Student Charge Files

Student-specific charging data will be provided via “Student Charge Files.”

Automated charge files will be delivered via the VitalSource SFTP once per schedule, on each invoice date. You can choose to set up automated retrieval processes with your IT Department or access the SFTP manually via an SFTP client.

We’ve included a sample of our default charge file format in this packet.

File Type: .csv

Naming Convention: IA_Charges_[YYYYMMDD].csv

File Columns:

  1. Catalog/Term Name
  2. Schedule Name
  3. Department
  4. Course
  5. Section
  6. Billing ISBN
  7. Author
  8. Title
  9. Student Name
  10. Student Email
  11. Student ID
  12. Charge/refund amount (charges are positive, refunds are negative)
  13. Charge/refund date (date charge/refund was generated)
  14. Charge or refund label
  15. Currency

Set Up Your Access to the VitalSource SFTP

Student Charge files will be delivered to an institution-specific SFTP folder on VitalSource’s SFTP.

In order to retrieve these files, your institution will need to set up an SSH Key in order to access our SFTP, regardless of whether you plan to set up automated retrieval processes with your IT Departments, or plan to access the SFTP manually via an SFTP client.


Create an SSH Key

  1. Open up the “Terminal” Application, which can be found under
    • Mac: Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal
    • PC: Search > Windows Terminal
  2. In the terminal window, paste: ssh-keygen -t rsa
  3. Press “Enter”
  4. You will be prompted to enter the file location where you want to save the key. Do not input anything and press “Enter” again.
  5. You will be promoted to enter a passphrase. Do not input anything and press “Enter” again.
  6. You will be promoted to enter the passphrase again. Do not input anything and press “Enter” again.
  7. You should see data stating your key fingerprint is ___ and your key randomart image is ___ followed by the command line.
  8. On this Command line paste: pbcopy < ~/.ssh/ and press “Enter.”
  9. Your SSH key is now in your clipboard.
  10. Open any text application, ex. Textedit or Word and paste. Your SSH public key will be now be listed. It should begin with ssh-rsa

Once you have set up your SHH Key, you’ll need to provide it to VitalSource in order to for us to set up the authentication that will grant you access to our SFTP.

  • Email your dedicated CSM or, provide your Public SSH Key and ask for the SSH Key to be applied to authenticate access to the VitalSource SFTP folder for your institution. Please identify your institution in your message.

VitalSource will apply the SSH Key and respond back with a confirmation and connection information.

Automating Retrieval of Student Charge Files

We highly recommend that you automate the retrieval and processing of charge files via an SFTP workflow in conjunction with your IT Department.


Automation saves time and ensures secure and efficient data exchange, offering various benefits:

  • Reduces human error risk: Automation minimizes errors like typos and incorrect permissions.
  • Saves time: Automated transfers are faster, especially for large or regular data transfers.
  • Reduces cost: Automation lowers file transfer expenses, including labor and storage costs.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: Automated SFTP processes are highly scalable They can accommodate increasing data volumes and complex file transfer requirements.
  • Enhanced Security and compliance: Automation enhances security by standardizing authentication and encryption practices. It ensures secure and compliant file transfers, meeting industry regulations.

Automating SFTP workflows reduces errors, boosts efficiency, and enhances data security.


Your institution’s IT Department will likely be well versed in setting up these types of workflows and likely already has an Automation Tool or Scripting Language in use for other IT processes, but a summary of the actions they need to take are as follows:

  • Create an SSH Key (see "create an SSH key" for instructions)
  • Create a script with server details, login credentials, and file paths. Use the SFTP command to transfer files between local and remote directories.
    • The hostname:
    • The port number for SFTP: 22
    • Login credentials: SSH Private Key
    • Source and destination directories for the file transfers.
    • Encryption settings for secure data transmission.
  • Write a script that contains commands to connect to the SFTP server, transfer files, and log transfer status.
  • Schedule the script to run regularly for automated file transfers at specified intervals

Connecting to the SFTP Server via SFTP Client

The following are instructions to access your Student Charge files via an SFTP client (Cyberduck, in this case).

  • Create an SSH Key (see above for instructions)
  • Download and Install Cyberduck:
  • Open a new Connection: Open Cyberduck, and create a new connection by clicking Open Connection button located at the top left of the application.


  • Add Connection Details: From the Open Connection dialogue, click on the dropdown at the top and Select SFTP (SSH Secure File transfer Protocol).

dropdown.png  selection.png


  • Next, look for the dropdown near the bottom that says SSH Private Key. Click the dropdown and select ~/.ssh/id_rsa. (This is where the SSH Key Generation application puts your private key.)

sftp.png  key.png

  • Finally, Input the server as and keep the port at 22. Enter your username that you specified in the Jira Ticket. No password is needed because we are authenticating with SSH Keys so leave that field blank.


  • A successful connection will automatically place you in your user directory.

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