Record Retention Policy

The goals of Alfred University’s record retention policy are:

  • To ensure that all non-critical records are retained for no longer than the minimum period required by law, thereby eliminating the storage space problem and minimizing expenses
  • To ensure that all critical records, including those which may substantially affect the obligations of the University or document the University’s compliance with the law, are retained for a sufficient period of time as to be useful to that end; and
  • To ensure that records are destroyed only pursuant to a standard policy which has been developed for business reasons

Contacts

Direct any questions about this policy to your department’s administrative manager. If you have questions about specific issues, call the following offices

Contacts
Subject Contact Telephone
Electronic Media Storage ITS 607-871-2806
Archives Herrick/Scholes Libraries Herrick 607-871-2184
Scholes 607-871-2492
Policy Clarification or Exceptions Controller 607-871-2128


Attached to this policy is a Records Retention Schedule. This Schedule sets forth the recommended minimum retention period for each category of records. The categories are intended to be general and should be interpreted as including all types of records relating to that category, including correspondence, notes, reports, etc. The schedule also lists the official repositories for University records. Departments that are not official repositories and that retain duplicate or multiple copies of these records, should dispose of them when they are no longer useful.

Records not identified should not be disposed of without first consulting with the Controller.

This policy shall apply to all records regardless of whether the records are stored on paper or on computer hard drives, floppy disks or other electronic media.

Departments that maintain University records are responsible for establishing appropriate record retention management practices. Each unit’s administrative manager or a designee must

  • Implement the unit’s and/or office’s record management practices;
  • Ensure that these management practices are consistent with this policy;
  • Educate staff within the administrative unit in understanding sound record management practices;
  • Preserve records of historic value and transfer those records to the Archives;
  • Ensure that access to confidential files is restricted with long-term restrictions on access to records that are archived being established at the time records are placed in permanent storage; and
  • Destroy inactive records that have no archival value upon completion of the applicable retention period

The Controller is responsible for the overall administration and enforcement of this policy. Either the Controller or another responsible person will monitor general compliance with this policy and is specifically charged with overseeing periodic reviews of records in accordance with the policy. Oversight shall include creation of an index of active and inactive records as well as maintaining records of all destroyed documents.

Following the minimum retention period, a determination of whether to preserve or dispose of the documents must be made. If there is a question regarding whether a record has historic value to the University, consult the University Archivist, who has authority to designate which records shall be archived.

Records to be destroyed in accordance with the attached retention schedule should be destroyed using a method that preserves the confidentially of the information, if applicable.

If records must be moved to an off-site storage location, the following considerations should be made when determining how such records will be stored

  • Access and retrieval needs, including frequency of retrieval, emergency access needs and potential costs associated with retrieving the records
  • Specific environmental conditions necessary to preserve the records
  • Security requirements to prevent unauthorized access to the records
  • Filing system to permit rapid retrieval of records

Documents that are sent to storage should be identified by category and should indicate a planned destruction date determined in accordance with the attached schedule. The individual responsible for carrying out this policy shall use these dates to identify records ready for destruction.

The University acknowledges its responsibility to preserve information relating to litigation, audits and investigations. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of July 30, 2002, makes it a crime to alter, cover up, falsify, or destroy any document to prevent its use in an official proceeding. Failure on the part of employees to follow this policy can result in possible civil and criminal sanctions against the University and its employees and possible disciplinary action against responsible individuals (up to and including termination of employment). Each employee has an obligation to contact the VP for Business and Finance of potential or actual litigation, external audit, investigation or similar proceeding involving the University that may have an impact as well on the approved records retention schedule.

The legally-required retention periods set forth on the attached schedule presumes the operation of the University in the “ordinary course of business.” Destruction of records relating to litigation or governmental investigations may constitute a criminal offense. The VP for Business and Finance shall be responsible for suspending destruction of any University records as soon as litigation, federal government investigation, civil action, audit by a governmental agency or enforcement proceeding is suspected, reasonably anticipated or is commenced against the University, its officers, directors or employees. The VP for Business and Finance shall be responsible for notifying individuals at the University responsible for record retention activities to ensure that destruction of records is suspended until the litigation, investigation or proceeding is complete.

Work related electronic mail (“e-mail”) messages are corporate records and must be treated as such. It is the responsibility of the sender of the e-mail message and the recipient of messages from outside the University to manage e-mail messages according to this records retention policy. An e-mail message that does not meet the definition of a record (i.e., personal e-mail or junk e-mail) should be deleted immediately from the system.

