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Below are frequently asked questions (FAQ) for background checks conducted by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill).

The University is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for students, faculty, staff, affiliates, visitors, and other constituents and to protecting its funds, property, and other assets. Well-informed appointment decisions facilitate this effort.

Therefore, the University does not employ individuals with prior criminal convictions who pose an unacceptable risk to the University or its students, employees, and visitors. The background check policy establishes procedures for conducting a background check for prospective and current employees/appointees.

The following candidates and appointees are subject to background check requirements prior to their appointment at UNC-Chapel Hill, with some exceptions (see the Policy on Background Checks for Faculty and Non-Faculty Employees, Student Employees, and Affiliates for more information):

  • Subject to the North Carolina Human Resources Act (SHRA): permanent and temporary (full-time or part-time).
  • Faculty: paid permanent and temporary (full-time and part-time) fixed-term, untenured, and tenured faculty as well as unpaid adjunct.
  • Exempt from the North Carolina Human Resources Act (EHRA) Non-Faculty: permanent and temporary (full-time or part-time).
  • Post-Doctoral Fellows, Medical Fellows, and Chief Medical Residents.
  • UNC-Chapel Hill Independent Contractors (see the Independent Contractor Policy for more information).
  • Unpaid Volunteers, Interns, and Visiting Scholars (see the Policy on Unpaid Volunteers, Interns, and Visiting Scholars for more information).
  • Individuals who have contact with minors (see the Protection of Minors standard for more information).
  • Individuals who work with Centers for Disease Control (CDC)/United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Select Agents: individuals covered by regulations related to access or use of chemical or biological agents, as determined by the University’s Department of Environment Health & Safety prior to hire and periodically thereafter as required by regulations. (see the UNC-Chapel Hill Biological Safety Manual – Chapter 14: Select Agents and Toxins for more information).
A candidate/appointee who is a minor is not required to complete a background check. The background check initiator must submit a Special Request for UNC Police and Minor Temporary Candidate Person ID Number (PID) Creation form to request a Person ID (PID) for a candidate/appointee who is a minor.

SHRA employees who are promoted and transfer to a new position of a different appointment type (i.e., SHRA to EHRA or EHRA to SHRA) must have a new background check. EHRA Non-Faculty employees who are making a job change to a new position, either through competitive recruitment or a waiver of recruitment from the Equal Opportunity and Compliance (EOC) Office, must also have a new background check. Faculty must have a new background check when they are promoted conferring tenure and when there is a temporary to permanent job change. For more information, refer to the Background Check Policy and Background Check Policy Supplemental Procedures for more information.

If a background check was completed within twelve (12) months of the job change effective date, the results may be used for the subsequent position or appointment if the results meet the criteria of the new position. If it does not meet the criteria for the new position, additional background check components or a new background check may be required.

The Background Check Supervisor or Background Check Consultant, in consultation with the respective central office (e.g., Employment, EHRA Human Resources, etc.), will assess whether or not the previous background check results are valid based on the requirements of the new position/appointment. Once the results are evaluated, the Background Check Unit will communicate the results to the background check initiator.

Yes. If the individual has no Social Security Number (SSN), the candidate/appointee must indicate YES for the field “International no SSN” on the background check candidate questionnaire.

A candidate/appointee who has a Social Security Number (SSN) is required to provide their SSN for the University to conduct the background check. Failure to provide a SSN may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

A background check is not required for UNC-Chapel Hill students if their employment is “incidental to” their primary role as a student – such as UNC Student Assistants, graduate assistants, or work-study students if they do not have contact with minors and/or sensitive populations. A background check is required for UNC-Chapel Hill students such as Resident Advisors who have contact with minors and/or sensitive populations.

A background check is required If a UNC-Chapel Hill student is enrolled or falls below less than half-time (less than 6 undergraduate credit hours or 3 graduate credit hours), graduates or does not re-enroll and the department wishes to continue their employment, the temporary “UNC Student Assistant” appointment must be terminated, and they must be hired as a “Regular Temporary” employee.

A background check is required if an individual whose primary purpose for being at UNC-Chapel Hill is to work as a temporary or permanent employee — even if they are registered for one or more classes, has a student status that is “incidental to” their employment. Therefore, they are considered an “employee” rather than a “student.”

Yes. Any candidate/appointee who is currently employed/appointed at another State agency or university must have a background check completed by UNC-Chapel Hill. A background check conducted by another employer or entity is not accepted.

