A college campus is a dynamic, exciting place with a vibe that oozes youth energy, education, and endless opportunities. Unfortunately, that same location has now become a place that can contain aggression, threat, and fear. It is well known that today's college campuses are quite different than those from even a decade ago. Student safety and concerns over rising crime penetrates the once mostly positive atmosphere.
While admission background checks used to be unheard of, they are becoming more readily used as a tool to ensure student and faculty safety. For common types and costs of criminal background checks, click here to download our recommended criminal research guide. With shootings at Virginia Tech, Lone Star College, and several other locations your college or university may be starting to reevaluate your current admission practices. According to the FBI, there are more than 50 million students in attendance at more than 90,000 institutions in our Nation. With crimes ranging from simple assault to abduction, and even manslaughter, it is important to understand how a student background check can benefit your educational institution.
While student safety is always a top priority at any university, the following benefits to conducting a student background check may be ones that your institution hasn't thought of:
Benefits to an On-Campus Student Background Check
Retention - Think Progress reports that nearly half of all college students dropout before receiving their degree. While there are various reasons why students leave school, fears and safety concerns are starting to climb the list, just behind financial and family obligations. Creating a safer environment will help reduce the amount of students that leave your institution.
Faculty - While student safety is a major concern, so is faculty safety. Recruiting and retaining the top professionals takes many things, and providing a safe atmosphere is one that is mentioned among teachers and staff everywhere. Simply put, why would a professor want to teach at a school that is known for rising rates of crime and violence when they can come and teach at your college where safety practices are already in place? That's right, they wouldn't.
Parents - Selecting a college is one of the last decisions that a parent helps their child make. While it has long been thought that a student background check policy would discourage students from applying, we believe that the opposite is true. While students are living outside of their parents house, Mom and Dad want to make sure that all of their child's needs, including safety, are being met. Schools that have advanced safety precautions, including admission background checks, in place are possibly attracting attention from more parents instead of less.
Resident Assistants - The safety and care of all students in a resident hall is placed directly on the shoulders of the residential assistant. Is it just a coincidence that these positions are often the last filled and have a higher turnover rate? Background checks are common for students that live off campus. That is not true, however, for students that reside in dorms. While requiring a student background check of all students that live on campus will not alleviate all safety incidents and concerns, it does help to prevent the attendance of students that have a history of crime and violence. Creating a safer environment is conducive to hiring and retaining quality residential assistants.
Protecting Your Reputation - In addition to keeping campuses safer, it has been suggested that conducting background checks helps to protect the reputation of a college or university. It also offers protection against law suits and legal action that can arise from crimes that occur on campus. Is your college or university currently doing everything it can to protect itself and its reputation?
USA Today reports that Catherine Bath, executive director of Security On Campus, states that background checks for students is, "an idea whose time has come." While safety questions have been included on student applications for quite some time, background checks are another story. The 2003 shooting death of basketball player, Patrick Dennehy, has prompted many colleges and universities to begin conducting background checks on their student athletes. Many security professionals believe that extending that to include admission checks for all students isn't far behind.
It is obvious that our campuses are not immune from crime and violence. While it is often the shootings that make the news, other crimes occur everyday on campuses across our Nation. The FBI reports that other crimes such as destruction of property, theft, and arson are also on the rise. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to ensure safety on our campuses. While evaluating your current policies and procedures, consider the benefits of adding background checks as part of the admission process at your school.
Contact us if you would like to learn more about implementing a background screening policy on your college campus. For pricing, product, or policy information, contact us at the link below.