Terra Dotta Study Abroad allows applicants with an authenticated identity to sign documents electronically using signature documents. The elements which comprise a qualified and legally-confirmed identity are as follows:
- A date of birth that places the signee as 18 years of age or older.
- An authenticated username and password that have been legally confirmed as unique to the applicant. In cases where applicants are authenticated through a secure campus login system, this element is automatically provided. This is why the "Signature Verification" feature below is only applicable to non-integrated (external) users.
There are times when an external applicant has received login credentials by requesting the login from your site, and you may need legal proof of identity to confirm the username and password being used. You might also need to ensure that anyone under the age of 18, regardless of their applicant (or user) type (i.e. non-integrated/external users or integrated/internal users), has a co-signer anytime they need to electronically sign a signature document.
The "Identity Verification" setting in Terra Dotta is designed to meet these needs. When the setting is enabled and signature documents are deployed as requirements of an application, these two features are activated:
- All applicants under the age of 18 are informed that they must print the signature document and obtain the signature of a co-signer. If an application contains multiple signature documents, then they will have to print each document and obtain a co-signer's signature for each document.
- When enabled, Age Verification is applicable to both non-integrated (external) and integrated (internal) applicants under the age of 18.
- Non-integrated applicants are informed that they must provide proof of legal identity for the purpose of using digital signatures in signature documents. This proof must be provided before the applicant can proceed with electronically signing a document as part of their application.
- When enabled, Signature Verification is applicable to any non-integrated applicant regardless of their age. It is not a setting that applies to integrated applicants.
- These two features are tied together. It is not possible to only enable age verification without also enabling the signature verification. If the "Identity Verification" setting is disabled, then neither the Age Verification nor the Signature Verification will appear on an application for any applicant type.
- There is not a reporting option available with this feature.
- This setting does not apply to signature documents on OneStep forms.
Configurations & Details
To access and enable the "Identity Verification" setting, navigate to Settings > System Features > Process Options. Check the box next to "Require verification and 18 years of age for signature docs ".
After the "Identity Verification" setting is enabled, an applicant's experience will vary depending on their applicant type and age. The following chart demonstrates what an applicant will see on their application page when a signature document is a requirement of the application. "X" represents that the feature does appear. A blank field represents that that feature does not appear.
|Applicant Type & Age
|Non-Integrated. Under 18
|Non-Integrated. Age 18+
|Integrated. Under 18
|Integrated. Age 18+
Signature Verification Form
When a non-integrated applicant logs into the site for the first time, their name, date of birth, and other information is gathered on the registration form and required information page. This information is based purely on the applicant's provided information and does not represent what can legally be considered a valid form of identification for the purposes of digital online signatures.
Therefore, once the applicant logs in and accesses their application, they will not be able to provide digital signatures for required signature documents right away. Instead, they will be asked to complete and submit the Signature Verification Form. The "Verification Form" button appears at the top of the application page below the application instructions and before the list of application requirements.
In order for applicants to be able to sign digital signature documents legally, the applicant must provide a physical copy of a valid ID that is to be associated with their user record on your site. This is what is done with the Signature Verification Form. An applicant who cannot yet sign the electronic signature documents will be instructed to print the Signature Verification Form and send the signed paper to your office along with a copy of their valid ID.
Once the office receives the form, the admin can mark it as received and then the applicant will be permitted to provide electronic signatures. An applicant is only required to submit the Signature Verification Form once. After an admin has marked the form as received from the requirements section of an application in Applicant Admin Manager, it is technically marked as received for all existing and future applications for this applicant.
To mark the Signature Verification Form as received, the admin should hover their mouse over the Signature Verification Form requirement. A "check mark" icon will appear under the "Submitted" column. Click this icon to mark the form as received.
After an admin has marked the form as received, the date on which this action was taken will populate in the "Submitted" column.
The "Verification Form" button will no longer appear on the application page, and the applicant will be permitted to provide digital signatures.
The Signature Verification Form is not counted in the progress wheel as a requirement for the application.
The "Identity Verification" setting enables the age verification check for integrated and non-integrated users who are under the age of 18 and have a signature document required as part of their application. This means that any applicant under the age of 18 will have to have a co-signer (parent, legal guardian) provide an accompanying signature for all signature documents required for their application.
Here are a few examples of what an applicant and admin both see:
Example A - This is an internal/integrated applicant under the age of 18. As long as they are under the age of 18, they will always be prompted to print the document and obtain a signature from a co-signer.
Once signed, the document should be submitted to the office. An admin can then mark the signature document as complete from the full view of the application in Application Admin Manager.
Hovering your mouse over the "Submitted" column as the admin will populate an icon option to mark the requirement as received. After doing so, the admin has the option to send a notification email to the applicant.
The "Submitted" column will populate the date on which the signature document was marked as received. A note will also appear where the following information will be recorded:
- A timestamp of when the requirement was received/signed for.
- The name and IP address of the person who performed the "received" action for the requirement.
Important Note: The identity verification does not apply to signature documents deployed through OneStep forms. This means that an external user under the age of 18 would be permitted to sign the document even if the "Require verification and 18 years of age for signature docs" setting has been enabled.
Example B - This is an external/non-integrated user under the age of 18. When accessing their application, they first see the "Signature Verification" button at the top of the application page.
After clicking the "Verification Form" button, a modal appears which displays the form. Applicants are instructed on the actions to take.
Once received by the office, an admin can mark the verification form as received from the full view of an application in Application Admin Manager.
From the application page, the "Signature Verification Form" now appears under the "Completed Requirements" section. The applicant then moves forward with their application, clicking into the signature document located under the "Offline Requirements" section. Because they are under the age of 18, they are prompted to print the document and obtain the signature of a co-signer, following the Age Verification steps outlined in Example A.
Terra Dotta's pre-programmed system for providing a unique identifier is based on the legal requirements for valid, electronic online signatures. Internal applicants are automatically authenticated because they login to the system using institutional login credentials.
If the Signature Verification Form and Age Verification features do not match your office's policy, then there are three methods that can be used to modify this behavior:
1) The text of the "Signature Verification Form" can be modified using Maintenance > Text Interface to make the language of the form more amenable to the policy requirements.
Important Note: Changing this verbiage could affect the legal status of your signature documents and any modifications should be referred to qualified legal assistance before using for online electronic signatures.
2) The "Signature Verification Form" can be removed from the application process by assigning no signature documents to your external applicants. This form is programmed to only display when there are signature documents assigned to an application as process elements. Changing the application process for external users so that there are no signature documents will remove this form from their application process.
3) The feature can be disabled under Settings > System Features > Process Options > Require verification for Signature Documents setting. Disabling the "Require verification and 18 years of age for signature docs" setting means signature documents can be signed by anyone at any time. This setting disables all identity verification for signature documents. This includes both the check for the signature verification form for non-integrated applicants and the age verification form for any applicant under the age of 18.