Background Clearances and Building A Safe Penn State

Main Content

The Eberly College of Science's Office of Science Outreach is committed to ensuring the safety of our program participants, our staff and our volunteers.

The Penn State University Clearance Process:


The Eberly College of Science Outreach Office is committed to ensuring the safety of our program participants, our staff, and our volunteers. As a condition of employment with Science-U, individuals must obtain the following publicly available background clearances as required by Pennsylvania state law and Penn State University Human Resources policies. Volunteers who will be having extended contact with you during an outreach program are also required to get these clearances:

  • Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Background Check (SP4-164)
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance Form (CY-113) 
  • Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Background Check (Criminal History Report)  

  • Employment and volunteering with the Eberly College of Science outreach program is contingent upon completion of these clearances and it is suggested that individuals start the process as soon as an offer of employment or volunteer position has been received and accepted.

     

    **NOTE: As of Nov 28th, 2017, the State of Pennsylvania changed the vendor it uses for the FBI fingerprint clearance process. Please consult the updated guidance below before beginning the clearance process!**


    Already Have Your Clearances? 

    • If you have previously completed these three background clearances and need to turn them in for volunteering, please bring the ORIGINAL copies to the Eberly College of Sciences Human Resources Office in 512 Thomas Building to see if they are current and valid. If they are valid, an HR Consultant will make copies to keep on file - make sure to keep your original copies!
    • If you have previously completed these three background clearances and need to turn them in for employment purposes, you will receive an email from PSU HR Shared Services instructing you to bring them in to the HR Shared Service Center (331 Building in Innovation Park.) Once you receive this email, you will take the ORIGINAL copies of your clearances to the HR Shared Service Center for validation and copying. 
      • *Please note that you must have your clearances done for employment in order to use them for employment purposes. If you had your clearances done for volunteering previously and need them now for employment, you will need to reapply for your clearances and select “Employment” as the reason for needing the clearances.
    • Please note that FBI Fingerprint Clearances done through the Department of Education can only be accepted if the fingerprints were completed with the new fingerprint vendor (IDEMIA) in January 2018 or later.
    • If you have any question about whether the clearances are acceptable, please contact the Eberly College of Science Human Resources Office at ecos-hr@psu.edu.

     

    Instructions for Obtaining Clearances: 

    • Click here to find a document of instructions for obtaining these publicly available clearances.
    • As of June 1, 2018, the FBI fingerprint location in State College has changed to 426 S Allen St. The instructions in the link above list this correct address, but if you are referencing an old copy of the clearance instructions you may have the wrong address.
    • Please note that the FBI Fingerprint Clearance results ONLY come via paper mail. They do not send any digital notifications or copies of results. The mailed clearance will be sent to the personal address you list in your application, not your business/work address.
    • Contact outreach@science.psu.edu if you have any questions. 

     

    Clearance Costs and Reimbursement:

    • If you are obtaining these clearances for volunteer purposes, The PA Criminal Background Check and the PA Child Abuse History Clearance Form will be free. Volunteers still have to pay to do the FBI Fingerprint Criminal Background Check, but will be reimbursed if they bring that receipt to Karen in 217 Ritenour Building.
    • If you are obtaining the clearances for paid employment, there is a fee for each of these clearances which must be paid by credit or debit card at the time they are submitted.  The total cost will be $53. Penn State faculty and staff who obtain these clearances for paid employment can get reimbursed if they turn the receipts in to their department’s financial assistant.  For Science-U employees who are not Penn State faculty/staff (e.g., students), this cost will be built into your stipend. Should you receive results that prevent you from working with youth or you do not follow through with the terms of your Employment Agreement, the cost for these clearances will NOT be covered by the Eberly College of Science.