The University’s e-mail servers are NOT intended for long-term record retention. E-mail messages and any associated attachment(s) with retention periods greater than three (3) years should be kept in similar fashion to paper records or electronically stored in an appropriate file on the network drive, so that it may be maintained and stored in accordance with the records retention policy. It is important to note that the e-mail messages should be kept with any attachment(s). The printed or electronic copy of the e-mail message must contain the following header information

  • Who sent the message;
  • Who the message was sent to;
  • Date and time the message was sent; and
  • The subject of the message

When e-mail is used as a transport mechanism for other record types, it is possible, based on the content, for the retention and disposition periods of the e-mail message and the transported record(s) to differ. In this case, the longest retention period shall apply.

An e-mail message can be deleted once a paper copy has been printed or the e-mail message has been stored electronically in a file on the network drive. The paper copy or the electronic copy must be retained for the correct time period as determined by this record retention policy.

It is Information Technology Services’ policy to keep three months of daily backups of active email accounts. When employees separate from service their email accounts are archived for one year.

In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students may inspect their education records. In addition, FERPA limits disclosure to others of personally identifiable information from education records without the student’s prior written consent. Finally, FERPA provides students the opportunity to seek correction of their education records where appropriate. For more information on FERPA and the release of students’ information, please refer to the FERPA policy set forth in the University’s Student Handbook.

Some student records contain private health information and are subject to the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). For more information on HIPAA and the protection of private health information, please refer to the University’s HIPPA policy.

