How school districts and educational entities use digital signatures

by May 19, 2022Blog, Contracts & Signatures, Education, Solutions

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School districts and educational institutions need to streamline processes to be more effective and efficient. To do so, they must adopt technology that will allow them to operate more efficiently and securely. A common way to streamline processes is to use digital signatures. These are user-generated passwords that are used to access another person’s account. When users create digital signatures, they can use these to access other users’ accounts or records in a secure manner. This article will discuss the use of digital signatures in school districts and educational institutions.

Education and Digital Signing

Create and manage student records

Store signed documents in a central, searchable database.

If you’re currently storing your student records in a filing cabinet, then you know how difficult it can be to locate specific records. With digital signatures, you can create and store all of your student records in a searchable database that allows fast retrieving documents.

Sign student records with digital signatures.

From discipline reports to medical treatment forms, several documents require students’ signatures before they can be processed. In some cases, these documents also require the school principal’s signature or another school official to be considered legally valid. Rather than having students sign these documents by hand and have them approved later, you can send them digitally via email and have every required party sign electronically at the same time—a huge convenience for both students and their parents!

Approve student transcripts with digital signatures.

Transcripts are essential legal documents that validate the completion of specific educational requirements needed for graduation or admission into higher education institutions such as colleges or universities. They are often used as proof of enrollment when applying for financial aid programs like FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Create, execute, and store contracts

All good things come to those who begin, but what happens when your business is a school district? As a nonprofit educational entity with thousands of employees and tens of millions of dollars in assets, you’ve got some big responsibilities. You need to be able to create, execute, store, and archive contracts in the most secure manner possible. That’s where digital signatures can help.

Create:

A contract is created with an electronic signature by entering your company’s name at the top or bottom of the document and clicking “sign” or “enter sign.” This creates a legally binding electronic document that cannot be altered later on.

Execute:

Once both parties have signed your contract, it will then become visible (signed) in the file system. Anyone who wants to access this agreement can simply click on it in their documents folder (depending on where you keep your files). If you want proof that you’ve signed this agreement for future reference, click “edit” next to your company name at the top of the document and click “print.” This ensures that none of your words or changes disappear from this file once printed out (and only one version is stored).

Store:

Storing all these agreements digitally saves tons of space on cell phones, storage systems (iCloud/Dropbox/etc.), and paper contracts that would otherwise be lost if they went missing/erased/were destroyed due to fire/etc.

Sign forms and documents

Many educational institutions have found that signing documents digitally saves time, money, and resources. A digital signature is much faster than printing out a document, signing it in pen, scanning it back into the computer again, and then sending it back to the person who requested the signed document. Digital signatures also reduce costs for paper and ink supplies and lost time waiting for a document to be printed out, signed, and scanned back in. Additionally, digital signatures are more secure because they need a password or other login credentials to verify identity. It’s more difficult for someone else to forge your signature when they don’t have access to your credentials. Finally, digital signatures are more accessible and convenient because they can be sent anywhere by email or other messaging systems – including smartphones!

Approve Invoices

With all the demands on your budget, you need tools that keep spending under control and give you peace of mind. Digital signatures can help in several ways:

  • Better accuracy. It’s hard to count how many times contact information has been confused or written down incorrectly. With digital signatures, contact information is filled in automatically based on what’s already stored in the system—so there’s less chance for error and manual modifications.
  • Improved efficiency. It takes to get a purchase approved can be as quick as minutes with digital signatures. This not only reduces delays but also reduces the cost of approving purchases. And since everything is handled online, you can stay up-to-date even when you’re mobile or away from your desk—so no more missed approvals because someone was out sick or traveling for a meeting!
  • Enhanced security for contracts and other high-value forms that contain sensitive information about students or staff members, such as their social security numbers (SSNs). These types of documents require added layers of security to ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands!

Track signatures

Digital signatures can also help educational institutions track and manage their document workflows. Many providers offer tools to help you:

  • Track who has signed a document and when the signature was added
  • Track who has yet to sign a document
  • Track documents that are pending signatures from specific individuals
  • Create reminders for yourself and others if a document hasn’t been returned by a certain date
  • View the status of any document at any time

Process payments

In most school districts, teachers and administrators work with supply companies, bus companies, cafeteria management firms, and more. Digital signatures can help the process of paying these vendors move along swiftly. When you first send out a contract for payment authorization, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it gets filled out and returned to your office. And once it’s signed by both parties involved in the transaction, you can download it and get started on processing payment right away.

Review materials and curriculum

You can use a digital signature to expedite and streamline the process of reviewing and approving curriculum materials. You can use it to review course content and approve new textbooks if you’re a teacher. Likewise, if you work in curriculum development or instructional design, you can use a digital signature to approve new learning materials, software, programs, tools, systems, and equipment. This is helpful because it eliminates the need for extra steps between approvals by multiple stakeholders. You don’t have to scan documents and send them via email; you can review them online anytime.

Authorize payments from the school budget

School districts and other educational entities can use digital signatures to authorize payments through their school budget. It’s a simple process: the department head or financial officer drafts an email to the person who needs to sign the payment, and this email includes a link that allows them to sign for it electronically. The person who receives the email simply has to click on the link and enter his name. Then he can submit it from his computer or mobile device at any time of day.

It saves time by eliminating the need for the parties involved to print, mail, scan, and send each other paperwork, which can be especially important when you’re dealing with an entity as large as a school district. It also helps protect against fraud because it requires both parties in question to have access to either their own computer or mobile device. And while they’re authorizing payments through their school budget, they can also use digital signatures to sign other documents—such as contracts, legal forms, and letters of intent—as well.

Democratic voting

Many schools, universities, and school districts use digital signatures to facilitate democratic voting. Thanks to digital signatures, everyone can vote remotely. Participation rates for meetings often increase because people don’t have to travel to a central location or take time off of work to cast a vote. Voting is easier and more organized, which saves people time and energy. Even better: it increases social distancing!

  • The New York City Department of Education used digital signatures for its first-ever 100% remote elections in 2020
  • The Mastic-Shirley Teachers’ Association used digital signatures while bargaining a contract during the pandemic.
  • Sign legal forms, including admissions paperwork for students

    When a student is accepted into a school, some many forms and documents need to be signed by either the student themselves or their legal guardian. These can range from applications, financial aid forms, and loan agreements to parental consent for things like field trips and photo release permissions. With electronic signature software solutions, students and parents can sign admissions paperwork online in just seconds. This allows documents to be sent directly to them via email or text message so they can sign them as soon as possible – no delays due to lost paperwork or misplaced signatures.

    Conclusion

    Digital signatures can be used to ensure that only authorized people have access to records in school districts. This can help reduce the risk of fraud and improve the overall efficiency of the operation. Digital signatures can also be used to confirm the identity of people logging in to computers or accessing a network. This is especially useful in schools and other environments where sensitive information must be shared. Digital signatures can also be used to sign documents electronically. This means that the documents can be archived and stored without requiring all the original copies to be kept.

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