In the ever-evolving world of education, schools must keep their systems from becoming outdated. Bureaucracy, paperwork, and manual documents can slow down processes, but there’s a solution for that: electronic signatures.
According to a study by International Data Corporation, eSignatures are critical components of the document workflow. Schools can increase security through eSignature software with audit trails and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).
This article will walk you through the powerful impact of eSignatures on schools and how it can speed up processes and transactions.
The Growing Need for Electronic Signatures in Schools
As we navigate the post-pandemic era, educational institutions embrace the hybrid setup in learning environments.
According to the eLearning Industry, hybrid learning is expected to grow and evolve in 2023. The World Economic Forum reports that online learning is growing globally with more than 20 million new students registering for online learning in 2021.
All the more, schools need digital tools like eSignatures to expedite the process.
eSignatures and its impact on school processes
Electronic signatures are ideal as they allow administrators, faculty, and parents to sign important documents and forms. All these – from the safety of their own homes or offices.
Efficiency on paperwork
The amount of paperwork that teachers and administrators must handle is staggering. Schools deal with an enormous amount of paperwork daily, from enrollment forms to permission slips to teacher contracts.
With electronic signatures, these documents can be processed quickly and securely, freeing up valuable time for educators to focus on what they do best – teaching.
Moreover, electronic signatures expedite transactions and processes in educational institutions. For instance, universities can leverage digital signatures to sign off on applications, grants, and financial aid requests. This reduces the time it takes to get transactions done and helps students to stay on track with their academic progress.
Transparency and accountability on documents
Electronic signatures are a transparent and accountable way to keep track of documents.
With digital audit trails, administrators know who signed a document and when. If there’s ever a dispute, the audit trail provides an irrefutable record of who signed and when.
With the ever-increasing importance of digital security, electronic signatures also offer unparalleled security measures like encryption and two-factor authentication. Institutions are safeguarded against fraud and forgery, ensuring only authorized personnel can sign documents.
4 Key Benefits of eSignatures for Schools and Universities
eSignatures can powerfully transform schools’ and universities’ workflow with the right features. Here are some benefits upon deployment of the software.
1. Streamline administrative processes
Administrative tasks such as enrollment, registration, and document management can be tedious and time-consuming. They are prone to errors when done manually.
Electronic signatures simplify the document workflow and approval process.
Teachers, students, and parents can access, sign and approve documents remotely. This system dramatically reduces paperwork, removes the need for in-person visits, and allows faster and more efficient communication.
Say a university plans to offer an electronic enrollment management service. This allows students to register and sign documents from their preferred device. It will also provide real-time record updates, saving resources and reducing delays.
2. Improve document security and compliance
It is essential to ensure documents are kept confidential and comply with the regulations established by legal authorities. Electronic signatures can offer extra security by:
- Enhancing document authenticity and accuracy
- Ensuring non-repudiation, and
- Creating an audit trail for tracking document trails
Say universities wanted to ensure they validate the student’s identity before signing the documents. Some electronic signature software feature signer identity verification. Students must upload a valid ID and take a selfie to verify their identity before attaching an eSignature.
Other schools use document management software with digital signature technology that enables compliance with global data security standards such as GDPR.
This capability ensures that only authorized parties can access and sign confidential documents. All changes can be recorded and audited for accountability.
3. Enhancing communication and collaboration
Limiting communication between students, parents, and faculty can hinder an institution’s progress. eSignatures provide practical tools to improve communication, foster collaboration, and work more efficiently.
It offers quick and secure communication channels that bind parties concerned in academic processes such as:
- Clarifying information
- Signing forms,
- Facilitating feedback easier
Electronic signatures can improve collaboration between teachers and administrators. For instance, school budgets and contracts can be easily signed and processed online. It speeds up the approval process and ensures everyone is on the same page. This is particularly important for larger educational organizations with limited time and resources.
Moreover, with eSignatures, academic institutions can ensure that all parties are notified when documents are signed in real time. This helps reduce delays and streamline communication between all parties. It allows for more efficient operations and faster decision-making.
4. Reducing costs and environmental impact
The traditional way of signing and preparing documents usually requires extra time and money. With eSignatures, academic institutions can significantly reduce the costs of paper-based processes and save printing resources.
According to 55 to 78 percent of administrative costs is reduced when switching to electronic signing and digital documents.
With educational institutions generating significant paperwork, such as admission, registration, and attendance forms, eSignatures can help schools go paperless and reduce the carbon footprint.
Practical Applications of eSignatures in Educational Settings
Now that you understand the benefits of eSignatures in educational institutions, let us delve deeper into the practical applications.
1. Admission and enrollment forms
Digital signatures can expedite the completion of admission and enrollment forms. They enable applicants to sign and submit documents online without physically visiting the institution.
This feature can be handy for candidates who live far away or have limited mobility.
eSign platforms like Fill offer templates for admission and enrollment forms that can be customized to meet the requirements of specific institutions.
2. Faculty contracts and agreements
eSignatures can simplify drafting and executing employment contracts and agreements for faculty members. With an electronic signature solution, faculty members can quickly sign contracts. They can provide their consent to various agreements regardless of their location or time zone.
Fill app is one of the eSign platforms offering contract templates and workflows that facilitate the negotiation and execution of faculty contracts. Using the paperless method and eSignatures reduces the missing files by 66 percent.
3. Student consent and permission forms
Digital signatures can be used to sign consent and permission forms for various activities, such as field trips, research studies, and medical treatment. An eSign solution can provide stakeholders with a digital record of the consent. It minimizes the risk of missing paperwork or errors in the agreement.
Fill, for instance, offer customizable consent form templates that can be embedded in emails or websites for easy access. Say you want to streamline the consent process for clinical trials for a study, you can ask students to complete forms online –- instead of sending them by mail.
4. Transcript and diploma issuance
Digital signatures can automate the issuance of official transcripts and diplomas, enabling students to obtain their credentials more efficiently and securely. An eSign solution can validate the authenticity of the transcripts or diplomas by linking them to a digital signature and a tamper-evident seal.
The University of Lapland, for instance, allows students to register to get transcripts via WebOodi. After ordering, students can download the transcripts with digital signatures on their devices. This saves time for students since they don’t need to visit the university as they can get the files anytime.
Introducing Fill’s Electronic Signature Solutions for Schools and Universities
Is your institution ready for change and efficiency? Fill is the answer. With its easy-to-use platform and robust features, educational institutions can digitize their document signing process, save time, and eliminate paper waste.
Four key features of Fill’s eSignature solution that make it an indispensable tool for schools and universities are:
- Seamless Integration: Fill seamlessly integrates with the most popular app platforms used by schools and universities, like Google Drive. This means that documents can move quickly between platforms, and signing workflows can be automated.
- Enhanced Security: Fill’s electronic signature solution uses 256-bit AES military-grade encryption. Our tool complies with industry-standard encryption and authentication protocols, ensuring your digital documents and signatures are secure.
- Streamlined Workflows: Schools and universities can eliminate the need for manual, paper-based administrative tasks. Teachers, administrators, and students can sign documents electronically, saving time and hassle.
- Audit Trail: Fill offers an electronic audit trail that provides an accurate and complete history of all document activities. This feature allows schools and universities to maintain compliance with industry regulations and track all the actions taken within each document.
Using Fill’s electronic signature solution, schools and universities can significantly decrease the time it takes to sign documents and enhance document security.
By automating your document signing processes, you can focus on the core mission of delivering quality education.
Request a demo so you can experience first-hand the capabilities of our electronic signature solution.