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Criminal Background Checks: Act 153 of PA

Background Check/Clearance Requirements for VU Student Volunteers

In compliance with Act 153 Act, Villanova University requires that employees and volunteers who have direct contact with minors, as defined by law, undergo three criminal background checks/Clearances.  The information provided on this page is applicable to student volunteers only

Questions regarding employment-related checks should be directed to Human Resources.  Please visit the Human Resources website for additional information or contact them via e-mail at

Any Villanova University volunteer who will have direct contact with minors while participating in a Villanova-sponsored or facilitated program or activity designed primarily to serve minors will need to complete three (3) criminal background checks/clearances, except as noted below. Direct volunteer contact is defined as both the care, supervision, guidance, or control of minors and the routine interaction with minors.

Background check/clearance certifications are valid for 60 months from the date issued.  The three criminal background checks obtained as a volunteer can be used at Villanova and other volunteer organizations provided they are valid.  Similarly, background checks/clearances obtained for employment purposes can be used for volunteer positions.

The reverse however is not true.  The law does not allow criminal background checks/clearances obtained as a volunteer to be used for employment purposes.

In addition to the background check/clearances, please note that volunteers must also meet education and training requirements in order to participate in programs and activities involving minors.  Please review the Education section of this website to learn in greater detail about the education and training requirements. 

The following two sections provide more detailed information regarding the three (3) criminal background checks/clearances and instructions on how to obtain them.

Criminal Background Check /Clearances Required Under Act 153 of 2014

Pennsylvania State Police Access to Criminal History (PATCH)

  • Cost: Free
  • Sent: Electronically or mailed if record indicated
  • Timeframe: Immediate to 6 weeks depending on response
  • A volunteer may only receive the PATCH background check/clearance free of charge once every 57 months and only upon online certification of volunteer (unpaid) status.

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance  

  • Cost: Free
  • Sent: Electronically and Mailed (if selected)
  • Timeframe: Up to 14 days from receipt of application
  • A volunteer may only receive the Child Abuse background check/clearance free of charge once every 57 months and only upon online certification of volunteer (unpaid) status.

FBI Fingerprinting

  • Cost: $23.25**
  • Sent: Mailed
  • Timeframe: 2-4 weeks
  • If you have been a continuous resident of Pennsylvania for ten (10) years or more, you do not have to complete the FBI fingerprinting clearance, but instead can submit a signed affidavit affirming that you are not disqualified from service in the program or under Pennsylvania Law.  Please note that off-site programs or activities involving minors may have additional requirements that must be met.

**A volunteer may obtain the FBI clearance at any IdentoGO site of their choosing and will be responsible for the costs associated with the clearance. Villanova University has established a process through its Department of Public Safety (an IdentoGO site since July 2018) wherein it will pre-pay for the clearance on behalf of the student volunteer.  The instructions on how to obtain the FBI clearance through this process are below. 


Student volunteers may complete the following background checks/clearances below on their own or meet with their Program Director to complete. Please note: A volunteer can only receive background check/clearances free of charge once every 57 months.

Pennsylvania State Police Access to Criminal History (PATCH) (

Click on the New Volunteer Record Check button on the main logon page to run your free volunteer check.

  1. Read the online instructions carefully, then mark and accept the Volunteer Acknowledgement Section.
  2. Complete the required information that is marked with an asterisk (*) on the Personal Information screen and click Next.  (VU or home address is acceptable).
  3. Please review your personal information and then select Proceed if correct.
  4. Please complete your personal information again on the Record Request Check Form.  Please note your social security number is not required but is highly recommended.  After completing, select Submit this Request.
  5. On the Record Check Request Review Screen select Submit.
  6. Click on the Control Number.
  7. Scroll down and click on the “Certification Form” near the center of the page.
  8. If the request returns a response of Record, you will not be able to print a certification form.  A record response will be mailed to the address provided.
  9. Please make sure that once you have completed the criminal background check that you print or save the certification form with the logo in the background.  If your PATCH clearance indicates Pending you will need to wait until you receive a confirmation email that the PATCH request has been completed.  Click here for an example of the PA State Police Response for Criminal Record Check.
  10. Please upload a copy of the clearance results to your Personalized URL for further review.  See Uploading Clearance Results for additional instructions.

