Records Retention and Destruction

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Policy title:

Records Retention and Destruction

Human Resources
Human Resources
Approved by:
Business and Human Resources Offices
Policy statement

Purpose of the Records Retention Policy
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines that each department of Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU) should follow in organizing and retaining its records.

Definition of “Record”:
A record is recorded information, regardless of media or characteristics, that is made by, received by, and/or used in the operation of an organization. Records include materials created internally and by third parties. Records are writings of any kind, including, without limitation: correspondence, including electronic mail communications; memoranda; handwritten or other notes; diaries; calendars; proposals; statistics; letters; materials; invoices; orders; directives; interviews; telegrams; minutes; reports; studies; contracts; statements; transcripts; summaries; pamphlets; books; interoffice and intraoffice communications; notations of any sort of conversation, telephone calls, meetings or other communications; bulletins; printed matter; teletype; telefax; worksheets; and all drafts, alterations, modifications, changes and amendments of any of the foregoing; graphic or aural recordings or representations of any kind, including without limitation, photographs, charts, graphs, microfiche, microfilm, videotape, records, motion pictures; and computerized, electronic, mechanical, or electrical recordings or representations of any kind, including without limitation, tapes, cassettes, cartridges, discs, chips, and records.

Notes on the Policy:
This policy assists NWU in ensuring that:

  1. The University retains records for the required periods of time as governed by Federal and State Laws.
  2. All records necessary for business purposes are retained for a period of time that will reasonably assure their availability as needed.
  3. The University will maintain adequate records to document its compliance with relevant laws to the best of its ability.
  4. Vital records will be safeguarded.
  5. All unnecessary records may (and should) be destroyed in order to reduce the high cost of storing and indexing these records.
  6. Destruction of records shall take place only in compliance with a standard policy which has been developed for business purposes in order to avoid the inference that any record was destroyed in anticipation of, or as a result of, a specific problem.
  7. Records not subject to retention under this policy must nonetheless be retained in certain circumstances, such as in the event of threatened claims, litigation, or government inspections. Care will be taken to ensure that any and all records relating to such claims, litigation, government inspections, etc. are retained. Such records will not be destroyed unless and until permission for destruction has been granted by the President and Vice President for Finance and Administration.
  8. The privacy and security of records shall be appropriately assured.
  9. Records that are maintained in individual offices, at home, or any other off- site location are subject to these guidelines and shall not be retained in excess of these guidelines.
  10. When destroying records pursuant to this policy, each department should consider whether the records to be discarded are of a confidential or sensitive nature and, if they are, should ensure that such confidential or sensitive records are shredded before they are discarded.

Table of Contents

I. Admissions
II. Commencement
III. Financial Aid
IV. International Education
V. Registrar
VI. Student Life
VII. Alumni/University Advancement
VIII. Library
IX. Business Office
X. Human Resources
XI. Maintenance/Physical Plant
XII. Physics
XIII. President’s Office

I. Admissions
  Retention Period
Advanced placement records, applications for admission or readmission, correspondence that is relevant, entrance exam reports (ACT, CEEB, etc), residency classification forms, letters of recommendation, transcripts – high school or other college 2 years from date of start of application term

II. Commencement
  Retention Period
Commencement programs Permanent

III. Financial Aid
  Retention Period
Financial aid records (applicants who do not enroll) 3 years from date of graduation
Financial aid records (applicants who enroll) 5 years from graduation date
Student Loan records 3 years after the loan has been repaid in full

