complete the CBC as soon as possible. For all students, the last date to complete the CBC is by the add/drop deadline of the second term enrolled.
Q: Do I have to complete a CBC if I will be doing my internship at my place of employment?
A: Yes. All practica and internship sites need to be formally approved by the school, establishing a special three-way relationship between the school, student, and employer in which school-related activities take place.
Q: Who bears the cost of the CBC, and how much will it cost?
A: As is the common practice in other schools that require CBCs, the student bears the cost of completing the CBC. In context, it's not unlike other expenses that students incur to complete their academic file and gain access to the education they seek (e.g., immunizations, transfer of transcripts and test scores, etc.). The actual cost is $45 for all students.
Q: What if I really can't afford this CBC right now?
A: The school understands the financial impact that this policy may have upon students. Legitimate claims of financial hardship should be directed to the above contacts. Students experiencing financial hardship can complete a CBC voucher requested through their campus representative to have the charge posted to their student account, where it can be paid for with financial aid or a payment plan, as applicable.
Q: For how long are the results applicable?
A: The CBC will be honored for the student's entire length of study so long as the student remains continuously enrolled at the school. Students re-entering the school after a withdrawal are required to submit a new CBC.
Q: Will this CBC fulfill any background check requirements that a practicum or internship may require of me in the future?
A: The CBC required by The Chicago School may fulfill CBC requirements of its training and educational partner agencies, though such agencies, of course, reserve the right to require their own background check as well as additional screenings not covered in this CBC (e.g., drug testing, driving history). After completing the CBC, students will receive information that can be presented to training sites or employers with information that, along with a personal code provided directly by the student, will allow the person checking to access the student's results.
Q: What will the CBC check?
A: The CBC will search complete residency history, criminal history in all states and/or counties of residency, and the national sex offender registry. CBC results include only your residency history and any history of criminal charges. They will not include your credit score or credit history.
Q: I'm an international student. Do I need to follow this policy?
A: Yes. Even if a student does not have a social security number, the CBC will effectively search criminal records based on other information provided to the vendor. Students who do not have a social security number should enter "000-00-0000" in that field. Students currently or formerly residing outside the U.S. are not required to pay for additional background checks in these countries.
Q: Who gets access to the results, and are they confidential?
A: The CBC vendor agency will provide a confidential, secure, and restricted summary report to limited Chicago School designated officials for each student. The results and records are subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulation and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). As such, the school will only disclose the information to persons directly involved in evaluating the student's situation on a strict need to know basis, and the vendor will notify students of any adverse finding. Copies will be stored with the vendor and not kept in the student's academic file.
Q: Can a student contest the results?
A: Yes, but a student may be removed from education or training activities until the matter is resolved. The vendor will conduct a more in-depth search upon students' request if the claim appears legitimate.
Q: What type of convictions may lead to a denied admission or dismissal?
A: The convictions of interest to the institution are felonies, especially those of a sexual or violent nature. Crimes leading to automatic dismissal include but are not limited to:
1. Sex Offender Felonies
- Indecent solicitation of a child
- Sexual exploitation of a child
- Custodial sexual misconduct
- Exploitation of a child
- Child pornography
1. Violent Felonies
- First and second degree murder
- Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child
- Criminal sexual assault
- Aggravated criminal sexual assault
- Aggravated arson
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement
Q: Could I be dismissed for other serious convictions on my record?
A: Yes. An offer of admission or permission to continue enrollment may be reversed if the CBC results are incompatible with eligibility to meet relevant degree, licensure, or certification requirements or if they increase physical or reputational risks to the school and its inhabitants and/or partner agencies and the people with whom they work.
Q: Can other actions be taken for less serious convictions?
A: Yes, every situation is different. Sometimes, for example, students may be required to participate in a non-disciplinary Academic Development Plan (ADP) depending upon each person's history and circumstances.
Q: Who makes the decision regarding what happens to a student with adverse CBC results?
A: The designated contacts will refer cases involving previous, less serious criminal convictions to the Office of Compliance and Legal Affairs initially for review, and then to the student's academic department. The department will evaluate each situation on a case-by-case basis.
Q: What will the school consider when reviewing cases involving adverse CBC results?
A: In reviewing the CBC report and any supplementary information submitted, the following factors may be considered towards the conviction(s): the nature, seriousness, and circumstances of the conviction, the relationship between the duties to be performed as part of the educational program and the offense committed, the age of the person when the offense occurred and the time that has passed since the conviction, whether the offense was an isolated or repeated incident, past employment and history of academic or disciplinary conduct, evidence of successful rehabilitation, and the accuracy of the information provided by the student in the application and review process.
Q: Who do I contact if I have additional questions about the CBC policy or process?
A: Betsy Hannula (firstname.lastname@example.org)