- Admissions Records for Applicants Who DO NOT Enroll
Records Series Title Description Recommended Retention Period* Notes Admissions Documents Admissions letters Notices of admission, waitlist and denial 1 year AAT 1,2 Correspondence, relevant 1 year AAT 1 Waivers of rights of access (admissions) Waiving right of access to admission letters of recommendation 1 year AAT 1,2 Application Materials Applications for admission or re-admission Admission application such as undergraduate, graduate, international, or non-degree/special admittance 1 year AAT 1 Credit by examination Reports/scores on Advanced Placement, CLEP, PEP, etc. 1 year AG 1 Entrance examination reports/test scores Standardized test scores, such as ACT/SAT, LSAT, MCAT, GRE, TOEFL 1 year ATT 1 Medical records i.e. immunization records 1 year AAT 1 Letters of Recommendation (admissions) 1 year AAT 1 Military documents 1 year AAT 1 Placement test records/scores 1 year AAT 1 Residency classification forms 1 year AAT 1 Test scores (other) 1 year AAT 1 Transcripts (high school) 1 year AAT 1 Transcripts (other colleges) 1 year AAT 1,3 International Student Documents Alien Registration Receipt Card Evidence of admissibility as a permanent resident 1 year AAT 1 DS-2019 Certificate of eligibility for J1 visa status (formerly IAP-66) 1 year AAT 1 Employment Authorization (work permit), if granted 1 year AAT 1 I20 Certificate of eligibility for F-1 visa status 1 year AAT 1 I94 Card (copy) Document issued to nonimmigrants; also known as Arrival Departure Record 1 year AAT 1 Passport Number 1 year AAT 1 Statement of Educational Costs Estimate of total school year costs 1 year AAT 1 Statement of Financial Responsibility Evidence of adequate financial resources 1 year AAT 1 Notes AAT: After application term; AG: After graduation term or last term of attendance ¹Although the retention period recommended for the documents listed above is one year (for four-year colleges and universities), federal legislation, state statutes, or institutional policy may dictate otherwise. ²Records for applicants who do not enter are not covered by FERPA. Any waiver would be in effect while the record is maintained. ³Some documents from institutions in other countries may be originals and therefore difficult or impossible for the applicant to replace. The records custodian may want to return these documents to the applicant rather than destroy them.
- Admissions Records for Applicants Who Enroll
Records Series Title Description Recommended Retention Period* Notes Admissions Documents Admissions letters† Notices of admission, denial or waitlist 3 years AG 1,4 Admission letters (Special Program) 3 years AG 4 Correspondence, relevant 3 years AG 1,4 Waivers of rights of access (admissions) Waiving right of access to admission letters of recommendation 3 years AG 1,2,4 Application Materials Applications for admission or re-admission Admission application such as undergraduate, graduate, international, or non-degree/special admittance 1 year AFT 1,4 Credit by examination Reports/scores on Advanced Placement, CLEP, PEP, etc. 1 year AG 1,4 Entrance examination reports/test scores Standardized test scores, such as ACT/SAT, LSAT, MCAT, GRE, TOEFL 3 years AG 1,4 Medical records i.e. immunization records 3 years AG 1,4 Letters of Recommendation (admissions) UA 1,2,4 Military documents 3 years AG 1,4 Placement test records/scores 3 years AG 1,4 Release from high school or Dual Enrollment forms No description given No date given Residency classification forms 3 years AG 1,4 Test scores (other) 3 years AG 1,4 Transcripts (high school) 3 years AG 1,4 Transcripts (other colleges) 3 years AG 1,4,5 International Student Documents Alien Registration Receipt Card Evidence of admissibility as a permanent resident 3 years AG 1,4 DS-2019 Certificate of eligibility for J1 visa status (formerly IAP-66) 3 years AG 1,4 Employment Authorization (work permit), if granted 3 years AG 1,4 I20 Certificate of eligibility for F-1 visa status 3 years AG 1,4 I94 Card (copy) Document issued to non-immigrants; also known as Arrival Departure Record 3 years AG 1,4 Passport Number 3 years AG 1,4 Statement of Educational Costs Estimate of total school year costs 3 years AG 1,4 Statement of Financial Responsibility Evidence of adequate financial resources 3 years AG 1,4 Notes AAT: After application term; AG: After graduation term or last term of attendance; UA: Until admitted. †Including those programs with a separate admission process from the general application. ¹The retention periods recommended above are based on the following: *Uniform retention periods allow for the destruction of the entire application folder which will save time reviewing and sorting documents. *Essential data will be recorded on academic records retained permanently (see the AACRAO Academic Record and Transcript Guide). ²FERPA states that letters of recommendation not accompanied by waivers and retained beyond their intended use may be viewed by the student. As a consequence, it is recommended that these letters be destroyed after admission of the student. Waivers of rights of access filed with letters of recommendations schould be retained as long as the file is retained. Students who revoke their rights of access filed with letters of recommendations should be retained as long as the file is retained. Students who revoke their waivers of rights of access may not see letters of recommendation submitted during the time the waivers were in force. ³VA regulations state that the following student records must be retained for at leasat three years after termination of enrollment: *Previous education or training (transcripts from other colleges and source documents for other nontraditional credit). *Evidence of formal admission. The regulations state that longer retention will not be required unless a written request is received from the General Accounting Office or the VA no later than 30 days prior to the end of the three-year period. 