Corporate Records
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Charter Permanent Vault
Bylaws Permanent Vault
Board meeting agendas & materials 7 years President
Board and standing committee meeting minutes Permanent President
Conflict of interest disclosure forms 7 years President
Trustee files (info on individual trustees including correspondence) Permanent President
Licenses Permanent Vault
Accreditation Documents Permanent Provost
Accreditation Supporting Documents 10 years Provost
Campus Crime Reports Permanent Student Affairs
Finance & Administration
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Accounts payable ledger, vouchers and attachments 7 years Controller
Purchasing Card statements & receipts 7 years Office Services
Accounts receivable ledger and statements 7 years Controller
Account Reconciliations (balance sheet) 7 years Controller
Auditor management letters Permanent VP Bus & Finance
Banking Records, including deposit and withdrawal records, bank statements and reconciliation, voided and canceled checks 7 years Controller
Billing Records 7 years Controller
Capital Equipment Records Life of Asset; records of equipment purchased on federal funds must be retained for 3-years after final disposition Controller
Cash Receipts 7 years Controller
Chart of accounts 7 years Controller
Contracts & agreements 7 years after all obligations end VP Bus & Finance
Correspondence – general 1 year Various
Depreciation Records Life of the Asset Controller
Equipment files & maintenance records 7 years after disposition Various
Expense reports 7 years Controller
Financial statements (audited) and work papers Permanent Controller
Indirect Cost Rate Calculations 7 years Sponsored Research Adm
Inventories Life of the Assett Controller
Dept of Homeland Security Form I-9 (store separate from personnel file) Greater of 1 year after end of service, or 3 years Human Resources
Ledgers & journals (includes bank reconciliations, fund accounting by month, payouts allocation, securities lending, single fund allocation, trust statements) 7 years Controller
Investment performance reports 7 years Controller
Investment manager correspondence 7 years Controller
Investment manager contracts 7 years after all obligations end Controller
Investment consultant reports 7 years Controller
Bond proceeds expenditures 3 years after the bond is retired VP Bus & Finance
Journal entries with backup 7 years Controller
Detail General Ledger Permanent Controller
Subsidiary Ledgers 7 years Controller
Trial Balances 7 years Controller
Insurance Files
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Certificates of Insurance, Indemnification Agreements, Hold Harmless Agreements, Contracts 7 years after expiration VP Bus & Finance
Insurance Policies (liability, property and other policies) Permanent VP Bus & Finance
Incident Reports and Accident Reports 4 years after report date VP Bus & Finance
Fire inspection reports 7 years Physical Plant
Safety (OSHA) reports Permanent Envir Health & Safety
Claims (after settlement) 7 years VP Bus & Finance
Real Estate
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Deeds Permanent Vault
Leases (expired) 7 years after all obligations end Vault
Mortgages, security agreements 7 years after all obligations end Vault
Purchase agreements 7 years after disposition of property Vault
Tax
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Excise Tax Returns 7 years after return is filed Controller
Income Tax Returns 7 years after return is filed Controller
Information Returns (990, 1099, 8282, etc.) 7 years after return is filed Controller
IRS exemption determination & related correspondence Permanent Vault
Sales Tax Returns 7 years after return is filed Controller
Tax audit closing letters Permanent Controller
Alumni Affairs and Development
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Alumni Records Permanent Univ Relations
Gift Records 7 years for hard copy records; Permanent for electronic records Univ Relations
Original Gift Letter Agreements Permanent Vault
Planned Gifts and Real Estate Gifts Permanent Vault
Communications
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Annual reports Permanent Various
Other publications Permanent Univ Relations
Photos Permanent Univ Relations
Press clippings N/A Univ Relations
Press releases 7 years Univ Relations
Research reports/surveys 3 years Univ Relations
Year-end reports 10 years Various
Environmental Health and Safety
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Evacuation Drill Records 5 years Env Health & Saf
Fire Protection Systems Records 5 years Physical Plant
Hazardous Waste Disposal Manifests and Reports 3 years Env Health & Saf
Incident Records 5 years Env Health & Saf
Portable Extinguisher Training Records 3 years Env Health & Saf
Radiation Dose Reports Permanent Env Health & Saf
Radiation Safety Training Records 3 years Env Health & Saf
Radioactive Materials License and Safety Committee Records Permanent Env Health & Saf
Radioactive Material Receiving and Inventory Records 3 years Env Health & Saf
Human Resources
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Consultant contracts/files (expired) 7 years after all obligations end Human Resources
Contracts with employees 7 years after all obligations end Human Resources
Disability & sick-benefit records 7 years from date of termination Human Resources
Employment applications and resumes – non-employees 3 years Various
Employee handbooks Permanent Human Resources
Employee orientation & training materials Permanent Human Resources
Personnel files, appointment letters and forms Permanent Human Resources
Federal Reporting Requirements: welfare benefits and other fringe benefit plans Permanent Human Resources
Occupational Injury or Illness Records 5 years Human Resources
Performance Appraisals 3 years after termination Human Resources
Search Committee Records, including employment applications, resumes and all applicant search materials 3 years Various (Recruiting Dept)
Union Agreements Permanent Human Resources
Volunteer Registration Forms, Parental Consent Forms and Agreements 3 years Human Resources
Workers compensation claims (after settlement) 10 years Human Resources
Payroll
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Annual Payment Records Permanent Payroll
Imputed Income Records (W2’s) 10 years Payroll
Information Returns filed with Federal and State authorities 10 years after returns filed Payroll
Leave Reporting Documents 10 years Human Resources
Payroll Deduction Authorization Forms (W4’s) 10 years after employment ends Human Resources
Payroll Vouchers (Personnel Action Forms) 10 years Payroll
Record of Payments and Deductions 10 years Human Resources
Time Cards, student 10 years Payroll
Time Cards, other 10 years Payroll
Wage Assignment Orders 10 years after closed Payroll
Pension
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Employee Eligibility for Pension 6 years after death of eligible employee or beneficiary Human Resources
Employee Personal Information 6 years after death of eligible employee or beneficiary Human Resources
Employee Service Records 6 years after death of eligible employee or beneficiary Human Resources
Plan Administrator Setting Forth Authority to Pay (records of) Permanent Human Resources
Pension Paid to Employees or Beneficiaries 6 years after death of eligible employee or beneficiary Human Resources
