While eSignatures are not a new phenomenon, the rate at which their necessity has grown is something of a marvel. Our new normal, which consists of virtual everything-under-the-sun, has affected the education space more than almost any other industry in the nation. While eSignatures have always been convenient, in today’s world, they are a necessity.
Before the pandemic changed everything in such a short amount of time, important documents were signed in-house. Parents would simply come in and sign what needed signing. From 504 forms and IEP’s to parent slips and sign offs, signatures are a huge part of the healthy facilitation of education.
Now that eSignatures are so integral to education, how can educators find an eSignature platform that’s secure, without breaking the bank? Let’s look at four things to consider when choosing a platform for your school:
The History and Legality of Electronic Signatures
Addressing the legality of electronic signatures actually dates back to the mid-1900’s when signatures were sent over telegraph. The US Courts deemed the signatures valid, setting the stage for what would become a virtually paperless business world. (While we like to think we are on the cutting edge by doing business remotely and on the go, it could be argued we have nothing on the cross and transcontinental business dealings of our ancestors)
As time progressed, so did our technology, and the need to legally bind computerized electronic signatures arose in the 1990’s when “online” became mainstream and business was being done in that sphere. Taking a flight to sign a document seemed frivolous, and taking a car across town for the same purpose stopped making sense.
As business and technology advanced, both the UETA and ESIGN acts (adopted in 1999 and 2000 respectively) officially made eSignatures binding and legal, with certain considerations.
UETA, a state law, has been adopted by every state except three who have adopted their own legislation regarding electronic signatures. The law states that as long as the signer did so with the intent to sign and all parties involved have consented to do business electronically, then the signature is legally binding.
ESIGN is a federal law which handles consumer transactions differently than commercial ones. The law states that a consumer must be provided a set of disclosures, whereas the commercial client’s intent to electronically sign can be inferred based on the circumstances surrounding the interaction.
Both laws deem electronic signatures legally binding, making online transactions both valid and convenient. This means that for over twenty years eSignatures have been protected by law, which ought to put even the most skeptical consumer at ease.
As we move through the 21st century, online forms are utilized in almost every aspect of business, technology, and education. Paper is messy, hard to organize, and is prone to error. In a society that continues to go paperless, electronic signatures are a legal and safe way to do business. For more information about taking your signature online, contact us for a free consultation.