Stakeholders in the education sector are usually overwhelmed with the time-consuming and tedious paperwork. Most learning institutions are striving to incorporate new technologies to streamline their operations at both administrative and educational levels.
Also, parents and students are increasingly becoming aware of digital advancements and are expecting a future of entirely digitized experiences. Luckily, there are multiple of these technologies that can be used to achieve these, with a notable one being e-signatures.
So, today in this article, we are going to highlight how learning institutions can reap from the integration of e-signatures in the education sector. Continue reading for more insights.
Challenges facing higher learning institutions.
The current education business system survived against new and existing challenges in the last few decades. The following are some of the top challenges facing learning institutions regardless of their reputation and size.
1. Increased competition.
Colleges and universities are striving to manage the ever-increasing competition as online learning options increase, and enrollments decrease in their facilities. The available options to the current learners range from micro-credentials and Massive Open Online Courses to advanced online graduate programs.
In addition, students can get employment through different short corporate certification programs within months.
2. Unpredictable, risk-filled grants and gifts.
A decrease in state and federal funding may encourage universities to cut programs or increase tuition fees. Additionally, the economic crisis and pandemic have made fundraising a toll order for people since it has influenced in-person events, giving, and market volatility.
3. Known revenue sources have become unreliable.
Besides room and board, essential services related to learners' and visitors' activities like events and athletics are significantly decreasing. Formerly, these activities could act as alternative revenue sources for schools, but they are no longer a certainty.
Benefits of e-signatures in education sector.
One of the most notable digital facets in transforming paperwork processes in the education industry is electronic signatures, which have left a mark in the education sector. It has led to a reduction in paper transactions and reduced the occurrence of errors.
Let’s look at some of the potential benefits of integrating e-signatures in education in the following section.
a. Saves time and resources and focuses on important activities.
Learning centers save time and money by automating document presentation and signing processes. From filling out application documents and digitally signing certificates, e-signatures have contributed to every area of the education sector.
Retrieving students' files have become simple and instantaneous from a tiresome, time-consuming process. The extra time saved can be directed to more critical activities aimed at increasing efficiency and productivity.
b. Reduce costs and increase turnaround time.
Learning institutions currently need their proposals to be funded, and therefore they are put under tight scrutiny. Besides this scrutiny, the recent cut in the federal budgets for schools denotes that no educational grants are set aside for low-quality underserving proposals.
There are instances where researchers prepare high-quality funding proposals that deserve to drive them the funds in the ever-reducing funding pie.
The role of digital signatures in learning centers is that it allows them to send funding proposals more easily to the relevant partners. And by doing this boosts the chances of fund approvers and institutions, allowing them to resolve unmet issues earlier in the process.
Therefore, e-signing forms in the education industry enable you to improve the accuracy, timeliness, and delivery of fund proposals. Electronically signed documents also minimize time and costs and allow learners to sign and seal them.
c. Streamlining application process.
The application process is one of the steps you'll need to apply a massive chunk of paperwork in the education sector. It is the step that majorly revolves around the conventional pen and paper signatures that presents considerable drawbacks for staff and students, leading to disruptions in the entire process.
Author credit: By Biswarup Ganguly - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15457379
The transformation to paperless solutions allows students to electronically sign documents, send important credentials, and sign them within seconds.
The application of e-signatures also helps in effectively monitoring application forms, and a good digital signature software features automatic notification to parents and students to sign the required documents conveniently.
E-signed documents in the education industry provide simple and efficient document tracking in real-time to avoid inconveniences and gain better speed and visibility together with streamlining the application process.
a. Risk reduction and process automations.
Institutions should start by automating their workflows by adopting digital transformation in the education sector to ensure they have an efficient administrative process. Process automation in educational operations is one of the biggest benefits of e-signatures in the education sector.
The traditional paper-based processes feature different costs, including paper and ink, postage and shipping charges, and printer maintenance costs. Another main reason for adopting digital transformation in the education sector is that most of the manual approval processes cost can be easily eliminated.
What’s more, e-signed documents can be easily tracked down to and shared in real time between involved parties.
b. Secure communication and documents verification.
Another notable use of e-signatures in education is that they ensure the security of students' information and protect them from theft. E-signatures also ensure crucial documents can be shared with parents whenever they ask.
Electronic signatures provide the requisite audit trail facilities that help in the effective monitoring of all the signature details. These audit features make it easier to identify the documents' signatories with the location and time of the signing.
Electronic signatures also reduce the chances of document forgery or tampering by posting a form for signing offline. Learning institutions can reduce the risks of fraud by setting up a verification system of a digital signature via biometric data captured in sensitive or confidential documents.
