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April 23, 2015 (Website Under Construction)

Records Common to Most Offices


A document detailing the record series and retention periods for ISU's records is currently in the final stages of preparation. This document, once approved, will be posted to the Records Management Website. Until the ISU Record Retention Schedule is available, follow these guidelines to determine if your records are ready to be purged or destroyed.

Kinds of Records you can Expect to Find in your Office by Type

Are the files on my computer records?
This is a broad, but common question. Computer-based records, or electronic records, are the fastest growing type of record today. To answer this question reliably requires knowledge of the content and purpose of a given file. Knowing what the file contains, or what it is about, determines its classification as a record, not whether or not it is on a hard drive, a server, a CD-ROM, or other storage device.

To FAQ's page


  • Travel authorization "carbons"
  • Reimbursement request form "carbons"
  • Budget files-
    • calculations, drafts, and final version copies
  • Grant management files -
    • expenditure records and project records
    • NOTE: A single copy of each proposal and final reports are permanent
  • Contracts for programs and related services -
    • ex: guest speakers
  • Purchasing files -
    • POs, "P-Card" statements, and receipts
  • Cash Handling -
    • documentation of deposits and cash flow.
    • (For example, money for entrance fees, field trip fees, etc.)


  • Memos (routine matters of the station/department)
  • Incoming letters and copies of responses
  • Letters (non-routine, formal matters of the department/college) ex: change in schedules, new curriculum format, funding announcements, etc.
  • Publications (flyers, brochures, web-page content)

For students, staff, and faculty:

  • Copies of time cards
  • Personnel Evaluations
  • Job applications
  • Vitae and resumes for department personnel

Student Files:

  • Files that document specifics of your departments' program(s)
    • (These files may be involved in 'credentialing,' helping verify subject matter specifics for future licensure and employment in this Department's specialties.)
  • Advising Files

Department/Degree Program-Specific Records:

  • Syllabus and related program-of-study information
  • Brochures or promotional materials about your degrees


Records by type, with notes about retention and destruction


  • Routine Transactions:
    • Travel authorizations, reimbursement requests, and purchasing and cash handling records all share the same retention period: Temporary. Hold until end of fiscal year of creation + 3 years.
  • Budget files :
    • calculations, drafts, and final version copies. Temporary. Hold until fiscal year end (June 30th ) + 3 years, then destroy.
  • Contracts:
    • Records for contractual services and programs (ex: guest speakers). Temporary. Hold until end of contract + 3 years, then destroy.
  • Grants documentation :
    • Financial and personnel records. Temporary. Hold until end of Grant period + 3 years, then destroy.
    • Final project and periodic reports, as well as initial proposals (if available). Permanent. Retain in office of origin until capacity is met, then transfer to University Archives.


  • Correspondence -
    • Informal/routine - meeting notices, availability of a resource, when co-worker will be back, general announcements - Temporary. Destroy 3 years after close of fiscal year of creation.
    • Formal - typically signed by the department chair, includes letters, memos and emails related to accreditation, curriculum, programmatic changes, re-valuation of course credits, petitions, etc. Also includes letters describing the work of the department and its deadlines and deliverables. Permanent.
  • Meeting Minutes -
    • Those that originate within the department - Does not include copies of minutes from meetings attended by staff, faculty or department chair. Permanent. Organize in year, date order. Transfer to University Archives when departmental storage capacity is met.
  • Publications -
    • Brochures, flyers, etc., promoting the services of the department.
    • Newsletters. Some presentations, depending on the event or use.
    • Reports, statistical analyses, syllabus, etc.
    • Permanent. Transfer to University Archives when capacity is met.


  • Time sheets:
    • for faculty/staff/temps and regular students - Temporary. Keep until completion of next time card then destroy confidentially. Exception: When position is entirely or partially paid out of grant funds - then maintain these records for the same period as grant files.
    • Time Sheets for work study students - Temporary. End of employment plus 5 years then destroy confidentially.

Performance Evaluations:

  • Staff/temps and regular students - Temporary. Maintain until completion of the next review, then purge. Destroy confidentially.
  • Faculty tenure and review - Temporary. Dependent on the tenure cycle of the individual. Annual performance reviews, if created, should be maintained, along with student evaluations for courses taught, for the period leading up to the formal tenure review.
  • When to destroy confidentially:
    • Once the tenure review is completed, and notice is received by the faculty member from the Academic Vice President either extending or denying tenure, wait 90 days and then purge the file(s) (return tenure presentation materials to the faculty member). The next tenure review will be based on the materials accumulated since the last review.

General employee information -

  • emergency contact, copy of certification, committee appointments, schedule information. Temporary. Confidentially destroy 5 years after last date of employment, unless employee is party to litigation/complaint process.


Student Records:

  • Student files may contain the following -
    • Emergency contact list
    • Department policy signoff w/computer use form
    • Student handbook furnished form
    • Prerequisite forms (each semester)
    • Unofficial ISU Transcripts
  • Temporary. Maintain all of the above student records for 5 years after date of graduation then destroy confidentially.
  • Consent for release of information -
    • Permanent. Transfer to Student Services for collation into student's permanent file. Remove from file prior to shredding of other documents in Student file.

Interview file -

  • students seeing corporate recruiters- May include resume, appointment times, etc. Temporary. Keep no more than one year from date of interview. Destroy confidentially.

Credentialing Materials -

  • records used to certify that a student has fulfilled their program-specific requirements to the satisfaction of the related accrediting organization or licensing agency. Temporary.


About Credentialing Records:

while temporary, these records must be maintained until the end of the students' average working life. ISU currently considers these to be 30-year records with plans to revisit this requirement in approximately two years. Departments that create credentialing records may set these materials aside when purging student files. The ISU Schedule allows for this and records management can help with storage. Estimated based on the US Census average retirement age of 68 years, or until such time as the relevant oversight agencies establish a different status.

NOTE: These records are protected from release without student approval per FERPA.

Once you have performed a records survey and identified the types of records your department creates and maintains, then you will need to determine their retention periods and whether there is an established record series describing them.

When you know what type of records you have, then you will know which of your departments records may be purged or destroyed. See Purges and Destruction of Records.

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