4Educational institutions participating in federal, state, and private programs of low interest loans to students must retain student records of admission and placement for three years after graduation or withdrawal. In the event of an open audit, records must be retained until all questions are resolved. 5Some documents from institutions in other countries may be originals and therefore difficult or impossible for the applicant to replace. The records custodian may be asked to return these documents to the applicant, as well as retain a copy of them.
- Federal Student Financial Aid Record Retention Requirements
Records Series Title/Description Minimal Retention Period* Notes SFA Program Records Accrediting and licensing agency review, approvals and reports 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Audit reports and school resources 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Records pertaining to financial responsibility and standards of administrative capability 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Program Participation Agreement 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Self-evaluation reports 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 State agency reports 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 SFA Fiscal Records Bank Statements for accounts containing SFA funds 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Federal work-study payroll records 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Ledgers identifying SFA transactions 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Records of SFA program transactions 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Records of student accounts 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Records supporting data on required reports (SFA program reconciliation reports, audit reports and school responses, Pell Grant statements of accounts, accrediting and licensing agency reports) 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 SFA Recipient Records Application data submitted to the Dept. of Education or lender by the school on behalf of the student 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Data used to establish student's admission, enrollment status, and period of enrollment 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Date and amount of disbursements 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Documentation of student's eligibility 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Documentation of student's satisfactory academic progress 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Documentation of student's program of study and enrolled courses 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Documentation related to the receipt of aid, such as the amount of grant, loan, or FWS award and calculations used to determine aid amounts 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Documentation of initial or exit loan counseling 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Documentation supporting the school's calculation of its completion/graduation or transfer-out rate 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Documents used to verify applicant's data 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Financial aid history for transfer students 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Reports and forms used for participation in the SFA program 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Student Aid Report (SAR) or Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) 3 years AY 1,2,3,4 Requirements for Specific Aid Borrowers eligibility records 3 years AYA,B 1,2,3,4 Campus-based aid (Perkins loan, SEOG and Federal Work Study) 3 years AYA 1,2,3,4 FFEL and Direct Loans 3 years AYA 1,2,3,4 Fiscal Operations Report and Application to Participate (FISAP) 3 years AYA 1,2,3,4 Perkins repayment records 3 years from date loan assigned, cancelled, or repaid 1,2,3,4 Perkins original promisorry notes Until loan is satisfied, or documents are needed to enforce obligation 1,2,3,4 All other records/reports 3 years AYA,C 1,2,3,4 Notes *AY: From award year AEnd of award year BOf student's last attendance COf report submission ¹Schools may be required to retain records for longer periods of time if the records are involved in a SFA program review, audit, or investigation. If the three-year retention period expires before the issue is resolved, records must be retained until resolution is achieved. ²Financial aid records are normally maintained by financial aid offices. The SFA requirements do not, however, mandate that all records be maintained by financial aid offices. Business offices, admissions, and/or registrars' offices may be more appropriate custodians of financial aid records. ³Schools must adhere to the record retention requirements upon their closing, change of ownership, termination, or suspension from participation in the SFA programs. 4In addition to keeping records on federal financial aid, institutions are also responsible for the maintenance of financial aid transcripts for transfer students.