The following background check components will be conducted:

  • a residency history and social security trace (includes Social Security Administration Death Master File search); and
  • criminal convictions check for all municipal and state jurisdictions in which the covered individual has lived or worked within the last seven (7) years (results reported by the consumer reporting agency beyond this time frame may be considered); and
  • criminal convictions check of federal court records; and
  • a national sex-offender registry check; and
  • a check of applicable federal debarment databases (System for Award Management and Office of Inspector General) for covered individuals in paid appointments
  • an education credential verification in all cases; and
  • a professional license verification for any covered individual whose position requires a professional license (if applicable); and
  • a driver’s license record verification of applicable state motor-vehicle licensing agencies for any covered individual whose formal duties include driving (if applicable)
A driver’s license record check is required for any candidate/appointee whose formal duties include driving.

Yes. Consistent with federal and state laws, a candidate/appointee must give permission for UNC-Chapel Hill to conduct a background check by electronically acknowledging and signing the Application for Employment, Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation and Acknowledgment and Authorization for Background Investigation. If a candidate/appointee declines to give permission, a background check will not be conducted. Since a background check is a requirement for employment or appointment, candidates/appointees who decline to give permission for the background check cannot be employed or appointed by the University.

The University uses a secure, web-based system to initiate and conduct background checks. When a background check is required, the background check initiator in the appointing department submits a request for a background check by completing a Background Check ePAR. The candidate/appointee will receive an email requesting that they create a Guest ID (if applicable) and log in to ConnectCarolina to complete the online background check questionnaire.

When adverse results are reported on a background check, the Background Check Unit conducts an individualized assessment and assesses each conviction/driving infraction. If a candidate/appointee may be disqualified, based wholly or in part, due to the results of a background check, the candidate is notified in writing by email before any adverse action is taken. The pre-adverse notification includes the following:

The candidate/appointee is given five (5) business days after receipt of the pre-adverse notification to provide a written explanation regarding the adverse results in question and/or challenge the accuracy of the results with the consumer reporting agency.

After five (5) business days, if a candidate/appointee will not be employed, wholly or in part, due to the results of the background check, then the Background Check Unit will notify the candidate/appointee of the decision by providing a final adverse action notification in writing by email within three (3) business of taking an adverse action, consistent with federal requirements. Refer to the Background Check Policy and Background Check Policy Supplemental Procedures for more details.

No, previous criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify an applicant or candidate/appointee from consideration for employment/appointment. Eligibility depends on a variety of factors including the nature of, and circumstances surrounding, the crime; time elapsed since the conviction; pattern of offenses; rehabilitation record; actions and activities of the individual since the crime (including their work history); truthfulness and completeness of the candidate/appointee in disclosing the conviction; and the relevance of the conviction to the job.

Current employees and affiliates have a duty to report any convictions that have occurred subsequent to and following commencement of service to the University under Reporting of Criminal Convictions for Current Staff, Non-Faculty and Faculty Employees, Student Employees and Affiliates.
Appropriate action will be taken, up to and including dismissal, if a current employee or affiliate is discovered to have:

  • falsified information on current or previous applications; and/or
  • failed to disclose convictions following the previous hire/appointment; and/or
  • the results of the background check are relevant to their current duties

A candidate/appointee must disclose all names/aliases used and addresses where they have lived since the age of eighteen (18). The candidate/appointee must also disclose all non-expunged criminal convictions and serious driving infractions including guilty pleas, guilty verdicts, prayers for judgment (PJC), and non-contested charges. Reportable convictions include not just “serving jail time,” but also paying fines or restitution. Examples: driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), worthless checks, violations of local ordinances or state laws that result in fines, misdemeanors, felonies, etc.. North Carolina State law allows the candidate/appointee to not refer to any arrest, charge, or conviction that has been expunged from their record.

A candidate/appointee must list all convictions, even if they think the conviction or incident was minor. If a candidate/appointee is unsure of their criminal conviction record, they may obtain a copy of their criminal record from the appropriate county courthouse (such as the Wake County Courthouse). A candidate/appointee may obtain a copy of their driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Falsification, including misrepresentation or a failure to disclose information (omission), may disqualify a candidate/appointee from employment/appointment regardless of whether the falsification was intentional or not. Current employees and affiliates may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

The Office of Human Resources Background Check Unit notifies the appointing department when the background check is completed and provides a Background Check Results Summary.

