Frequently Asked Questions

  • Background Checks to Protect Minors

    Why is there a change to the University Background Checking Policy requiring additional background checks?

    Act 153, an amendment to PA Title 23: Ch.63: Child Protective Services, was signed into law and effective December 31, 2014. This new law requires employees, contractors, and volunteers within institutions of higher learning to complete ACT 151 PA Child Abuse Registry, ACT 34 PA State Criminal Clearance and Act 114 FBI Federal Criminal Fingerprinting clearance. Please follow this link for further explanation.

    If I or my recent hire had pre-employment background checks completed in 2014 or prior, is only the FBI Fingerprinting Clearance required for 2015?

    All current IUP faculty, staff, student workers, contractors, and volunteers will need to complete all three new required background clearances for 2015 regardless of when your previous pre-employment background check was run through Human Resources. These new clearances include: Act 151 Child Abuse Registry, Act 34 State Criminal Clearance, and Act 114 FBI Fingerprinting Clearance.

    What is the deadline to complete the clearances?

    • For current employees (including current student employees): The deadline is December 31, 2015.
    • For existing volunteers: The deadline is July 1, 2016.
    • For new hires/re-hires: Prior to start, but you may work provisionally for up to 90 days provided all clearances are in progress as verified by HR. HR will verify with the hiring manager/supervisor that background checks are in progress and the employee may begin working. No one can be hired or start to work until HR has verified that all clearances are in progress. 
    • For new volunteers:  As of July 1, 2015, prior to service; however, you may work provisionally for up to 30 days. HR will verify with the hiring manager/supervisor that background checks are in progress and the employee may begin working. No volunteer can start to work until HR has verified that all clearances are in progress. 

    If I received my three required clearances outside of IUP, such as through my church or my child’s school, can I present these to IUP?

    At this time, IUP-HR cannot accept copies or originals of clearances processed for organizations other than for IUP or for another Pennsylvania State System school.

    If you had your clearances processed for employment or related to a academic program requirement at IUP or for another State System school, you can present the clearances if you meet all three criteria listed below:  

    • They are less than three years old.
    • The clearances must be the specific clearances required under this new law. Note: Department of Education FBI fingerprint clearances are not able to be accepted by our IUP-HR, per Pennsylvania State System legal counsel. New fingerprints must be collected with IUP-HR through the Department of Public Welfare.
    • You can provide the original clearance documentation via postal mail or in person to the Office of Human Resources. For clearances processed by another State System school, IUP-HR will work with the sister school to verify results. 

    I am an existing employee or volunteer. How do I know when to complete my clearances?

    Due to the high volume of clearances we need to process, we will not accept walk-ins. We are scheduling by groups, taking into consideration when people will be present on campus. An HR representative will contact you via e-mail when you are scheduled to complete the required clearances. Step-by-step directions will also be provided clarifying the process and your next steps. 

    Who is “Justifacts”?

    Justifacts is IUP’s background checking vendor. Once you receive the initial e-mail from an IUP HR representative alerting you that it is your time to complete the background checks, you will receive a follow-up e-mail from Justifacts.

    The Justifacts e-mails will provide you with the links and payment codes to complete both the Act 151 Child Abuse Registry and Act 34 State Criminal Clearance. Please note: once links are provided, immediate attention is needed, as these links are active for only 72 hours.

    Is my information secure? Who has access to my personal information that I provide as part of the clearance process?

    Justifacts processes your Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Background Check (SP4‐164) and Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance Form (CY‐113) through their secure website. Personal information reported to Justifacts is stored in the Justifacts database—only accessible to IUP-HR, and it is not maintained as part of IUP personnel files.

    COGENT processes your Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Criminal Background Check (Criminal History Report). Personal information is only stored in the secure COGENT database. No personal data is accessible to IUP-HR through COGENT, and it is not maintained as part of IUP personnel files.

    Am I financially responsible for the payment of any clearances?

