How to Request a Background Check

The university requires a criminal background check, including a sex offender registry check, on applicants for employment, current employees, and university affiliates as required by university policy and state and federal requirements. The type of check performed will vary according to the position. The reference chart provided below can help you determine which type of background check is required.

When is a Background Check Required?

This is a brief summary of the background check requirements. For detailed explanation of the requirements, see the information below or refer to the university policy.

A criminal history background check is required when:

  • An applicant (finalist) or current employee has no background check on file.
  • A current employee applies for a position and the check on file is more than 12 months old.
  • A former employee has a break in service of more than 6 months, no matter how old the previous check on file.
  • A former employee has a break in service of less than 6 months, but the previous check is more than 12 months old.
  • A current employee moves to a new position and the previous check was with different College, Dean, or VP unit.
  • A current or former employee moves to a position requiring a vendor check and there is no vendor check on file.
  • A student employee is not enrolled in each long semester or has a background check that is more than 60 months old.
  • A student employee moves to a non-student position.

Applicant

You must request a criminal background check on any applicant(s) or finalist for a position prior to hire. This includes:

  • Student, faculty, classified and administrative/professional (A&P), and casual employee positions
  • Paid or unpaid affiliated positions which
    • Require patient care
    • Child care or contact with minors
    • Direct access to information resources or information resource technologies
    • Access to pharmaceuticals, controlled substances, cash, checks, or credit cards.
  • Current employees when applying to another position at the university
    • If the previous check did not include all of the checks required for the new position
    • If the current employee is applying to a position that is in a different dean or vice president’s portfolio, and the previous check was performed more than a year ago.

All required checks must be complete before the employee begins work.

Current Employee

When applying to a position at the university, current employees are subject to the same requirements as other applicants. You must request a new background check when:

  • A current employee is moving to a new position under a different dean or vice president, and the previous background check is more than one year old
  • An employee returns to employment after a break in service of six months or longer
  • An employee returns after a break of fewer than six months, if the background check on file was performed more than one year ago
  • The background check on file did not include all of the required types of checks.

HR Contacts or HR Contact Delegates can search the background check history for a current or previous employee under the Utilities tab of the Background Check Administration (BCA) system.

An HR Contact or HR Contact Delegate for the hiring department creates a request in Background Check Administration (BCA) system and asks the applicant to authorize the background check. Once the background check request has been authorized, Human Resources will request the applicant’s official criminal record, and will contact the hiring department once the official record has been reviewed.

Online Request and Authorization

An HR Contact or HR Contact Delegate uses online Background Check Administration (BCA) system to initiate the check and invites the applicant or employee to authorize the check. The employee will receive an email with a link to the online system.

Paper Authorization Form

If the applicant or employee prefers not to provide the information electronically, they may download and complete the Criminal Background Check Form (PDF). An HR Contact or Delegate can then enter the request and the authorization into Background Check Administration system.

For more information about the Background Check Administration system, download the BCA Overview (PDF).

Criminal History Review

The hiring department may review any criminal history that was disclosed by the applicant and take any relevant criminal history into consideration in the hiring decision. However, the applicant should not be excluded until the official criminal record has been requested and reviewed by Human Resources. Human Resources will review any information found on the official criminal record, and communicate the findings to the hiring department.

Relevance to Job Requirements

Conviction information must be considered on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration the type and severity of the offense, the time passed since the offense, and whether the offense is relevant to the duties of the position. An individual cannot automatically be excluded from hire because he or she has a previous conviction.

Please refer to the page Review Criminal History and Relevance to Job Requirements for detailed information before disqualifying a candidate based upon criminal history.

Verifying Applicant Identity

A representative of the hiring department must verify the identity of the applicant before a background check can be requested. Normally this is done by viewing a photo ID provided by the applicant. If the applicant is not able to provide the verification in person, ask the applicant to complete an Applicant Identification and Verification Form (PDF).

This step is required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and is intended to prevent the release of information unless it has been authorized by the individual.

Address Discrepancies

The University complies with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations, 16 CFR Part 681. If the University is notified of an address discrepancy during the course of a criminal background check, the University will follow FTC guidelines.

Cost and Type of Background Check Required

Sex Offender Registry

All criminal history background checks will include a search of the National Sex Offender Registry database.

