Higher Education Innovation In Action

Credentials Explains: Our Approach on Authorization

CS Staff Jun 28, 2017

Here at Credentials, we offer several authorization options to our TranscriptsPlus® clients. Not every institution utilizes each method – as clients choose methods that work best for their specific preferences and requirements.  

All methods have been evaluated by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) using FERPA regulations, specifically §99.30, which allows disclosure of education records to any party listed in the consent and §99.31(a), which provides for disclosure without consent to third-party agents, such as outside contractors, that perform an institutional service or function.

The four methods of authorization here at Credentials are: PIN/SHA Authentication, Automatic Authorization, Mouse Signature Authorization, and Wet Signature Authorization.

PIN/SHA Authentication

PIN/SHA authentication takes place when the student signs on at the school’s web portal and accesses the TranscriptsPlus online order form via his/her web portal; because of this, the requestor’s identity is authenticated during the initial log on and passed to Credentials in a secure and locked down method.  

Automatic Authorization

Participating institutions configured with our automation tool, RoboRegistrar®, have the option to work with automatic authorization, which takes place when a predetermined set of data elements entered on the TranscriptsPlus order form match the information within the Student Information System. When automatic authorization requirements are not met or automatic authorization isn’t offered at an institution, requestors are required to sign an Authorization Form.

“Mouse Signature” Authentication

Credentials now supports mouse/electronic signatures through our Self-ServicePlus™ application. When institutions work with this option, Credentials provides the option to sign our Authorization Form electronically, using a mouse, touchscreen, or stylus. This method is very convenient and can be offered based on the school’s written approval.

Wet Signature Authorization

A wet signature authorization takes place whenever any of the above options are not used or requirements were not met. At the end of the transaction, a barcoded PDF is sent to the student that requires a wet signature to authorize the order.  In most cases, the signed Authorization Form can be uploaded, faxed, or mailed.

Most schools choose to have Credentials receive and process the Authorization Form, however, we do have some institutions that prefer to receive and process the Authorization Form themselves. These signature authorization forms are handled on a first in, first out basis by our Customer Service Representatives (CSRs). Our CSR group processes between 40,000 and 62,000 Authorization Forms each month, which doesn’t even include the number of automatic or PIN/SHA authorizations!

Because the authorization process is a serious legal matter, we treat it as such! Each CSR spends a total of 15 hours learning the authorization process with a qualified trainer before he or she is allowed to perform the function unaccompanied. Once the form is accepted and saved, a different set of eyes performs a quality assurance audit on the received authorization to ensure FERPA guidelines are strictly met.

We’re proud to offer such a comprehensive offering of authorization methods!