- Federal Disclosure Records
Records Series Title Description Recommended Retention Period*† Notes Athletic Participation/EADA documents 3 years RD 4 College Costs, accreditation, textbook information, transfer credit policy Complies with the Higher Education Opportunity Act 3 years RD 6 Crime Statistics/Security Reports Complies with Clery Act reporting requirements 3 years RD 1,2 Graduation/Completion, Transfer-out Data Complies with Student Right-to-Know legislation 3 years RD 3 Institutional information (Cost of attendance, withdrawal procedures, accreditation, etc.) 3 years RD/end of award year 5 Notes *RD: From date of required disclosure †All retention periods in this schedule are mandatory. ¹Campus Crime/Security Records and Reports must be established and disclosed annually to students and employees. The records should contain such information as: 1)institutional policies and proceedings for reporting crimes, 2)crime statistics, 3)description of drug and alcohol abuse education programs, policies concerning possession, use, and sale of alcoholic beverages or drugs, 4)statement of sexual assault prevention programs, 5)statistics on number of arrests for violations of liquor, drug abuse, or weapons laws, 6)procedures for campus disciplinary actions for alleged sex offenses, and 7)statement of security and access policies for campus facilities. ²Examples of Crime Records Requirements: Crime records should be retained for a three-year period following the date of disclosure; i.e., institutions are required to retain records to substantiate information in the reports released for three years. ³Graduation/Completion and Transfer-out rates/SRK Disclosure Records should be established and disclosed annually to students and other required parties. Records should be retained for three years from the annual July 1st required disclosure date. 4Athletic Participation/EADA Records should be established and disclosed annually to students and other required parties. 5Types of Institutional Information that must be disclosed to students annually are listed below. The records should minimally be retained for three years from the date of disclosure. They include: 1)requirements and procedures for withdrawing from the institution, 2) cost of attendance (tuition/fees, charges, books/supplies costs, room and board charges, and related charges), 3)refund policy, 4)summary of requirements for return of Title IV grants or loans, 5)current academic programs of the institution (current degree programs, educational/training programs and faculty), 6)names of associations and agencies accrediting the institution, 7)description of special facilities and services for disabled students, 8)the school's policy on enrollment in study abroad programs, and 9)titles of persons to contact for information. 6See Higher Education Opportunity Act 2008 for more information.
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Records
Records Series Title Description Recommended Retention Period* Notes Requests for formal hearings Student-initiated request for formal hearing regarding amendment of education record PA 2 Requests for and disclosures of personally identifiable information Necessary for compliance with recordkeeping requirements in FERPA PB 1,2 Requests for nondisclosure of directory information Student request to opt-out of directory information disclosure P or UT 3 Statements on content of records regarding hearing panel decisions If student request for amendment of record is not granted, then student statement must be maintained in the record and disclosed whenever the record is disclosed. PA Written consent for records disclosure Student signed (electronic or paper) authorization for disclosure of education record PC Waivers for rights of access Covers confidential letters and statements of recommendations related to the student's admission; application for employment; or receipt of an honor or honorary recognition (section 99.12(b)(3)) PA 2 Written decisions of hearing panels Decisions resulting from formal hearings regarding amendment of education records PA Notes *P: Permanent; UT: Until terminated by the student AAs long as the record is maintained BAs long as disclosed record is maintained COr 180 days for one-time disclosure consents ¹Requests for disclosure and disclosure of personally identifiable information by the institution must be maintained with the records that were disclosed as long as the records are retained. While disclosures with student consent and disclosures to other school officials are exempt from this requirement, many disclosures under the exceptions requiring student consent must be recorded. This list of disclosures must be provided to students upon request. For more on this requirement, see section 99.32 of the regulations or the latest edition of the AACRAO FERPA Guide. ²Whenever the recommended retention period is the life of the affected record, the retention period of the FERPA document is meant to be the same as that of the student records to which it pertains: students' waivers of rights to access to letters of recommendation, for example, should be retained until the letters themselves are destroyed (see Table 1 and Table 2). If the retention period for a record to which a FERPA document pertains is permanent, the FERPA document should also be permanently retained. ³FERPA requires that requests to "opt-out" of disclosing directory information must be honored for former students no longer in attendance unless terminated by the student.