    No. At this time, the university is covering all background clearance expenses for faculty, staff, student workers, contractors, and volunteers. You will receive payment codes from our background checking vendor Justifacts and for the COGENT website to complete payment.

    Am I able to have a copy of my background clearance results?

    If you’d like to have a hard copy of your Act 151 clearance results, you would need to select “mail me a copy of my results” option when submitting the application online with Justifacts. Due to the volume of applicants we will be processing, IUP HR will not be able to provide you or another employer with hard copies of background clearances. The Act 114 (FBI) and Act 151 (Child Abuse) clearance will be mailed directly to you. 

    What if a reportable offense shows on my background clearance? Will I be fired?

    Each background clearance is reviewed by Human Resources on a case-by-case basis to consider the type of offense, how long ago it happened, and your duties at IUP. In cases where the background investigation will result in an adverse employment or appointment decision:

    • The university will provide a copy of the report to the individual, as well as all required notifications pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act and other applicable laws.
    • The individual must be given a reasonable opportunity (at least five [5] business days) to submit information to the Human Resources designee disputing the accuracy and/or completeness of the report before a final employment or appointment decision can be made. 
    • For current employees, to the extent applicable, the university shall follow the disciplinary processes outlined in relevant Collective Bargaining Agreements (faculty, administrators, or staff) or university or Board of Governors’ policy.

    Is there a Credit Check being conducted as part of the background clearance process with Justifacts?

    The process with Justifacts includes a statement that an applicant going through our background checks is considered a “consumer” under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Individuals going through the background clearance process do have rights as a consumer under the Fair Credit Reporting Act—which includes requesting from our vendor, Justifacts, a copy of your background report, or disputing information in your report. Steps to begin that process can be found towards the bottom of the Justifacts home page.

    You may see references to the Fair Credit Reporting Act in the Justifacts disclosures online, but no credit check will be conducted by IUP, or Justifacts, as part of this process. Only the three checks required by the new law are being performed. 

    What if I know that I have a reportable offense on my background checks or I am arrested or convicted after my checks are completed?

    Related to the protection of minors on campus, all current employees are required to report to the Office of Human Resources if they have been arrested or convicted of crimes enumerated in the Child Protective Services Law, 23 Pa.C.S. §6344(c).

    As of December 31, 2014, employees must contact our Human Resources Office if you have been 1) arrested for or convicted of a reportable offense, or if you have been 2) “founded” or indicated as a perpetrator in a report of child abuse.

    If you are convicted of a reportable offense after you complete background checking, you must provide such written notice to Human Resources within 72 hours of the arrest, conviction, or notification that you have been listed as a perpetrator in the statewide database.

    Failure to make a written notification as required by law could be a misdemeanor of the third degree and could subject you to discipline up to and including termination. Contact our Human Resources Office for more information.

    How can I get a copy of my clearances that I received through IUP?

    IUP-HR is not able to provide copies, but if you would like to request a copy of the two clearances processed through Justifacts (for example, to show to another employer or volunteer organization), please visit the Justifacts website. The FBI results go directly to the address you use when your register on the COGENT site. It would be up to the other organization or employer if they would accept IUP clearances.

    If you would like to request a copy with Justifacts, go to the Justifacts website, then click the “request a copy of report” link shown on the Justifacts main page.

    I'm having a technical issue with the Justifacts site or with the Department of Human Services site. Who should I contact?

    IUP-HR or IUP-IT is not able to offer technical assistance for either Justifacts or the Department of Human Services site.

    If you need technical assistance with the Justifacts links or site, please contact Sarah Trusilo at 412-712-1555 or

    If you need technical assistance with the Department of Human Services site, please contact their HelpDesk at 877-371-5422 or 877-343-0494.

    I can't find the paycode that Justifacts sent me for the Child Abuse Clearance. Who should I contact?

    Please contact Sarah Trusilo at 412-712-1555 or

    I can't find the initial e-mail with the information to get started. Who should I contact?

    Please email Brittany Weaver at to have your e-mail with links or instructions re-sent to you.