IV. International Education
  Retention Period
International student forms (visa documentation, etc) 5 Years

V. Registrar
  Retention Period
Academic actions(dismissal, etc) 5 years from graduation or date of last attendance
Academic records (including narrative evaluations competency assessments, etc) Permanent
Advanced placement records, applications for admission or readmission, correspondence that is relevant, entrance exam reports (ACT, CEEB, etc.) 5 years from graduation or date of last attendance
Catalogs Permanent
Change of Course forms-Continuing Education, Summer Sessions and Extramural Studies 5 years from date of enrollment
Change of Grade forms Permanent
Change to Student ID number Permanent
Class Lists(original) Permanent
Consent to Release Personally Identifiable Information Kept until next academic year signatures kept 5 years
Course offerings Permanent
Curriculum Change Authorizations 5 years from graduation or date of last attendance
Degree, grade, enrollment and racial/ethnic statistics Permanent
Grade Sheets Permanent
Graduation Lists Permanent
Hold or Encumbrance Authorizations Until Released
Letters of recommendation Until date of admission
Name Changes Permanent
Original Grade Sheets Permanent
Recruitment materials Until date of enrollment
Residency certificates Until date of enrollment
Residency change documents(non-resident to resident) 5 years from graduation or date of last attendance
Schedule of classes Permanent
Student Class Schedules 1 year from graduation date or date of last attendance
Student Registration forms- Continuing Education, Summer Sessions, and Extramural Studies 1 year from registration
Student Waivers for Right of Access Until graduation or date of last attendance
Term Reports 5-7 years
Transcript requests 1 year from submission date
Transcripts Permanent
Transcripts – High School and other college Until graduation or date of last attendance
Transfer Credit Evaluations 5 years from graduationVeteran Administration Certifications
Veteran Administration Certifications 5 years from graduation or date of last attendance
Withdrawal Authorizations/Leaves of Absence 2 years

VI. Student Life


Retention Period

Disciplinary records(findings of violation and related case files)

Permanent where penalty imposed is probation, suspension or expulsion (dismissal) otherwise in accordance with the record retention policy of the office of Judicial Administrator

Student Health records

10 years

VII. Alumni/University Advancement
  Retention Period
Alumni records Permanent
Gift records 6 years for hard copy records, Permanent for electronic records
Gifts of art Permanent
Original gift letter agreements, signed by the President and the donor Permanent
Original gift letter agreements, all others Permanent
Planned gifts (trusts, life income, agreements, annuities), real estate gifts Permanent

VIII. Library
  Retention Period
Books, professional periodicals, published reports, etc. Review annually for usefulness and discard obsolete material
Material of historical value (pictures, publications, notes, etc.) Permanent
Trade association materials Review annually for usefulness

IX. Business Office
  Retention Period
Account recollections (balance sheet) 6 Years
Accounting reports (monthly reports) Schedule of Department Balances, Transaction Statements, Account Analysis Statements, monthly and year-todate salary and wage statements 6 Years
Accounts Payable Vouchers and attachments 6 Years
Accounts Receivable Statements 6 Years
Annual financial reports and work papers Permanent
As-built drawings Permanent
Assets: acquisition/disposition Life of Asset
Audit work papers 6 Years
Banking records, including deposit and withdrawal records, bank statements and reconciliation, voided and canceled checks 6 Years
Billing records 6 Years
Capital equipment records Life of asset; records of equipment purchased on federal funds must be retained for three years after final disposition
Cash receipts 6 Years
Certificate of Insurance, Indemnification agreements, hold-harmless agreements, contracts 6 years after expiration
Collection letters after the account is paid in full 1-5 years
Collection litigation files 3 years after legal settlement and satisfaction of judgment
Contracts and agreements 6 Years
Credit Card charge documentation 6 Years
Depreciation records Life of Asset
Documents for leases, licenses, construction contracts and other contracts of a temporary nature, valued at less than $50,000 6 years after expiration of lease or contract term
Excise tax returns 6 Years
Incident reports, Accident Reports 4 years after report date
Insurance Policies (liability, property, and other policies Permanent
Inventories Life of Asset
Journal entries and back-up documentation 6 Years
New account records and back-up documentation 6 years after account closing
Plans and projections Permanent
Property deeds, easements, licenses, rights of way, leases, rights of first refusal, remainder interests, mortgages Permanent
Property tax returns 6 years
Purchase orders, contracts agreements 6 years
Sales tax returns 6 years
Student loan records 3 years after the loan has been repaid in full
Subsidiary Ledgers (Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, etc) 6 Years
Summary Analysis Reports, end of year (fund, source, function) 6 Years
Title insurance policies 10 years after disposal of property
Travel Reimbursements and attachments 6 Years
Trial Balance 6 Years
Tuition and fee charges 6 Years

