Gold Card/Background Check
The Gold Card serves as documentation that you have met all admission requirements and have been officially admitted to the teacher education program at Southern Miss. When applying for the Gold Card, each student undergoes a background check. Students who pass the background checking process are issued a background check badge and considered eligible for admission to teacher education pending satisfaction of other admission requirements.
Teacher candidates issued Gold Cards prior to fall 2009 and currently enrolled in Southern Miss teacher education programs, as well as Southern Miss students enrolled in teacher education field or clinical experiences that do not require a Gold Card, also undergo a background check as part of University policy.
Background Check Process
It is crucial for students to initiate the background check process no later than the first week of the semester. Because it takes approximately one week to receive background check results, waiting later may necessitate dropping classes that require a background check. Effective fall 2013, no background check requests will be processed after the first week of the semester.
To initiate and complete the background check process, students should:
1. Go to www.certifiedbackground.com and click on "Students."
2. Enter package code UA23 in the package code box. (This is the code for USM.)
3. Enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when prompted to do so. The PIN is the Southern Miss emplid (a 6-digit number without the "w" in front.)
4. Follow the online instructions to complete the request for a background check. (Students will be asked to provide social security number, date of birth, gender, race, and residency history.)
5. Watch for mail from Certified Background (rather than USM) with results from the background check. Students should alert their parents if a permanent address was provided for correspondence.
The student's account at The University of Southern Mississippi will be charged $42 for the background check process. This price includes a residency history check; nationwide criminal database check, including nationwide sex offender check; seven year all-county criminal search; and a certified background student badge indicating that the background check has been passed. The badge is valid as long as the student is enrolled at USM.
Replacement Background Check Badges
Effective fall 2012, Certified Background will issue replacement badges for only 30 days after the badge is mailed. After 30 days, students must complete and pay for the background check process again.
Some students may have completed the background check process for other USM classes. If a student can produce a background check badge, there is no need to complete a second background check.
Some students may have completed the background check process as a part of their employment. Those students can fax a copy of a current background check to 601-266-5471, and the University will verify that it meets requirements.
Please contact Sheri Dann for questions about Gold Cards or background checks.