Hamilton College must abide by the United States Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008, Public Law 110-315, that requires the verification of student identity in distance or correspondence education.


Hamilton College needs to establish and periodically review a process to determine that a student registered for a course is the same student that participates in, completes, and receives credit for the course. Students seeking registration in online courses will be required to provide appropriate identification to establish their identity.


This policy applies to all credit-bearing distance education courses and programs offered by Hamilton College.


The purpose of this policy is to ensure that Hamilton College operates in compliance with the provisions of the United States Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) concerning the verification of student identity in distance education.

All credit-bearing courses and programs offered via online education methods must verify that the student who registers for a distance education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives academic credit. According to the HEOA, one or more of the following methods must be used:

  1. An individual secure login and password issued by the College
  2. Proctored examinations, and/or
  3. Other technologies or practices that are effective in verifying student identification.

Any online student work, assessments or activities that are graded or contribute to a student’s grade must be submitted via a system that verifies the student’s identity as noted above.

All methods of verifying student identity in distance education must protect the privacy of student information.

Secure Login and Password: Each Hamilton College student is assigned a unique username and password to log into the College’s learning management system (currently Blackboard) or other online education service. Students are responsible for providing their complete and true identity information in any identification verification process.

Responsibilities: All users of the College are responsible for maintaining the security of usernames, passwords, and other access credentials as required. An account is given to an individual for the exclusive use by that individual. Attempting to discover another user’s password or attempts to gain unauthorized access to another person’s files or mail is prohibited. It is against College Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources policy for a user to give someone his or her password or allow others to use his or her account. Users are responsible for any and all users of their account. Users are responsible for all activity on their accounts.

Faculty: Faculty teaching courses through distance education methods hold primary 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, faculty members are encouraged to design courses that use assignments and evaluations that support academic integrity.

The Vice President for Academic Affairs is responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy and that deans, department chairs, and program coordinators are informed of any changes in the policy in a timely fashion.

Policy Placement: This policy will be available on the Hamilton College policy page.


Hamilton College may temporarily suspend or block access to any individual or device when it appears necessary to do so in order to protect the integrity, security, or functionality of the institution and computer resources.

Violations of this Policy, or any supporting document, may result in disciplinary action in accordance with Hamilton College policy.

Distance Education Includes online education and correspondence education. This includes courses that are on campus but include a portion of credits completed online.
Online Learning Mediated instruction other than face-to-face instruction that relies on the Internet for part or all of communication, collaboration, interaction, assignment submission and/or assessment for a credit bearing course or program.
Correspondence Education Correspondence education occurs when an institution provides instructional materials, by mail or electronic transmission, including examinations on the materials, to students who are separated from the instructor. Interaction between the instructor and the student is limited, and is primarily initiated by the student; courses are typically self-paced.

Last updated: March 31, 2020
Last Reviewed: March 31, 2020

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