- Publications, Statistical Data and Institutional Reports
Records Series Title Description Recommended Retention Period* Notes Catalogs Published annually or bi-annually, record of courses, degrees and programs of study offered P 1 Commencement programs Published record of graduates for public distribution P 1 Degree statistics Record of degrees granted by institution per graduation term and/or annually P 1 Enrollment statistics Per term report of enrolled students, e.g., by class, by course, totals, headcount and FTE P 1 Grade distribution and other grade statistics Report of grades given, including summary grade point statistics by class P 1 Instructor evaluations (by students) 1 semester Race/ethnicity reporting Report of student enrollment, graduation and other metrics by race and ethnic origin P 1,2 Notes *P: Permanent ¹The IRS requires that private schools maintain records reflecting the racial composition of the student body, faculty and administrative staff for each academic year and retain such records for a period of three years beginning with the year after compilation or acquisition. ²Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that institutions maintain the necessary information and accurate compliance reports in such form that the determination of whether or not an institution is in compliance could be easily ascertained. In addition, racial and ethnic data are required to show the extent to which members of minority groups are beneficiaries of and participants in federally assisted programs. There is no time limit specified in the law.
- Student Record Electronic Data
Records Series Title Description Recommended Retention Period* Notes Data change logs Electronic log of changes to enrollment and other data, including date/time stamp information and user that changed data if that data is maintained separately in system 10 years Email data/information Emails and other electronic communications that authorize academic/enrollment actions and/or provide directory/non-directory information about a student UANSB 1 Enrollment data Electronic record of enrollment in classes, including records of drop, add and enrollment change activity 10 years UANSA Grade data Electronic record of submitted grades and grade changes, including date/time stamp and user data P Student demographic information Electronic student data including student characteristics, date of birth, former names, address information, photo ID and ethnic information, etc. 50 years 2 Notes *P: Permanent; UANS: Until administrative need is satisfied AOr until the records retention requirement for the associated student record component is met (whichever is longer) BBased on content of e-communication 1Email regarding student records that are transitory in nature can be discarded when no longer needed. Email and electronic communication that contains important information or that forms the basis or the results of an academic or administrative decision may need longer retention. Example: Email containing approval for a change of major would be retained according to the retention schedule for Major Changes in Student Academic Records. Consult other schedules for similar information to determine retention schedule. 2Student demographic data and other information about a student who has attended the institution will likely need to be kept for a much longer period and/or permanently.
