Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Business Office

Record Retention Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure necessary records and documents are adequately protected and maintained and to ensure records that are no longer needed or of no value are discarded at the appropriate time.

Administration

The Vice President for Fiscal Affairs is responsible for developing and implementing policies governing the retention and disposal of the University’s records

The Vice President for Fiscal Affairs will designate others, on an ad hoc basis, to assist in implementing the record retention policy, including the following:

  • Identify and evaluate which records should be retained;
  • Publish a retention and disposal schedule that is in compliance with local, state, and federal laws.
  • Monitor local, state, and federal laws affecting record retention
  • Annually review the record retention and disposal program
  • Develop a training program for personnel responsible for record storage and maintenance
  • Monitor for compliance with the record retention and disposal program

Each department will prepare a listing of major documentation used and maintained by the department and will compare it to the documents listed in the Record Retention Policy. In addition, each department chair periodically will review currently used records and forms to determine whether these records and forms are adequate and appropriate for the department’s requirements.

Each department chair periodically will review the policy to determine any special circumstances that necessitate changes in the retention periods. Requests for changes in retention periods or deviations from specified retention periods should be made to the office of the Vice President for Fiscal Affairs, and may be implemented only after approval by counsel.

In the event of a governmental audit, investigation, or pending litigation, record disposal may be suspended at the direction of the Vice President for Fiscal Affairs. In addition, the Vice President for Fiscal Affairs should be informed of any situation that might give rise to legal action as soon as the situation becomes apparent.

Applicability

This policy applies to all records generated in the course of the university’s operations, including both original documents and reproductions. It also applies to records stored on computer and microform as well as paper records.

1. Retention Periods

ACT = while active, employed, or enrolled
LIFE = life of affected employee
PERM = permanent

General

INSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL RECORDS

Document Retention Period
Articles of Incorporation PERM
Charter PERM
By-Laws PERM
Minutes of Trustee’s Meetings PERM
Minutes of Trustee’s Committee Meetings PERM
Licenses PERM
Expired Licenses 6 years
Deeds and Titles PERM
Attorney Opinion Letters (property) ACT + 4 years
Leases ACT + 6 years
Policy Statements 10 years
Campus Crime Reports (annual) 4 years
Campus Crime Reports (interim) 2 years
Contracts ACT + 5 years
Patent, Copyright and Trademark Records PERM
General Correspondence not Separately Covered in this Document 3 years

Admission and Financial Aid

APPLICATION MATERIALS FOR STUDENTS WHO ENTER

Document Retention Period
Acceptance Letters 6 years after date of last attendance
Applications 6 years after date of last attendance
Correspondence 6 years after date of last attendance
Entrance Exams and Placement Scores 6 years after date of last attendance
Letters of Recommendation Until Admitted

APPLICATION MATERIALS FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE ACCEPTED BUT DO NOT ENTER

Document Retention Period
Acceptance Letters 3 years after application term
Applications 3 years after application term
Correspondence 3 years after application term
Individual Complaint or Problem 6 years after last entry
Summary Record for Individual Complaint PERM
Transcripts 3 years after application term

FINANCIAL AID RECORDS

Document Retention Period
Applications 6 years
Financial Aid Awards ACT + 6 years
Financial Aid Transcripts 6 years
Job Placement ACT + 6 years
Lender’s Name and Address ACT + 6 years
Other documents in Financial Aid Files ACT + 6 years
Promissory Notes PERM
Repayment History ACT + 6 years
Summary Statistical Reports PERM

Provost

REGISTRAR

Individual Student Records:

Document Retention Period
Academic Records PERM
Advanced Placement PERM
Application for Graduation 1 year after date of last attendance
Course Catalogs  
(10) in Registrar’s Office 10 years
(2) in Registrar Office, (2) in Library PERM
Course Drop/Add Slips 5 years
Class Rolls 1 year after end of semester
Diplomas Not Picked up by Student 2 years
FERPA Requests Life of requested record
Independent Study Forms PERM
NSLC Reports 1 year after end of semester
Pass/Fail Requests PERM
Personal Data Forms PERM
Registration Cards 1 year
Transcript Requests 1 year
(If requested by the student, no records are required.)  
Date of Graduation and Degree Award PERM
Degree Audit Records PERM
Transfer Credit Evaluations PERM
Name Change Authorizations PERM
Withdrawal Forms 2 years after date of last attendance