Texas DPS

If the applicant or employee has lived only in the State of Texas within the past seven years, the criminal history check will be through the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

National (Vendor) Check

The hiring department may request a vendor check for any hire, even if it is not required. The vendor will collect information for the State of Texas and any other state in which the person resided. A vendor check is required:

  • If the person has lived outside of the State of Texas within the past seven years, a national check through the vendor is required
  • If the person is age 25 or younger, the vendor check is required if the person has lived outside of Texas at any time since age 17
  • For all faculty, Administrative and Professional (A&P, code 1000), and other specific positions.

See the reference chart below to determine which type of check will be conducted.

Cost

The cost of the background check will be billed to the hiring department.

  • State of Texas (DPS) check: $6.50
  • National Sex Offender Registry check: $4.00
  • Vendor check, which includes Sex Offender Registry check: $35.00, plus any additional charges from the states or agencies that provide information

Youth Camps and Child Care Facilities

Below is a summary of the requirements for Youth Camps and Child Care Facilities. For detailed explanation of the requirements, refer to the university policy.

Background Checks for Youth Camps

Operators of youth camps must ensure all employees, volunteers and student observers, who will regularly or frequently be at the camp, undergo a criminal background check. Volunteers and student observers who are not subject to a check must not have unsupervised access to campers. A new background check is required each year.

International background check through the vendor may be needed if the worker has resided outside of the United States at some time since age 14.

Child Protection Training for Youth Camps

All employees, volunteers, and personnel of a youth camp or program for minors are required to undergo training and examination to enhance their sensitivity to the warning signs of sexual abuse and child molestation as stated in Texas Education Code, Section 51.976.

The training and examination program is required for camps/programs for minors that meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Held on the UT Austin campus OR operated by UT Austin anywhere;
  • Have recreational, athletic, religious, or educational activities for the campers/participants; and
  • Have campers/participants who are minors (under the age of 18) and are not employees of UT Austin.

For more information, refer to the Youth Protection Program website.

Background Checks for Child Care Facilities

Child-care facilities must ensure criminal background checks are conducted prior to permitting the individual to work, assist, or be present at the facility and at least every two years thereafter for:

The facility will use the following sources in conducting a background check:

  • The Texas DPS name-based criminal background check
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint-based criminal background check
  • A Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) central registry check
  • A sex offender registration check
  • An appropriate national or international vendor check for anyone who has lived outside the state of Texas since the age of 17.

Optional Background Check Services

Human Resources can help verify your applicant’s employment history and education. To request this service, the hiring department should create a request in the Background Check Administration (BCA) and fax a Background Check Request for Education and Employment Verification form to Human Resources. Indicate on the request form which verification is needed.

Employment Verification

Employment Verification includes verification of employment dates, title, and salary information at up to three previous employers (within the past seven years).

Education Verification

Education Verification includes verification of degree(s), licensure(s), or certification(s).

Cost

The cost of verifying education and employment information will be the vendor’s standard rate plus any fees charged by the agencies who provide the information.

  • Education $11.55 per degree
  • Employment $11.55 per employer
  • Plus any additional charges from the states or agencies that provide information.

Background Check Reference Chart

A National Sex Offender Registry check is always required and will automatically be performed with any criminal history background check.

*If the applicant or employee has lived outside the State of Texas in the past 7 years, a vendor check is required. If the applicant / employee is age 25 or younger, a vendor check is required if residing outside Texas at any time since age 17.

Position Type of Check(s) Required
Classified Texas DPS*
A&P or code 1000 Vendor
Faculty Vendor
Student Texas DPS*
Casual Employee Texas DPS or Vendor
Youth Camp Employee or Volunteer Texas DPS*
Child Care Facility Worker Texas DPS*, FBI, DFPS
Employee of UT Affiliated Organization (if designated security sensitive in HRMS) Texas DPS*
Adjunct/Clinical Worker (follows faculty requirements) Vendor
Independent Contractor (if designated security sensitive in HRMS) Vendor
Employee of Contractor (if designated security sensitive in HRMS) Texas DPS*
Employee of Governmental Agency Texas DPS*
Visiting Researcher/Scholar (follows faculty requirements) Vendor
Research Affiliate (follows faculty requirements) Vendor
Visiting Student Worker (if designated security sensitive in HRMS) Texas DPS*
Volunteer (if designated security sensitive in HRMS) Texas DPS*
Visitors (if required by law) Texas DPS*
Other University Affiliated Position (if designated security sensitive) Texas DPS*

If you have any questions regarding background checks you may contact the Human Resource Service Center.