The encrypted data transfer between the PC and the Evolis signature pad can be authenticated by the signature.
c. Effective institution organizations.
Learning institutions are always transforming so they can deliver the requirements and needs of their students and staff. Most of these transformations come with a lot of paperwork requirements that can become strenuous if not managed correctly.
It is best for these organizations to ensure their administrative employees are equipped with the current technological advancement for the smooth running of their operations. Also, raising the tuition fees is fueling the pressure put on learning centers so as to control the costs.
Many schools. Colleges and universities are implementing new technologies in their systems in a bid to create online and digitization of the documentation process.
Notably, e-signatures in education help these learning centers to save on the cost of paper processing, postage, and storage of every document. Electronic signature software introduces speed and visibility to streamline the entire process to the benefit of all the involved parties.
d. Ease of third-party integrations.
The infrastructure in learning institutions usually consists of various software systems and applications linked together for seamless data exchange. Robust e-signature solutions will allow stakeholders the ability to add your existing applications and systems, including document management systems, sales automation, enterprise content management, and students’ records management.
As every system works together, there is no longer a need to deal with manual data entry that is often prone to errors and is time-consuming.
e. Full mobile enablement.
In the current fast-paced mobile-faced world, just being online is not enough. Being mobile-enabled is essential for every organization regardless of its portfolio, industry, or size. The need to log into a system is an outdated method.
Author credit; By geralt - https://pixabay.com/photos/application-request-ipad-tablet-1883453/, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87131788
Several solutions are available in the market that allows support for iOS, Android, and even Windows devices. Having e-signatures for education that seamlessly allows this kind of mobile enablement will enable students and institutional management to finish all transactions efficiently, without hassles on the go.
a. Sending permission slips online.
Gone are the days when parents would frantically search for the students' permission letters. When electronic signatures are implemented in schools, it becomes much easier for them to digital permission slips for outing events like field trips and sends them to parents through email.
This way, parents can handle everyday tasks effectively, knowing their kids' whereabouts. Additionally, e-signatures allow parents to sign applications, approve classroom attendance, and much more. In a nutshell, it makes teachers and parents interact seamlessly for the betterment of learners.
b. Digital transcription management and legal backing.
Digital transformations in the education sector enable users to manage online transaction needs from start to finish without hassles. They provide users with full transparency, visibility, and clarity into the transaction, which ultimately reduces errors and increases productivity.
Acceptance of e-signature solutions globally is a critical feature that encourages their usage in schools and other sectors like banking, insurance, health, etc. There are a few laws that are set to govern digital signatures, and parents and students can be confident that the documents are handled in a formal and legal manner.
c. Creates error-free admission processes.
The education sector cultivates culture and values that are aligned with the needs of parents and teachers. Parents, teachers, and students currently expect everything to be completed digitally.
Manual application processes invite tons of mistakes. Processing piles of applicants’ forms and admission deadlines and ensuring effective admission and onboarding management all add up to the admission pressure.
The integration of e-signatures in these processes removes the need for physical paper transactions and the possibility of human burden and errors. And since many institutions require proposal funding, digital signature solutions provide perfect accuracy in the proposal submission.
d. Improved brand reputation.
Lastly, after looking at all these benefits, we can say that e-signatures in education can significantly improve the reputation of learning institutions. This is so because they will have addressed the interests and concerns of guardians and students.
Setting up an advanced operations platform also builds up its natural duty. In this way, it reinforces the significance of digital marks.
If you are interested in adopting e-signatures in your learning center, these are key points that should propel you to move on to a more digitized operation using innovative technology that is environmentally friendly.
E-signature use-cases in the educational sector.
E-signatures in education can be used to automate several areas of operations in the daily running and management of learning institutions; here are some of the use-cases in education setup;
· Student application forms.
· Financial aid and scholarships.
· Tuition responsibility documents.
· Student petition forms.
· Transfer request forms.
· Interdisciplinary application forms.
· Class enrollment documents.
· Grant request documents.
· FAFSA forms.
· Teachers’ reports.
· Progress reports.
· Course assignments.
· Offer letters.
· Change of major forms.
· Travel request.
· Transcription release forms.
· Scholarships request letters, among others.
Learning institutions have started to embrace the need for advanced technologies and implement different types of digital solutions in the classroom. This change does not only help in giving effective learning but also helps streamline and manage paperwork witnessed in the learning system.
There is a growing need in the education sphere in the instances where learners are not forced to follow teachers every now and then for approval of various activities in schools. Digital transformations in education improve the administration of learning centers and provide seamless cooperation between parents, teachers, and students for a common goal of learners’ success.