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance (

  1. Please make sure that you know where you have resided and whom you have resided with since 1975. You will need this information to complete the on-line form.
  2. Please also note that once you go into the site, it will ask you for a Keystone ID. You will need to create this login. It will later ask you to create a password, among a series of security questions.
  3. Click on Create Individual Account.  Select NEXT.
  4. Create a unique Keystone ID and add required personal information and select security questions.  Select NEXT.
  5. Check your email for temporary password and close the browser and sign in again at (
  6. Select Access my Clearances.  Scroll to bottom of screen and select Continue.
  7. Type in Keystone ID and use temporary security password you received in email.
  8. Select your choice to verify your account. Follow directions for verifying.
  9. You will be asked to create a password and Submit.  Please save your Kestone ID and password for future access.
  10. Close browser window and log-in with your new personal password.
  11. Review terms and Conditions and select option.  Select NEXT
  12. Scroll down and select CONTINUE
  13. Click on Create Clearance Application. Read information provided on the screen. At the bottom of the screen select BEGIN.
  14. Please make sure you select VOLUNTEER as the purpose for the application. Select Volunteer Category as Other and Agency Name: Villanova. Go to bottom of the screen and select: Next
  15. Complete the Clearance Application including previous address and people you lived with.
  16. Provide e-Signature information and select Next.
  17. Under Application Payment, “Did organization provide a payment code for your application?”Select No. This clearance is free for volunteers every 57 months.
  18. You will receive an email notification when the results are available.
  19. Click here for an example of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance.
  20. Print or save the results once they are available and upload a copy to your Personalized URL for further review. See Uploading Clearance Results for additional instructions.

FBI Fingerprinting (

If you are volunteering in a program or activity involving the participation of minors that is registered through the University Compliance Office Minors Programs Online Registration System or that is sponsored or officially recognized by Villanova University, the University will cover the cost of obtaining the FBI clearance once during your years as an undergraduate or graduate student.  

Below is the process VU student volunteers will need to follow for Villanova University to cover the associated costs for the FBI clearance check ($23.25).

  1. Student volunteers will be sent the Authorization (Coupon) Code and Site Code from their Program Director via their Personalized URL prior to registering.
  2. The registration process is completed online at
  3. You will be prompted to enter a Service Code to begin enrollment. 
  4. Student volunteers will register under the Department of Human Services (DHS). The Service Code for DHS volunteers is 1KG6ZJ
  5. On the next screen select Schedule or Manage an Appointment.
  6. The next few screens will collect essential information such as name, date of birth, address, etc. You will need to complete all required information. You must indicate you have an Authorization (Coupon) Code. Please note that you are now able to request that your clearance results be mailed to your local address at Villanova University which may expedite your receipt and, in turn, your ability to upload the results via your Personalized URL as explained in the Uploading Clearance Results section below. 
  7. You will be prompted to select a required proof of identification to bring with you when being fingerprinted.  The site will provide a list of acceptable documents.  VU Public Safety has requested that applicants bring a driver’s license or state ID card, if possible.
  8. On the Location selection screen in the "Search for an Enrollment Center by Postal Code, City and State, or Airport Code” field you will enter the Site Code provided to you on your Personalized URL.  Please note that you cannot copy and paste the code into this field. With this code you will be able to walk in (no appointments can be made) to VU Public Safety to have your FBI fingerprints done.
  9. Select the Garey Hall location and click Next.
  10. Enter your Authorization (Coupon) Code and click Next.
  11. On the Appointment Date and Time screen, check the box for Walk In and then Submit.
  12. Please print your Service Summary Report or record your Universal Enrollment Identification number (UEID).  The UEID will assist VU Public Safety in retrieving your registration.
  13. Once the registration is complete you will receive a confirmation email.   
  14. Take the confirmation email or your UEID along with the preferred method of identification you selected during the registration process and your Authorization Code to the VU Department of Public Safety for fingerprinting (24 hours/day; 7 day/week).
  15. The fingerprint scan process takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete and will require your picture to be taken.  
  16. You may have the ability to receive your clearance results electronically, if you provided an email and security questions during the registration process.  Shortly after your  fingerprints have been taken and a result can be provided, you will receive an email which will advise you to click on the link within the email and enter the security question and answer.  This is a one time link only so you must be able to download it, save it and print it for future needs. There will be no second access to this electronic result
  17. Clearance results will also be mailed to you within 7 to 10 days. 
  18. Once the results are obtained via email or electronically you will notice the heading only indicates Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and does not indicate it is an FBI clearance (FBI clearance example).  Need to upload example docs and link
  19. Upload a copy to your Personalized URL for further review and keep the original. 
  20. See section on Uploading Clearance Results for additional instructions.  Please do not upload a copy of your FBI confirmation email or receipt

For printable instructions on registering for the FBI clearances along with screenshots, please click here.

Uploading Clearance Results

There is a new process by which student volunteers will upload their clearances and education and training documents. Once student volunteers have expressed interest in a minors and youth program or activity, the Program Director will initiate the process and the student will receive an email from  This email will provide a broad overview of the five (5) requirements that must be met in order to volunteer with minors as well as provide the student with a unique Personalized URL that will allow them to upload required documents. 

If a volunteer experiences trouble uploading, copies of the clearance results can be delivered in person to the University Compliance Office at 204 Tolentine Hall. If in person delivery is not possible, please contact the University Compliance Office at 610-519-5466 for additional delivery options. 

Questions regarding your Personalized URL can be sent to