If the background check includes adverse results, the Background Check Unit consults with the appointing department head and/or the school’s or division’s Human Resources Officer, secondary contact, or the Human Resources Officer’s designee. This may include requesting additional information from a candidate/appointee regarding convictions reported, depending on the type of position/appointment for which a candidate/appointee is being considered for.

A candidate/appointee is not provided with a copy of their background check results unless they make a records request.

A candidate/appointee may request a copy of their background check results by submitting a request to the background check vendor, InfoMart or by contacting the Background Check Unit at 919-962-5742 or

For current employees, the employee may request a copy through the Office of Human Resources Records & Information unit.

The appointing department is responsible for the cost of a background check, which includes an administrative and vendor cost (package, New York statewide, DMV, degree professional license) that is passed directly through to the department. The background check is conducted at no cost to the candidate/appointee.

The current price list for background checks is available here. Currently, prices vary depending upon the components included in the check.

The Finance & Accounting division has advised that departments charge the background check cost to funds that match the position’s funding. For example:

  • If a position is primarily funded by state monies, then the background fee can be charged to a State account.
  • If a position is primarily contract or grant funded, the background check fee can be charged to a grant account. However, the department must do the following:
    • Use one of the specific Chartfield Fund codes associated with the contract or grant.
    • Provide the corresponding project ID (Fund codes beginning with 252XX must be accompanied by the corresponding project ID).
  • If a department has other funds, then those funds may be used for background check fees.

The University uses a web-based system to initiate and conduct background checks. If a background check is required, the appointing department’s background check initiator requests a background check by completing a Background Check ePAR.

Campus background check initiators must be a permanent HR Representative (complex HR user) or select business office user (e.g., an individual who is responsible for managing the background check process for UNC independent contractors). User access requests for temporary employees or basic HR users will be denied (even if they were designated by the department’s HR Officer or Business Manager).

Department representatives seeking access to the background check system must submit a signed Request for HR Systems Access Form to their department Access Request Coordinator (ARC). You can find the name of your ARC here.

No. To ensure confidentiality, departments do not receive a copy of the background check results. However, they will be able to view a Background Check Results Summary in ConnectCarolina. The summary indicates if the background check is complete and either “clear” or “not clear.” The background check results summary also contains other key information needed for the appointing department to complete the hire/appointment actions.

If the background check results confirm that there are no convictions and it is deemed to be “clear,” the appointing department should contact the respective Talent Acquisition Partner or EHRA HR Consultant to determine next steps including when to finalize the offer of employment and establish a start date.

The Office of Human Resources strives to notify appointing departments of clear background check results (i.e., those that contain no adverse results) within seven (7) business days after the background check is initiated. This time frame may be exceeded, however, depending upon the number of names of record, number and location of out-of-state jurisdictions that need to be checked and/or adverse results.

An order status of “completed” indicates that the background check has been completed by the University’s background check vendor and the results are being assessed by the Background Check Unit.

Once the background check results have been assessed, the Background Check Unit makes a determination (in the case of adverse results, in consultation with the appointing department head and/or the school’s or division’s Human Resources Officer, secondary contact or the Human Resources Officer’s designee) and indicates the following in the Final Results field on the Background Check Results Summary: “Clear,” “Not Clear” or “Cleared without Driving Privileges.”

  • “Clear” indicates that the background check has been cleared and the department can proceed with the next steps in the hiring/appointment process.
  • “Clear without driving privileges” indicates that the background check has been cleared; however, the candidate/appointee is not authorized to drive if driving is an essential function of their duties.
  • “Not clear” indicates that the background check has not been cleared and they are barred from appointment.

A package of “BGC Not Needed” is selected when a background check is not required to complete the background check ePAR. If a background check has been completed within the last twelve (12) months that meets the new position/appointment criteria, the Background Check Results Summary will be completed and the ePAR executed.

  • If a candidate/appointee encounters a technical issue with the background check, they can contact the Background Check Unit directly for assistance.
  • Background check initiators or others who have access can submit a help ticket to the UNC Chapel Hill Help Portal to request assistance.
  • Candidates/Appointees can refer to the candidate/appointee guide for step-by-step guidance on completing the background check questionnaire.

If you have questions about the background check policy or procedures, contact the Background Check Unit as follows:

Office of Human Resources Background Check Unit
104 Airport Dr., Suite 1100, Campus Box #1045
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Background Check Hotline: (919) 962-5742