Academics

HEOA Identity Verification

The Higher Education Opportunity Act - Identity Verification

Student Identity Verification in Distance Learning and Correspondence Education
The HEOA requires that institutions offering credit-bearing courses and programs offered through distance education or correspondence education to have processes in place to ensure that the student registering for a course is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives academic credit. According to the HEOA, the following are acceptable methods: 

  • A secure login and pass code; 
  • Proctored examinations; 
  • New or other technologies and practices that is effective in verifying student identification.

Secure Login & Pass code
Cumberland County College meets these requirements by assigning a secure login and pass code to each student.  All students registering for a course through our administrative system are assigned unique identification numbers, which correspond with a specific username for each student. This username, generated by the administrative system, is also consistently used by the College Portal, Student Information System, Email, and Learning Management System.

The College's Learning Management System authenticates the username and pass code entered by the student against their assigned username and currently stored pass code each time the student logs on to the Learning Management System to access graded materials, course content, course communications, and the like. Additionally, the Learning Management System allows students to change their pass codes upon their first time access, thereafter; students may modify their pass codes at any time to further protect their identity. Data transmission of login information is secured using standard encryption technology built into the Learning Management System.

Student Verification Protocol
Cumberland uses collected personal information as the basis for identity verification while adhering to FERPA requirements. All users requesting assistance to reset pass codes or to gain access to various systems are asked for two or more types of information to compare against data stored in our administrative system, such as student id, date of birth, last four digits of their Social Security Number, or other similar information that uniquely verifies the user's identity.

  • FERPA - The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides the requirements designed to protect the privacy of students and their records. FERPA protects the access and release of educational records and defines student rights concerning their records. 

    Cumberland will not release any information other than directory information to an unauthorized person without the student’s written consent. At Cumberland, directory information includes the student’s name, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, most previous educational institution attended, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight, height, hometown and high school, if a member of an athletic team. Students may withhold disclosure of their directory information by written notification to the Director of Admissions and Registration.

    Students have the right to access and challenge any part of their educational records. Procedures and student rights for access and release of student records are available in the Admissions and Registration Office and the office of Student Services.

User Responsibility
Users are responsible for maintaining the security of their own usernames and pass codes. Access credentials may not be shared or given to others nor to third-party systems/administrators. The College recommends that all users change their pass codes regularly. More information is available in the Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy.

Fees to Students for Identity Verification
Cumberland's distance learning courses require a $10 per credit fee at the time of registration. This fee is to cover the cost of the utilization of a Learning Management System and other support services of distance learning courses. Cumberland does not have additional charges associated with student identity verification and notifies students of this through the College Portal, College Catalog, and Student Handbook.

Responsible Office(s) for Consistent Application of Student Verification Procedures
The Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Information Technology are jointly responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy and to ensure that deans, department chairs, and program coordinators are informed of any changes in the policy in a timely fashion.

  • Instructor responsibilities -

    Distance learning instructors hold an important responsibility for ensuring that students comply with the College’s identity verification policy. As technology and personal accountability are not absolute in determining a student’s identity, instructors are encouraged to design courses that employ assignments and evaluations that support academic integrity. Sudden changes in student behavior such as a dramatic shift in academic performance or changes in writing style or language used in discussion or email may indicate academic integrity problems.

Higher Education Opportunity Act
For more information review the Higher Education Opportunity Act.