Students beginning their freshman year of college this fall have grown up in a fully digital world. One where phones have always been “smart” and the internet has always been in their homes and at their fingertips. They’ve had email addresses and social media accounts ever since they can remember. Natives to the digital world, texting, tapping and swiping is how they interact – from searching for entertainment and researching life’s questions to communicating with friends and finding their next date. They likely never used a payphone or read a print newspaper; because.

So wouldn’t it be a bit shocking to them when the institution of higher education they are attending asks them to use pen and paper to fill out some of the most important documents of their lives? Wouldn’t it feel to them like taking a strange step back in time to an unfamiliar and inefficient place, when they’ve been able to use their laptops and mobile devices to accomplish everything else in their lives – without the need of pen and paper?

Like most every industry, higher education is undergoing a transformation. Just as employees drove a change in enterprise IT by bringing their own devices to work rather than working off corporate-supported devices, students are bringing their expectations for digital ease, speed, convenience and security with them to college. As a result, universities are beginning to move services online and on mobile to handle everything from recruiting and admissions to course registration and financial aid. They are at the cusp of reengineering their processes to be more efficient, more cost effective and build in mechanisms where decisions can be made fast and implemented quickly. To be relevant and attract and retain students, colleges must provide exceptional student service at every point in the student lifecycle – from when they apply, all the way through the degree program, and ultimately to career services where they help their students achieve their career goals.

Today we’re excited to announce a big step towards helping higher education make the digital transformation. Starting this September, California students in UC and Cal State university systems along with other select colleges will be able to sign up for a complimentary personal DocuSign account – valued at more than $100 per student.

Schools will only continue facing pressure to adapt new technology and become more efficient. With an increased competition for students, declining government funding, stricter accountability requirements, and the demand from students for their schools to offer the same types of digital services that they are accustomed to in their daily lives, schools must keep pace with innovation. DocuSign is helping schools show their commitment to a digital transformation by revolutionizing how documents are accepted and processed, and keeping the college experience in line with what today’s students expect.

For students, DocuSign saves time and money and eliminates the need for stamps, printing, overnighting, and faxing paper documents. College is a time filled with paperwork – lease agreements, personal finance documents, doctor’s forms, waivers, new job offer letters and more – and DocuSign’s Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platform and eSignature solution let students electronically sign all of their personal documents quickly, easily and securely so that they can keep life and school moving forward.

Additionally, all students who sign up for their free account will receive a special promo code for 10% off a DocuSign plan to gift to family and friends.

Making the digital transformation is imperative for colleges to offer the best educational experience they can provide to prospective, new, and current students. DocuSign is proud to help the UC and Cal State university system, and other select colleges cut costs and increase efficiencies so educators and administrators can leave paper behind and focus on their core mission – education.

Participating universities include Cal Berkeley, Cal Poly, Cal State LA, CSU Bakersfield, CSU Channel Islands, CSU Chico, CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU East Bay, CSU Fresno, Fullerton, CSU Long Beach, CSU Northridge, CSU Pomona, CSU Sacramento, CSU San Bernardino, CSU San Marcos, San Diego State University, San Jose State University, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbra, UC Santa Cruz, and more…

Students interested in claiming their free DocuSign Account please click here.

If your school is not yet offering its students a way to go digital to keep their life and education moving forward with DocuSign, please click here to enroll your college or university.