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Student Background Check Program

Vanderbilt University is a center for scholarly research, informed and creative teaching, and service to the community and society at large. As participants in University-approved academic and co-curricular activities, our students may be required to undergo a background clearance before interacting with minors or other vulnerable populations in compliance with the Protection of Minors policy, course prerequisites, or other stipulations.

If a background clearance is needed, or if you would like to request one on behalf of the students in your organization or program, you must submit a Background Check Request Form a minimum of three weeks before the start of your course, event, or program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who needs a background check?

Background checks may be required for participation in activities that involve interactions with minors or other vulnerable populations. These requirements may be determined by the Office of the Dean of Students, the Office of Risk and Insurance Management, or an academic unit. To determine if participants in your event or program need to complete a background check, contact (for activities led by students) or (for activities led by faculty or staff).

I am participating individually in an internship, volunteer opportunity, or other activity and they have asked for a background check. Can I go through this process?

This process is designed for students participating in University-approved academic and co-curricular activities and cannot be used for events or programs not affiliated with Vanderbilt. All requests will be reviewed by Student Accountability, Community Standards & Academic Integrity (Student Accountability) and submission of the Background Check Request Form does not guarantee that a background check will be completed.

How will I know if my request has been approved?

Student Accountability will contact the individual who submitted the request with information about next steps and/or requests for more information as needed.

Who completes the background check?

While Student Accountability facilitates the background check program for students, the checks are conducted by CastleBranch, an outside vendor.

How long does a background check take?

Because the background check is completed by an outside vender, the time to process results may vary for each individual and Vanderbilt University has no control over the timeline for receiving results. We encourage students going through the process to monitor their Vanderbilt email address for messages from and and respond to all communications as soon as possible.

Who sees the results of my background check?

Student Accountability, Human Resources, and relevant University personnel will have access the detailed results of background checks completed through the University’s process. General information about background checks may be shared with outside parties if a student gives the University permission to disclose information.

What happens if something is flagged in my background check?

If a student’s background check reveals an incident, the Dean of Students (or their designee) will review the available information and will determine next steps. Depending on the nature and severity of the flag, next steps may include meeting with the student to gather more information or reviewing eligibility for participation in the activity.

Will anyone outside of the University be given my background check results?

If the student needs information disclosed to an outside party, the student can submit a Background Check Release Authorization form which gives the University permission to disclose information to an outside party. The information disclosed will typically include that a background check was completed, when the check was completed, and if the check met the standards of the University.

How often do I need to complete a background check?

Background checks on file with the University are valid for four years after the date of an event or program. To determine if you currently have a background check on file, visit or contact

I am a student leader, faculty member, or a program manager. How do I know if the people in my organization or group need a background check?

If you are part of a student organization, register your event and update your roster on Anchor Link. If you are a faculty member or program manager for an academic course or co-curricular program, register your event on the Protection of Minors Web Application. Once you have provided this information, the Office of Student Accountability will review your submission to determine who in your group needs to get a background check on file with the University.

Do I need to complete a Background Check Request Form for each person in my group or organization?

The Background Check Request Form allows for the submission of multiple students at once.

What if there is a change with the people in my group or organization after I’ve submitted my request?

If there are any changes to the participants in your group or organization (i.e., there are new additions or there are individuals who are no longer participating), please contact to notify them of the change so they can update their records accordingly.

Who do I contact if my question that is not answered here?

For additional information, contact