An overwhelming amount of universities are becoming more technologically savvy when it comes to their academics. Students can register through student portals, get financial aid information, and they are even offered more online courses than ever before.
However, the paperwork, such as transcripts and registration forms, seem to be holding back these universities, administrators, and even the students. With a transcript request, students have to wait at least a week or two for a hard copy to be sent to them and problems can also arise during this waiting period. For example, transcripts getting lost in the mail and if this is the case, the student will have to pay another request fee. Not only is the additional payment a problem, this process delays universities and companies from receiving requested documents on a student who wants to transfer or join the staff, respectively.
The reason for the long wait is so the university can prove the authenticity of documents. Other universities will not accept a transcript unless it’s official. This means the universities, and even high schools, must submit the transcript with the school’s watermark, President’s signature, and arrive in a sealed envelope. It would be more convenient just to send these items electronically.
The blockchain, a transparent public record, would be able to help the universities, and nullify this lengthy procedure. Not only will it save them money from developing their own database, the blockchain will also save students and their future employers time down the line.
By storing the credentials on the blockchain, students will have easy access to their records. They can keep an eye on their attendance records, grades, and performance. A student will also have access to their transcripts and certificates. Ultimately, this will prevent the long lines at the Admissions Office in order to retrieve their transcript, registration confirmation, and degree for approximately $10-30 per copy.
This is quite beneficial for both the student and their future employer. The student would not have to pay for additional copies and the employer wouldn’t have to waste time and money calling up the universities to receive a degree. The student would send their records to their employer through a public key to verify their achievements.
The academic records should not be the only thing included on the blockchain. Financial aid, visa information, and health records can all be added onto the ledger. Financial aid would easily calculate the amount of funds already credited to the students, whether it be student loans or grants. This would also keep track of the scholarship funds handed out. A student visa may already be tracked by the government, but this information will inform the student as well as the university the allotted time left for their studies, and health records will provide the university the needed information on their students in case of an emergency.
By far, the most desirable reason universities would begin to use blockchain technology is the prevention of hacking. It has been known, through both real life and in the movies, students hacked into the school’s system to either change their grades, schedules, and sick days. With the blockchain technology, schools would not have to worry about their students’ information being manipulated by the students or an outside source, because all the information will be encrypted.
With the rapid pace of new and innovating technologies being released, universities can also stay ahead of the game.