X. Human Resources
  Retention Period
Academic search plans and statements 3 Years
Academic search waivers For permanent waivers, 3 years from date of appointment; For limited term waivers, 3 years from satisfaction of subsequent search requirements or appointment termination
Affirmative action program Permanent
Annual Conflict of interest Disclosure Statements 3 Years
Annual Payment records(W2, Alpha lists, employee transactions lists) Permanent
Conciliation agreements/Orders on Consent Permanent
Documents supporting other academic or nonacademic selection decisions (e.g., promotion, termination, compensation) 3 years from effective date of decision
EEO-1 and EEO-2 employer information reports 2 years after superseded or filing (whichever is longer)
Employee Eligibility for pension 6 years after death of eligible employee and beneficiary
Employee personal information (name, address, social security numbers, period of employment) 6 years after death or eligible employee and beneficiary
Employee service records 6 years after death of eligible employee and beneficiary
Employees personnel files (Including application, resume, payroll, appointment/salary forms) 6 years after termination
Federal reporting requirements: welfare benefits and other fringe benefits plans (i.e., 5500-s) Permanent
Federal and state required statistics and reports Permanent
Grievances No cause findings: 3 years from determination Cause findings, Permanent
I-9 Forms (faculty and staff) 3 Years, or 1 year after termination (whichever is greater)
I-9 Forms (students) 3 years, or 1 year after terminations (whichever is greater)
Imputed Income records 6 Years
Individual contracts of employment 6 years after termination
Information returns filed with federal and state authorities (W2, 941, 1042S, etc) 6 Years
Job descriptions 3 years after superseded
Leave reporting documents 4 Years
Nonacademic search and hiring forms (Office of Workforce, Diversity, Equity and Life Quality copies of requisition forms, applicant flow cards, ACSS forms, search waivers, documentation of hiring decision forms) 3 years from date of appointment
Nonacademic search materials and documents supporting hiring selection decisions 3 years from date of appointment
Occupational Injury or illness 5 Years
Payroll deduction authorization forms (W4, DBD, CFCU, Bonds) 5 years after employment ends
Payroll vouchers 3 Years
Pension or pension plans filed with the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service Permanent
Pension paid to employees or their beneficiaries 6 years after death of employee and beneficiary
Pension plans and all attached amendments Permanent
Performance appraisals 3 Years after separation
Personnel files, appointment letters and forms  
Record of payments and deductions (payroll registers, deductions lists, adjustments) 5 Years
Search committee records, including employment applications, resumes, and all applicant search materials 3 Years
Sexual harassment complaints, investigations and findings No Cause findings, 3 years from determination. Cause findings, Permanent
Tenure of promotion dossiers If action approved, 3 years If tenure denied, 3 years from end of term appointment
Time cards, other 3 Years
Time cards, student 3 years after the date that all student loans are paid
Wage assignment orders 5 years after closed
Worker’s compensation claims and insurance polices 18 Years

XI. Maintenance/Physical Plant
  Retention Period
Accident report 4 years after report date
Crime report 4 years after report date
Evacuation drill records 5 Years
Fire Protection Systems 5 Years
Hazardous waste disposal manifest and reports 3 Years
Incident records 5 Years
Portable extinguisher training records 3 Years
Property damage reports 4 years after report date
Radioactive material receiving and inventory records 3 Years
Radioactive materials license and safety committee records Permanent

XII. Physics
  Retention Period
Radiation dose reports Permanent
Radiation safety training records 3 Years

XIII. President’s Office
  Retention Period
Board of Trustee minutes Permanent
Bylaws Permanent
Charter Permanent


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