     

    Where to Take Completed Clearances:

    • If you completed the clearances for volunteer (unpaid) purposes: When you have received the results of each of these clearances, take the originals to the Eberly College of Science Human Resources Office in 512 Thomas Building.  A copy of your clearances will be made there and you should keep the originals.
    • If you completed the clearances for employment purposes: You will receive an email from PSU HR Shared Services instructing you to bring them in to the HR Shared Service Center (331 Building in Innovation Park.) Once you receive this email, you will take the ORIGINAL copies of your clearances to the HR Shared Service Center for validation and copying. A copy of your clearances will be made there and you should keep the originals.

     

    Periodic updates or additional background checks:

    • Penn State retains the right to conduct relevant background checks of current employees when it has reasonable grounds to do so, e.g., a workplace incident has occurred, upon self-disclosure of criminal activity or upon the University being informed of such activity, or upon a change of assignment.
    • Science-U employees are required to notify the Eberly College of Science Human Resources representative of an arrest (charged with a misdemeanor or felony) or conviction for an offense enumerated in the Penn State Arrest or Conviction self-disclosure form within 72 hours of knowledge of the arrest or conviction. The Penn State Arrest and Conviction self-disclosure form provides the list of arrests and/or convictions that must be disclosed and this form must be used to provide the information in writing to the appropriate Human Resources representative. Failure to report such incidents may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
    • If you have any questions or concerns about the background check process, please contact the Eberly College of Science Office of Human Resources at (814) 863-6216 or via email at ecos-hr@psu.edu.

     

    Background Clearance Laws

    Effective July 1, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 1276 into law as Act 15 amending PA Title 23: Domestic Relations, Ch.63: Child Protective Services. The Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law requires employees who have contact with children in youth programs sponsored by Penn State to obtain the following background clearances (These clearances are in addition to the standard background check that must be completed by all Penn State employees through the Penn State Office of Human Resources).

    Penn State's "Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse" Training

    This training must be completed by employees each year. (The training certificate expires 365 days after the date the training was completed.) The training must be completed in order to learn how to recognize child abuse and how to properly report child abuse. This is a 1 hour online training. Provided below is a link to instructions for accessing and completing the training. 

    How to Take the Training:

    • Go to the Learning Resource Network (LRN) page at http://lrn.psu.edu/
    • Log in: If you are not a PSU employee, click "Volunteer/Other". You will then be able to login with your existing LRN username/password or create an account. If you are a PSU employee, click "Faculty, Staff, & Wage". You will be able to either login with your PSU Access Account or create an LRN username/password if you do not have an Access Account.  (If this does not work, please see troubleshooting tips below.)
    • Once you have logged in, search for "Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse" in the upper right-hand corner. The training should appear.
    • If you HAVE taken the training in past years, click "Request", NOT "Launch". This will make sure that a new instance of the training opens. If you have NOT taken the training before, simply click "Launch".
    • Once you have completed the training, send your certificate of completion to sciencecamps@science.psu.edu 

    Troubleshooting Tips - Try these if you are having issues accessing the training!
    • If you've already taken the training and need to retake it to get an updated certificate,click "Request" not "Launch".  This will open a new session of the training that will allow you to get an updated 
    •  If you have NOT made an LRN account before: Click 'New Employee' --> 'Create LRN Account'. Fill in the requested info on the next screen. For email, use your PSU email. When finished, click "Login" and you should be able to access the LRN site and search for the "Building a Safer Penn State" training. If you need to leave and log back in later, you should be able to click the "Faculty, Staff, & Wage" login option and then select "Login with Access Account"
    • If you HAVE created an LRN account before and cannot access:  If you were trying to login through the "Faculty, Staff, & Wage" option and are unable to get access when you click "Login with Access Account", try exiting and reopening lrn.psu.edu. Then click the "Volunteer/Other" button, click "Volunteer/Other Login", and then click "Login" by the "Have a Penn State Access Account?" question that appears at bottom right. If the above step does not work, your account may be inactive. Call the Office of Workplace Learning & Performance at 814-865-8216 and ask them to check if your account can be reactivated. (You will likely need to provide your 9-digit PSU ID number.)
    • Call the ITS Help Desk at 814-865-4357 if you continue to have trouble accessing the training. This could mean that there are issues with your LRN account.