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Identity Verification/Higher Education Opportunity Act

Legal Basis for Identity Verification:

The United States Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), Public Law 110-315 requires our accreditation agency (the MSCHE) to confirm that Penn Highlands Community College has processes in place through which we establish that the student who registers in a distance education or correspondence education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the academic credit.

Penn Highlands meets this requirement as per the Code of Federal Regulations Chapter 34 Section 602.17 Paragraph (g) in that we verify the identity of a student who participates in class or coursework by using a secure login and pass code that grants unique access to the college’s Learning Management System. Additionally, the College makes clear in writing that we use processes that protect student privacy and notify students of any projected additional student charges associated with the verification of student identity at the time of registration or enrollment.

Penn Highland’s Procedures Related to Identity Verification:

Penn Highland’s Acceptable Use Policy explicitly references 34 CFR 602.17(g) and goes on to state, in part, that faculty, staff and students must: "...Access only files and data that are your own, that are publicly available, or to which you have been given authorized access..." and "...Individuals or groups who act in a manner contrary to existing policy and accepted standards for computer use are subject to the sanctions and disciplinary measures normally applied to misconduct or law-breaking..."


Identity Verification

How Identity is Verified:

Verifying the identity of students in our courses and programs is a significant, multifaceted, and ongoing process. Identity verification begins when a student applies for admission to the institution and continues through their graduation, transfer or withdrawal from study. Procedures related to student identity verification include but are not limited to: our registration, advising and transcript procedures and our course management system login and security functions wherein we create a unique username and password for each individual student.

The unique login and password assigned to each student provides for access to all college electronic systems including the myPEAK portal, email, college owned desktop computing devices, and the college’s learning management system (Jenzabar eLearning). The login information along with a code to determine a one-time first-time password is provided to students upon acceptance to the institution. The account must be activated by the student, the password changed, and a 3 question profile set up for future account self-service. All passwords must contain at least 8 characters and are required to meet complexity standards; 3 of 4 character types; lower case, upper case, number, special character. All account passwords expire every 180 days with a 14-day warning. The lifecycle of a student account follows that of the re-admission policy. Once a student does not complete coursework for 2 consecutive semesters the account and all associated data is deleted.

In order to provide service for a network account a student must provide a photo ID or verbally confirm at least 2 private pieces of data to include, but not limited to any personally identifiable information available in the college's student information system (e.g. birthday, last four digits of social security number, system username, student ID number, course schedule information, and etc.). Click here to access more information on student account access and identity verification.

Privacy of Personally Identifiable Information:

Personally identifiable information collected by the college may be used, at the discretion of the institution, as the basis for identity verification. For instance, a student requesting that their learning system password be reset may be asked to provide two or more pieces of information for comparison with data in our records, such as their date of birth and the last four digits of their Social Security Number, or other similar information as determined by college staff members in the performance of their duties.  However, with the exception of established "Directory Information" no such data will be disclosed without the consent of the student.

User Responsibility:

Users with access to the learning management system are responsible for maintaining the security of usernames, passwords and any other access credentials assigned to them. Access credentials may not be shared or given to anyone other than the user to whom they were assigned for any reason.  Users are responsible for any and all use of their account. Penn Highland’s recommends that all users change their password when necessary to maintain security. Failure to read and comply with college guidelines, requirements and regulations will not exempt users from responsibility. It is particularly important that you follow the standards of academic honesty and integrity as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.

Costs to Students:

There is no additional fee associated with online, hybrid or distance education courses. All additional fees to students are listed on the College’s Tuition and Fee Schedule located here.

Academic Integrity:

The Penn Highlands Academic Integrity Policy applies fully to college activities and courses held online, as well as those held on-campus. Students are expected to abide by the standards established for academic integrity in all course sections at the college.

Questions:

Questions regarding this document should be directed to the IT Help Desk.

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