Integrated CSU Administrative Manual



Replaced by 8100.0 Electronic and Digital Signatures


Section 3000 Policies

Policy Number:  3701.01

Policy Title: Digital Signatures

Policy Effective Date: April 1, 2011

Last Revision Date: October 6, 2011
(see revision history)


It is the policy of the CSU to permit the use of digital signatures in lieu of handwritten signatures. Campuses must prepare written procedures that implement this policy.


A “digital signature” is an electronic identifier, created by computer, intended by the party using it to have the same force and effect as the use of a handwritten signature.  It is separate and distinct from “mechanical signatures” used on checks issued by the CSU. Usage of digital signature technology is at the option of an individual campus

Campus use and procedures must be approved by the campus Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and identify technologies capable of creating digital signatures that conform to requirements set forth in California Government Code Section 16.5:

(1)     It is unique to the person using it;
(2)     It is capable of verification;
(3)     It is under the sole control of the person using it;
(4)     It is linked to data in such a manner that if the data are changed, the digital signature is invalidated;
(5)     It conforms to Title 2, Division 7, Chapter 10, of the California Code of Regulations.

For a digital signature to be valid, it must be created by a technology accepted for use by the State of California and meet the provisions in Section 22003(b)1-5 of the California Code of Regulations.  Section 22004 provides a mechanism for petitioning the California Secretary of State to add an electronic signature technology to its list of acceptable technologies.  Campuses wanting to use a technology not currently authorized by the state must file a written request with the CO manager listed in the Policy Ownership section of this document, which fully describes the proposed technology and the reasons why it is a better alternative to the technologies already authorized by the regulations.  The alternative technology must conform to the five requirements set forth in this policy.  If the CO determines the proposed technology to be acceptable, it will petition the California Secretary of State on behalf of the system requesting addition of the technology to the list of acceptable technologies.

Campus procedures must specify the record types and/or activities where electronic signatures are permissible and/or required.  They may require or permit electronic signatures for any record or document where a signature is required by Federal or California law or by CSU policy, unless a handwritten signature is explicitly required. 

Campus procedures must identify the person (by position) who is authorized to sign or approve a given document so that verification of an appropriate electronic signature can be made

Electronic signatures may be used for transactions between the campus and outside parties only when the parties have agreed to conduct transactions by electronic means.

Benjamin F. Quillian
Executive Vice-Chancellor/Chief Financial Officer

Approved: October 31, 2011




April 1, 2011


Useful Guidelines:

Provided that the digital signature is created consistent with the provisions in Section 22003(b)1-5 of the California Code of Regulations,  technologies authorized for use by the State of California are:

  1. Public Key Cryptography, and
  2. Signature Dynamics.

Related Principles:


Sound Business Practices:


Laws, State Codes, Regulations and Mandates:

  • California Government Code 16.5
  • California Civil Code 1633.1 – 1633.17
  • California Code of Regulations, Title 2, Division 7, Chapter 10, (Cal. Admin. Code tit. 2, § 22003)


CO Manager:

Ms. Roberta McNiel  
Internal Control & Compliance Manager, Financial Systems
CSU Office of the Chancellor

Subject Expert:

Ms. Roberta McNiel  
Internal Control & Compliance Manager, Financial Systems
CSU Office of the Chancellor

Affinity Group: