How to Safely Capture More Responses In Higher Ed

Learn the secure methods you should use while gathering information for your university.

Online Forms For Efficiency and Security

In higher ed marketing, gathering information is a top priority. You need to capture and leverage data from prospective and current students, alumni, and university employees. Gathering data can seem like the easy part, but then what happens once you have it? That’s where the problems start:

  • Most websites are set up with online forms that just email information to people, meaning data is scattered across inboxes.
  • The collected information needs to be put into a more usable format, which is usually a manual and error prone process.
  • Not only is email an inefficient way to store data, it is also unsecure. It’s easier for hackers to access personal email accounts, no matter how complex your password is.

Online Forms As A Safe, Streamlined Data Capture Solution

If you collect personal information on your website, taking the extra steps to protect it will help ensure that your audience will not lose trust in your institution. Formstack offers a safe, centralized, and easy-to-use place to store your data. Once you log into your Formstack account, you can view or search the data, create customized reports and charts, and securely share information with others. Formstack’s security features can help you avoid a potentially disastrous privacy breach. With Formstack, all of your data is in one place. But don’t worry: Formstack makes it easy to keep people on a need-to-know basis. Data can be organized into folders, and administrators can control who sees which forms, making delegation easier. With this feature, your HR staff can’t see the data the financial aid office is collecting, and vice versa. And when teams need to share information that Formstack has collected, all they have to do is share a link instead of sending sensitive data via email.

Features for Organized Data Capture

Online forms make it easy to capture data using one medium, but it’s also simple to store, share, and automate that information once it’s collected. When you’re not spending all your time manually entering data, it becomes easier to analyze and act upon. That way, you’re out generating new leads instead of trying to manage the ones you already have. Here are some of our most popular features for leveraging your collected data:

Approval Workflow.

With Approval Workflow, you can allow users to approve or deny submissions so that your team is on the same page. Use single- or multiple-user approval, depending on the type of form. This feature is great for data that needs to be reviewed by multiple people, like scholarship applications. And best of all, Approval Workflow will timestamp each user’s actions so you can be sure everyone is working on submissions.

Data Routing.

Speed up the process of data collection to enhance your audience’s experience and your team’s efficiency. Data Routing ensures that only certain people get the data they need. Formstack can immediately send submitted forms to the right person or department to minimize lag time. Because Formstack is so customizable, as you set up each form, you can determine how you want the data to be routed.

File Upload Field.

Many online forms require specific features like file uploads or signatures. Saving documents, pictures, and more to Formstack’s cloud storage means you can access them anytime, anywhere.

Electronic Signature.

Departments whose forms require personal signatures can take advantage of Formstack’s e-signature option. With a fingertip or a mouse, users can sign a form and submit it in a click.


Once your data is in the right place, analytics are the next step. Instead of wasting time trying to figure out data and going cross-eyed, Formstack’s analytics can track form usage, abandonment rate, and more. Prefer a more visual method? You can easily create powerful charts and custom reports to help communicate your data to others.

Formstack Offers Accessible, Section 508 Compliant Online Forms.

What is Section 508 Compliance?

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires federal agencies to provide accessible technology to people with disabilities. All federal-funded institutions are required to use Section 508 compliant technologies, including public universities.

How Can I Leverage Section 508 Compliant Forms?

Users with visual or hearing impairments can successfully complete Formstack's Section 508 compliant online forms. With more accessible forms, your brand engagement can become even more digitally focused. When creating a form on the Formstack app, you will be prompted to include certain settings that comply with Section 508 regulations.

How To Maximize Your Form Security

Formstack offers several layers of protection to ensure the security of your forms:

Data Encryption.

The biggest, baddest option is data encryption, which ensures that sensitive information will be hack-proof when it is stored. In fact, no one—including Formstack—can view your collected data without the password. Ever. Data encryption protects highly sensitive information and keeps it under lock and key.

256-bit SSL.

Another option for increased protection is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). By enabling Formstack’s 256-bit SSL, you can be confident that your forms have met the industry standard of security. This feature provides for the authentication and encryption of traffic between your browser and Internet servers. If you are collecting sensitive, identifying information including, but not limited to, social security or credit card numbers, you must enable SSL to protect your users.

PGP Email Encryption.

PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) can also be installed to protect sensitive information that is emailed to you from a Formstack form. PGP encryption on email notifications is necessary if you are including sensitive, identifying information. You do not need to enable PGP if you are not sending collected data to any email recipients, or are only sending a link to the saved data.

To restrict forms further, you can create password-protected forms for internal use or private events. That way, only individuals with the password can fill them out. And finally, you can add Captcha to keep spammers and bots from submitting false forms and offer your users an additional sense of security.

These layers of security are part of the Terms of Service; we require you to take certain steps to guard your users’ information so that you are covered. You can be confident that Formstack cares about your users’ privacy and wants you to have the best security features for your forms.


When you are working with sensitive, personal information, it's worth it to use a secure online form instead of email. Formstack is the solution to streamlining your data collection and increasing your form security.

Formstack offers all of the above features and even more functionality to help you engage with your digital audience and capture more responses.

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