Universities in Australia and New Zealand are issuing certified digital documents to their students and graduates.
As My eQuals is being rolled out in 2017 and 2018, students and graduates will increasingly share their certified digital documents with employers, universities and other 3rd parties (Recipients).
The authenticity of certified documents is guaranteed when accessed online through the My eQuals portal. While students and graduates have access to view documents, only the issuing university can upload or modify them.
Providing documents to recipients through the My eQuals system is more convenient for the student/graduate, enables instant verification of the document for the Recipient and minimises the potential for fraud as the digital documents are tamper-proof.
As the education sector in Australia and New Zealand incorporates digital academic records (transcripts) and graduation documents, Recipients should be aware of this improvement and consider their policies and processes to take full advantage of the benefits that certified online documents provide.
This page and the document below provides information that is particularly relevant to employers, universities and other 3rd parties who may receive certified digital documents, both in terms of general awareness and specific instructions that will aid the adoption of My eQuals your organisation.
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Employing advanced security and operational procedures, My eQuals documents are authentic, tamper-evident, and legally valid. The underlying systems have been independently tested by security experts and documents contain digital signatures that meet the legal standards set by the European Union for authentic electronic documents. This standard exceeds requirements in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.
The specific features to look for to ensure authenticity of the documents are described under “What security features to look for?” below.
Requesting digital documents
If you would like to receive a digital document, you have to ask the student or graduate. You have to do this outside the system, i.e. by sending an email.
Receiving digital documents
There are two ways in which you can receive a digital document:
- A university student or graduate can provide you with a link, directing you to their official documents. That can be an email from My eQuals (sample below) or an email direct to you from the student containing the link.
Check that the link starts with https://myequals.net/
Sample email sent to a third party when a student shares a document with them
- Students and graduates can also download a crytographically signed PDF copy of the document and upload it during your application process, or attach to a email to you.
Please refer to “What Security features to look for?”
You may receive the digital documents from the student or graduate through a link, or as a PDF document attached to an email. Viewing and verifying the document online
Viewing and verifying the PDF file
This is the copy of the original document issued by the university and should not be relied upon for verification purposes.
Certified documents viewed in Adobe Acrobat Reader have a blue ribbon above the document stating: “Certified by the issuing University… all signatures are valid”. Documents that have been tampered with or modified show a red X and error message in the blue ribbon.When viewing the PDF document, you need to ensure that:
- you are using the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (not your browser),
- you are connected to the internet.
- you have adequate internet speed (slow internet speed may limit Acrobat Reader’s ability to verify the document’s signature).
- you allow Acrobat to update the verified certificate store so that Acrobat can validate the certification of the document.
- The PDF should not be relied upon for verification purposes.
Digital documents can only be guaranteed when viewed online or using Adobe Acrobat Reader. You should not trust the authenticity of printed format documents unless it is a certified hard copy issued directly by the University. When a student or graduate presents a printed copy of a digital My eQuals document, you should request is re-issued to you in a digital format as set out in “how do I receive or request digital documents”
When printed, the document has no authentic status and will not contain the security features of the online or PDF digital versions.
My eQuals is a shared platform that is owned by the participants and the digital documents that are accessible through the platform are provisioned by the participants themselves.
A shared platform has many benefits, including:
- the ability for students and graduates who have studied at multiple institutions to access their documents in a single place.
- the ability for Recipients to view and verify records in a single place, regardless of the institution where the student or graduate obtained their degree.
- greater levels of standardisation, recognition and adoption.
- greater ability to invest in the platform and develop new functionality that will benefit all students, graduates, participants and Recipients.
Our objective is continue to develop new My eQuals functionality and services to the benefit of students, graduates, recipients and education providers.
Outside graduation and for other documents, universities will increasingly move to digital documents, issued through My eQuals.
The future availability of physical documents will depend on individual university policy.
Our aim is that employers and other recipients will increasingly recognise the benefits of digital documents over physical ones.