- Student Academic Records
Records Series Title Description Recommended Retention Period* Notes Academic Program Records Academic advisement records 3 years AG 2,3,5 Academic warning Notice of academic action related to academic non-performance/deficiency 3 years AG 2,3,5 Academic suspension Notice of academic action related to academic non-performance/deficiency 3 years AG 2,3,5 Academic dismissal Notice of academic action related to academic non-performance/deficiency P 3,5 Academic integrity code violations (with sanctions) Notice of violations of academic integrity policies including sanctions, if any P 1,3,5 Academic records (miscellaneous) Narrative evaluations, competency assessments, etc. PA 1,3,5,6 Correspondence (student) Related to academic records, inquiries 3 years AG 3,5 Disciplinary action records Grade or program actions, notice of sanctions related to personal conduct 3 years AG 2,3,5 Grievance/complaint (by student) Various course/exam related issues, not grade or FERPA disputes (see grade appeal/complaint or Table 5) UANS 3,5 Leave of absence UANS 3,5 Major changes, certification of 2nd majors, minors UANS 3,5 Petitions (academic) Exceptions to academic rules UANS 3,5 Thesis/Dissertation P 1,3,5 Transcripts P 1,3,5 Certification/Verification Records Athlete eligibility reports UANS or AAR 3,5 Athlete records Initial and continuing eligibility information, academic information, documentation of participation, tutor evaluation and assessment UANS or AAR 3,5 Enrollment verfications Verifications of enrollment, graduation, GPA, and other related academics UANS 3,5 Residency verification records Documents in support of verifying residency in state for tuition purposes UANS 3,5 Teacher certifications UANS 3,5 Transcript requests (student) Official transcript requests by student UANS 3,5 VA certification records Certifying documents for federal VA benefits 3 years AG 2,3,4,5 Degree and Certificate Records Application for degree or other credential Degree application, record of degree name, etc. 3 years AG or UANS 2,3,5 Degree audit records Degree audits in support of graduation clearing 3 years AG or UANS 2,3,5 Graduation lists Lists of graduates for graduating class P 1,3,5 Substitution/waivers Approvals to meet program requirements with administrative action UANS 2,3,5 Grade and Scholarship/Deficiency Records Exams (final)/graded coursework 1 year CCB 3,5 Grade appeal/complaint Student final grade disputes 1 year 3,5 Grade book (faculty) Record of students in course and work completed 5 years CC 3,5 Grade change forms Record of authorization to change grade UANS 2,3,5 Grade reports (midterm) Record of midterm grades submitted by faculty ET 3,5 Grade submission sheets/data Original record of grades submitted at end of term P 1,3,5 Miscellaneous Records Name change authorizations UANS 2,3,5 Personal data information forms change of address race/ethnicity questionnaires and other demographic data UANS 2,3,5 Transfer credit evaluations 3 years AGD 2,3,5 Registration and Enrollment Records Class Schedules (students) Student schedules for each term UANS 2,3,5 Class lists Record of class rosters for each term UANS 1,3,5 Course repeat form/approval UANS 3,5 Credit/no credit, audit, or pass/no pass approvals Authorizations for various enrollment options UANS 3,5 Enrollment changes Record of student add/drop/withdraw from class UANS 3,5 Hold or encumbrance authorizations Registration and transcripts holds UANS 3,5 Notes *AAR: Pursuant to athletic association rules; AFT: After first term of enrollment; AG: After graduation term or last term of attendance; CC: After course completion; ET: End of term; P: Permanent; UANS: Until administrative need is satisfied. AIf college procedures require this to be a part of the academic transcript BIf work not returned to student COr at the end of the grade appeal deadline based on institutional policy DPermanent if part of the institution's academic transcript ¹Any record recommended for permanent retention should be retained in a medium that takes into consideration the nature of the document and its need for retrieval (see Chapter 4: Methods of Storage). ²The recommended retention period based on graduation or non-attendance should begin with the date of graduation or the date, term, or semester and year of last attendance. ³FERPA specifically requires institutions to maintain records of requests and disclosures of personally identifiable information except for defined "directory information" and requests from students for their own records. The records of disclosures and requests for disclosures are considered part of the students' educational records; therefore, they must be retained as long as the education records to which they refer are retained by the institution (see Part F). 4The VA regulations state that the following records must be retained for at least three years after termination of enrollment: *Grade reports and/or statements of progress (academic records) *Change of course forms *Transfer credit evaluation *Degree audit records VA regulations require that all advertising, sales and enrollment materials (e.g., catalogs) used by or on behalf of the institution during the previous 12 months must be retained and available for review. In addition, records of tuition and fees charged to and collected from students, grade reports and statements of progress (academic records) and previous education and training documents (transfer credit evaluations) must be retained for three years. 5Educational institutions that participate in federal, state and private programs of low interest loans to students must retain for three years after graduation or withdrawal students' records of academic progress, attendance and courses studied according to the General Education Provisions Act as amended by the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (Public Law 103382). In the event of an open audit, records must be retained until all questions are resolved. In addition to keeping records of all financial aid the student receives, institutions will need a financial aid transcript for a transfer student. 6Although student records created and maintained by medical and dental schools are usually narrative assessments of academic progress or clinical practice, for purposes of this retention schedule, such records are in the same category as the academic record.