Pension Plans and All Attached Amendments Permanent Human Resources
Pensions or Pension Plans filed with Department of Labor and IRS Permanent Human Resources
Medical
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Health Center Services Patient Records 10 years Student Affairs
Counseling Client Records 10 years Student Affairs
Patents & Trademarks
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Invention Assignment forms Permanent Sponsored Research Adm
Licensing Agreements 7 years Sponsored Research Adm
Original Patents, Trademarks and Related Work Papers Permanent Sponsored Research Adm
Royalty Records Life of Patent or TM plus 7 years Sponsored Research Adm
Technology
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Software licenses & support agreements 7 years after all obligations end ITS and various departments
Public Safety
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Accident Repots 4 years after report date or until claimant reaches the age of 22 VP Bus & Finance
Crime Reports 4 years after report date Student Affairs
Property Damage Reports 4 years after report date VP Bus & Finance
Sponsored Projects, Contracts Grants
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Grant and Contract Applications, Proposals and Supporting Documents award documents, contracts, MOUs, PO’s and documentation pertaining to the administration of gifts/grants/contracts through close-out. After grant close 3 years for federal, 7 years for NYS, or as required by granting agency Sponsored Research Adm
Human Subject Records 3 years or contract period Sponsored Research Adm
Legal
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Consent Orders Permanent VP Bus & Finance
Court Orders Permanent VP Bus & Finance
Judgments Permanent VP Bus & Finance
Releases Permanent VP Bus & Finance
Settlements Permanent VP Bus & Finance
General Administration
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Directories 2 years ITS
Institutional Periodicals 2 years Univ Relations
Correspondence - President & CEO 7 years President
Correspondence – general 7 years Various
Appointment calendars – President & CEO 7 years President
Admissions Data for Applications Not Enrolling (Whether Accepted or Rejected)
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Applications for Admission or Readmission, Correspondence that is relevant, Test Scores, Letters of Recommendation, Transcripts, Essay and Other Achievements 3 years Admissions
Admissions Data for Applicants Who Enroll
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Application, Acceptance letters, essay, and other achievements 5 years after graduation/date of last attendance Student Affairs or Department (Graduate)
Letters of Recommendation, test scores, relevant correspondence, and copies of the application, acceptance letter, essay, transcript and other achievements 3 years Admissions
Student Waivers for Right of Access Until graduation/date of last attendance Registrar
Official Transcripts—high University, other college or other academic institution 7 years after graduation/date of last attendance Registrar
Registration and Academic Student Records
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Academic advisement files 3 years after graduation/date of last attendance Various
Change of Grade Forms Permanent Registrar
Course change records 2 year after date submitted Registrar
Credit/no credit approvals (audit, pass/fail, etc.) 2 year after date submitted Registrar
Certification of Graduation 7 years after graduation/date of last attendance Registrar
Credit by Examination reports/scores (AP,CLEP, etc) 7 years after graduation/date of last attendance Registrar
Curriculum change authorization (change/declaration of program, major, minor) 7 years after graduation/date of last attendance Registrar
Degree audit records 7 years after graduation/date of last attendance Registrar
Disciplinary Records 7 years after date of final obligation, Permanent if expelled Judicial Affairs
Academic Disciplinary Records 7 years after date of final obligation, Permanent if expelled Registrar
Divisional transfer requests 7 years after graduation/date of last attendance Registrar
Enrollment Verifications 2 year from enrollment date Registrar
Final Grade Rosters Permanent Registrar
Graduation Lists Permanent Registrar
Hold or Encumbrance Authorizations Until Released Registrar
Name change 7 years after graduation/last date of enrollment Registrar
Student Class Schedules 2 year from graduation/ date of last attendance Registrar
Student Registration Forms 2 year from registration Registrar
Transcript requests 2 year after date submitted Registrar
Alfred University Transcripts Permanent Registrar
Transfer credit requests/reports 7 years after graduation/date of last attendance Registrar
Veteran Administration Certifications 7 years after graduation/date of last attendance Registrar
Withdrawal authorization/leave of absence authorization 7 years after graduation/date of last attendance Registrar
Academic Personnel
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Academic Search Records 3 years Various
Annual Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statements 4 years Human Resources
Grievances No cause findings, 3 years from determination
Cause findings, Permanent
Provost
Tenure or Promotion Reports Until separation from service Provost
Bursar, Financial Aid Records
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Student loan records 3 years after loan repaid, canceled, or assigned to Dept. of Education if not being audited* *Some records may be retained for shorter duration. However, specific recordkeeping requirements apply for certain records related to Federal Student Aid programs. 34 C.F.R. 668.24 Controller
Financial Aid awards, grants, fellowships, scholarships (including Federal Work Study and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants)

Unsuccessful applicants: 3 years

Successful applicants: 4 years after graduation/date of last attendance

Office of Financial Aid
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Documents
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Requests for formal hearings Permanent Registrar
Requests and disclosures of personally identifiable information Permanent Registrar
Student requests for nondisclosure of directory information Permanent Registrar
Student statements on content of records regarding hearing panel decisions Permanent Registrar
Student’s written consent for records disclosure Permanent Registrar
Waiver for rights of access Permanent Registrar
Written decisions of hearing panels Permanent Registrar
Institutional Publications, Statistical Data/Documents, and Institutional Reports
Item Minimum Retention Period Official Repository
Degree statistics, Enrollment statistics, Grade statistics and Race/ethnicity statistics Permanent Registrar
Schedule of classes and class lists (institutional) Permanent Registrar
Institutional publications (catalogs, handbooks, programs, etc.) Permanent Registrar
Advertising materials, other than catalogues 5 years after compilation Admissions
Class standing reports Permanent Registrar
Commencement Programs Permanent Registrar
Tuition Fees and Schedules Permanent VP Bus & Finance
IPEDS/NYSED reports 7 years Institutional Research