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Liaison International

Social Security Number (SSN) Documents Reference Guide

If a CAS collects social security numbers (SSNs) from applicants on the Applicant Portal, a program 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 a program can receive the SSN Documents file in WebAdMIT.

Purchase and Install PGP Software

If you want to receive in WebAdMIT the SSN Documents file, which is an encrypted file, you'll first need to purchase and 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 specifically for your program. The private key is kept in your hands and in-house to decrypt the SSN Documents file. Note that you should never share the private key with anyone outside of your institution.

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.

You'll need to purchase a desktop license, or use an existing license, for a PGP encryption software. This will need to be installed on at least one computer that you'll routinely use to decrypt the SSN Documents file from WebAdMIT. You may use any PGP encryption software.

Generate a PGP Private and Public Key Pair

Once you have installed the PGP software, you'll need to generate a public key for Liaison so that we can properly encrypt the SSN Documents file for your program. At the same time you are generating a public key, you'll need to generate a private key for decryption.

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, you'll need to export that key into an ASCII text file, which has an .asc file extension.

Email the Public Key to WebAdMIT Support

Once you have the public key as an ASCII text file, you'll need to email it to the WebAdMIT Support team at webadmitsupport@liaisonedu.com

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:

  1. Log in to WebAdMIT.
  2. Click SSN Documents under the Reports & Exports panel.
  3. 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.

Liaison has additional tools to help your IT staff effectively process the SSN Documents file. Please contact WebAdMIT Support for more information.

Save the Private Key

As a best practice, you should back up your PGP private key, as without it you will not be able to open any encrypted files. If your private key is lost, you will need to generate a new public and private key pairing, and resend the new public key to Liaison for setup.

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