Social Security Number (SSN) Documents Reference Guide
If a CAS collects social security numbers (SSNs) from applicants on the Applicant Portal, you can configure a PGP key to receive an encrypted file that contains the applicant's CAS ID and SSN. In order to protect an applicant's identity, their SSN is not listed on the Applicant Details page in WebAdMIT.
The steps below outline how you can receive the SSN Documents file in WebAdMIT. You can use the same PGP key for multiple CASs. Your PGP key information will also automatically carry forward into future cycles.
Install PGP Software
If you want to receive in WebAdMIT the SSN Documents file, which is an encrypted file, you must first install a version of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) software. This software creates a public and private key:
- The public key is used by Liaison to encrypt the SSN Documents file for you.
- The private key is retained by a key contact(s) at your institution and is used to decrypt the SSN Documents file. Note that you should never share the private key with anyone outside of your institution.
You may use any PGP encryption software. This software must be installed on at least one computer that you'll routinely use to decrypt the SSN Documents file from WebAdMIT. If your institution collects official GRE or TOEFL scores from ETS, you may already have PGP software, as this is the same method ETS uses to transmit scores to institutions.
Generate a PGP Private and Public Key Pair
Once you have installed the PGP software, you must generate a private and public key (i.e., "key pair"). When generating your key pair, be sure to include your email address in the configuration.
If you need assistance with using PGP software or creating a private and public key pairing, contact the PGP software vendor's customer support or your institution's IT support.
Export the Public Key to a File
After you create a public key, export that key into a text file with a .txt file extension.
Email the Public Key to the Client Support Specialist Team
Once you have the public key as a .txt file, email it to the Client Support Specialist team at email@example.com and identify the CAS and cycle it can be used for.
Download the SSN Documents File from WebAdMIT
Once Liaison has configured your program with the PGP public key, you can then download the SSN Documents file from WebAdMIT. To download this file:
- Log in to WebAdMIT.
- Click SSN Documents under the Reports & Exports panel.
- Save the file to your computer or file server.
Note that you should not open the file directly, as it is encrypted.
Once your file is saved to your computer or file server, you can then use the PGP private key to decrypt and open the file. If you have any difficulty performing the decryption, contact the PGP software vendor's customer support.
The SSN Documents file only contains the applicant's CAS ID and SSN. This is to protect the applicant's identity, in the event that this file is compromised. You can use the applicant's CAS ID to match their SSN to the appropriate file in your SIS. SSNs should never be saved in an applicant's file in WebAdMIT.
If interested, you can also download SSNs using our WebAdMIT API. Review the WebAdMIT API guide for more information.
Liaison has additional tools to help your IT staff effectively process the SSN Documents file. For more information, contact the Client Support Specialist team.
Save the Private Key
As a best practice, you should back up your PGP private key, as without it you cannot open any encrypted files. If your private key is lost, you must generate a new public and private key pairing and resend the new public key to Liaison for setup.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the trigger for the SSN to be included in the export?
Only applications that have been submitted will have an SSN delivered in the encrypted export. The following statuses make an application eligible for SSN encyrption:
|Does the SSN keep getting sent so that the file is cumulative?||Yes – the SSN encrypted file is cumulative and will always include all applicants’ SSNs for the given organization and CAS/cycle.|
|What is the format of the SSN document?||The SSN document is a pipe-delimited flat file with no header row. The first column contains the applicant’s CAS ID and the second column contains the applicant’s SSN.|