General Student Records:

Document Retention Period
Applicant Statistics PERM
Class Schedule Including Class Title, Location, Dates, and Time PERM
Degree Statistics PERM
Enrollment Statistics PERM
Grade Statistics PERM
Racial/Ethnic Statistics PERM

Academic Affairs:

Document Retention Period
Accreditation Document PERM
Accreditation Supporting Documents 10 years
Course Syllabi 6 years
Commencement Program PERM
Curriculum Development (Course Worksheet, Evaluations and Recommendations 6 years
Faculty Evaluations 6 years

INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS

Document Retention Period
Foreign Student (I-20) Forms 10 years
International Student Files 10 years
Academic Abroad Program Contracts 5 years
Study Abroad Applications 5 years

Fiscal Affairs

HUMAN RESOURCES

Employment Applications/Employment Listings:

Document Retention Period
Applicants Who Are Not Hired 1 year
Applicants Who Are Hired PERM
Background Investigation Results 1 year
Employment Applications 1 year
Job Announcements and Advertisements 1 year
Letters of Recommendation 1 year
Medical Examinations ACT + 3 years

Faculty Files

Document Retention Period
Correspondence ACT + 5 years
Course Evaluation Forms 3 years
Faculty Committee Evaluation Reports PERM
Peer Review Documents 4 years
Scholastic Evaluation 4 years
Tenure Records ACT

Individual Employee Files

Document Retention Period
Attendance Records 3 years
Beneficiary Designation ACT
Disciplinary Warnings and Actions 3 years
Emergency Contacts ACT
Employee Evaluations 3 years
Employment Application or Resume ACT
Employment History ACT
Layoff or Termination 3 years
Medical Records ACT
Personnel Actions 3 years
Promotions ACT
Transfers 3 years

General Files

Document Retention Period
EEO-6 Reports 3 years
Expired Collective Bargaining Agreements 6 years
Faculty Committee Evaluation Reports ACT
IRS Form I-9 3 years
Superseded Employee Manuals 10 years

Employee Health and Safety:

Document Retention Period
Accident Reports 6 years
Exposed Employee Medical Records 30 years
Employee Exposure Records 30 years
Employee Injury Records 6 years
Employee Medical Complaints 6 years
Safety Records 6 years

Pension and Benefits Records:

Document Retention Period
Actuarial Records 6 years
Education Assistance LIFE
Disability Records LIFE
Incentive Plans (after expiration) 6 years
Individual Employee Files LIFE
Pension Plan (after expiration) 6 years
Retirement Benefits Accrued LIFE
Retirement Plans (after expiration) 6 years
Sick Leave Benefits LIFE
Vesting 6 years
401K Benefits Accrued LIFE

BUSINESS OFFICE

Payroll Records:

Document Retention Period
Cost of Living Tables 1 year
Garnishments ACT
IRS Form W-2 6 years
IRS Form W-4 6 years
IRS Form 941 PERM
Payroll Deductions 6 years
Salary or Current Rate of Pay 6 years
Time Cards or Sheets 5 years
Wage Rate Tables 3 years
Wage or Salary History 6 years
Payroll Registers 6 years

Accounts Receivable Records:

Document Retention Period
Accounts Receivable 4 years
Accounts Receivable Ledgers 4 years
Collection Records ACT
Receipts 4 years
Uncollected Accounts 4 years
1098T Tax Forms 6 years
1098E Tax Forms 6 years

Accounts Payable Records:

Document Retention Period
Accounts Payable Ledgers 4 years
Expense Reports 4 years
Invoices 4 years
Payment/Disbursement Records 4 years
Purchase Requisitions/Work Orders 4 years

Financial Records:

Document Retention Period
Annual Budget Detailed Workpapers 20 years
Auditor’s Reports PERM
Audit Workpapers 3 years
Bank Deposit Records 6 years
Bank Statements and Cancelled Checks 6 years
Budget Adjustment Forms 6 years
Budget Committee Minutes PERM
Endowment Custodian Reports 10 years
General Ledger Journal Entry Forms 6 years
General Ledger Summary Account Balance PERM
General Ledger Transaction Detail 20 years
Gift Annuity Contracts PERM
Grant Proposal (unsuccessful) 3 years
Grant Proposal (successful) ACT +4 years
Monthly Financial Reports 6 years
Two-Page Budget Summary PERM
Trust Documents PERM
Unclaimed Property Reports 10 years
Wills and Estate Documents PERM

Federal Tax Records:

Document Retention Period
IRS Form 990 PERM
IRS Form 990-Detailed Supporting Working Papers 3 years
IRS Form 990-T PERM
IRS Form 990-T-Detailed Supporting Working Papers 3 years
IRS Form 1099Misc, 1099R, 1099E 3 years

Loan Documents:

Document Retention Period
Promissory Notes – Paid in Full or Cancelled ACT + 3 years
Transaction Journals 3 years beyond paid in full

Litigation Records:

Document Retention Period
Claims ACT + 10 years
Court Documents and Records ACT + 10 years
Deposition Transcripts ACT + 10 years
Discovery Materials ACT + 10 years
Litigation Files ACT + 10 years

PHYSICAL PLANT

Facilities Records:

Document Retention Period
Air or Water Waste Emissions 3 years
Building Permits ACT + 1 year
Building Plans and Specifications PERM
Hazardous Chemical Waste Records 5 years
Laboratory Practices ACT
Maintenance Records ACT
Motor Vehicle Records ACT
Office Layouts ACT
Operating Permits ACT
Zoning Permits ACT

Capital Property Records:

Document Retention Period
Blueprints PERM
Equipment Inventory ACT
Depreciation Schedules ACT + 4 years
Mortgage Records ACT + 4 years
Property Improvement Records ACT + 4 years
Property Records/Inventory ACT + 4 years
Sales 4 years

Insurance:

Document Retention Period
Fire Inspection Reports 6 years
Insurance Claim Working Papers 10 years after settlement
Insurance Policies PERM

Advancement

INSTITUTIONAL PUBLICATIONS

Document Retention Period
Alumni Directories 3 years
Alumni Newsletters 3 years
College Press Publication List 5 years
Bulletins and course Catalogs 10 years
Donor Intent/Pledge Forms ($10,000 & up) ACT + 4 years
Endowed Fund Agreements PERM
Employee Directories 5 years
Institutional Newspapers/Newsletters 3 years
Student Directories 5 years
Student Newspapers 3 years

Student Services

CAREER SERVICES

Document Retention Period
Annual Report to VP 5 years
Graduate Survey Records PERM
Student Career Planning Records ACT + 10 years
Teacher Credential Records (prior to 1997) PERM

COUNSELING SERVICES

Document Retention Period
Counseling Records
(as required by Rules & Regulations of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologist)
ACT + 10 years

DEAN OF STUDENTS

Document Retention Period
Student Files ACT + 4 years
Discipline Hearing Files ACT + 10 years

HEALTH SERVICES

Document Retention Period
Health Records ACT + 7 years
Vaccination Records (other than flu vaccines) PERM

RELIGIOUS LIFE

Document Retention Period
Chapel Bulletins & Attendance PERM
Program Files 4 years
Student Academic Advisees ACT
Student Files ACT

RESIDENCE LIFE

Document Retention Period
Housing ACT + 4 years

STUDENT ACTIVITIES

Document Retention Period
Committee Files 10 years
Student Organization Budgets ACT + 4 years
Student Organization Constitutions ACT + 6 years
Program Files 10 years
Letters of Recommendation PERM
Student Publications (1 copy) PERM
Orientation Guides (1 copy) 10 years
Publications 10 years
Event Forms ACT + 1 year

INTRAMURAL AND RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES

Document Retention Period
Letters of Recommendation PERM
Accident Reports 6 years
Participant Liability Waivers 6 years
Disciplinary Files ACT
Committee Files 5 years
Program Files 5 years