The UK has about 1 million students enrolled in its higher education system; traditionally this means college administration is a paper heavy, bureaucratic nightmare with all the opportunity for lost documents and misdirected transcripts this offers.
University transcripts are crucial for students: this document is a list of courses and grades generated by schools, colleges and examination bodies. Colleges require them from applicant students and also have to generate and distribute them to their own students.
Processing all this efficiently and effectively is a problem that was almost designed for a software solution. Irish tech firm, Digitary, is marketing just such a solution. Operating in the Higher Education space since 2005, the company has been upfront about its mission to give the global market a “secure way to issue, store and verify credentials online”. Digitary’s offering to clients in the higher education sector is its Digitary CORE platform.
Digitary CORE offers a triple value proposition: ease; efficiency and security. The university or college can create a certificate or transcript online and allow the student access to it; this bypasses all the paper intensive hassle of typing out the document and posting it out to the student. The recipient can then share the transcript with a trusted 3rd party – this could be a prospective employer or another college – conceivably on the same day.
The efficiency proposition is pretty self-evident: the old way of typing out; duplicating; printing transcripts, then posting them out was labour and time intensive. This unavoidably incurred increased administrative costs but with Digitary’s automation of the same process this cost driver disappears.
The security proposition is crucial: in an interview earlier this year with Pie magazine (on page 35), Digitary highlighted the problem for tertiary institutions of people making fraudulent claims about their college scores and even inventing their attendance of college altogether. This ongoing threat of fraud incurs increased cost to counter it.
Fake academic credentials are big business. A recent New York Times investigation discovered a diploma mill, Axact, received payment from “at least 215,000 people in 197 countries“. These scammers operate internationally and as the number of students in higher education grows, both domestically and globally, so does the imperative to guard against fraudulent college applicants.
Digitary itself screens the partners it works with so only legitimate, vetted organisations can issue documentation through its platform. Students and graduates of these colleges can’t upload transcripts directly to the application. A document’s validity in the system is indicated by a blue ribbon. The issuing institution uses Digitary allow the document “owner” access to the application.
With this access the document owner will have control over who can access their online documentation and for how long. They can also track who has viewed the documents.
Digitary complies with PDF Advanced Electronic Signatures or PAdES and the XML Advanced Electronic Signatures security XAdES standards. And documents stored on Digitary have their security upgraded automatically by the advanced, long-term cryptographic technology used by the company.
The firm’s client base covers Ireland, the UK, China, India, Portugal, the United States and now extends to Australia and New Zealand. All of the world’s top 10 institutions have verified through Digitary & 76% of UK Universities including the University of Cambridge, The University of Manchester & The London School of Economics have used Digitary to verify qualifications online.
Digitary also partners with networks like the Groningen Declaration network; CollegeNET; CHESICC (China) and PESC (Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council).
All progress creates its own new problems and the drive towards the paperless office creates new problems around digital security and verification which previously were handled by old increasingly obsolete technologies. Digitary’s drive is to make security and verification easy to manage for the user and unbeatable to the scammers.
If you would like more information about Digitary, check out the Digitary website here.