Retention Guidelines for Offices and Departments
This section provides a retention schedule for the various records created in the daily operation of offices and departments.
To practice good record keeping, you are encouraged to use the guidelines reported below for the retention of documents in the various divisions, and the office of the President of Oberlin College. A pattern of consistency in the care of records will assist your office in many ways — especially in preventing the loss of records and in the saving of staff time. Information that is retained in hard copy or electronic files is the property of Oberlin College.
Following is a list of records found in most administrative offices and departments of Oberlin College. The suggested retention periods listed below are considered to be the normal or minimum time a record is retained. It is left to the discretion of the department head or administrative director as to how long records are retained beyond that time.
|Description of Item||Normal Period of Retention||Referral (Destination)||Comments|
|Accounting Journals/General Ledgers||6 years||Archival Review|
|Accounts Payable/Receivable amts. owed to College and receipt of revenues||4 years||Destroy|
|Bids Accepted (for purchases)||Active + 3 years||Archival Review||See also purchasing|
|Bids Rejected (for purchases)||3 years||Destroy||See also purchasing|
|Blueprints -- Copy usually on file in Construction Office||Active + 3 years||Archives|
|Budget Material: Office copies of documents prepared for the Budget, such as Budget Worksheets (requests), supplemental requests, and correspondence and information relative to budget adjustments. The Year-end statement (June 30) is recommended for retention and archival review. Controller's office holds primary record on the budget.||2 years after completion of current budget||Detail can be destroyed|
|Cash Receipts: Copies of cash receipts, cash reports, payable vouchers, data processing runs.||1 year||Destroy|
|Compliant Files||Active + 6 years||Destroy|
|Computer printouts and other data processing input/output (non-budget)||Active + 3 years||Destroyif the material is retained on magnetic media.|
|Conferences and Workshops attended file||4 years||Destroy|
|Conferences and Workshops conducted file||5 years||Archives|
|Contracts, agreements||Active + 3 years||Archives||Incls: Documentation for|
|Employee Records. See Below, Personnel|
|Endowment Fund Annual Reports||Active + 4 years||Archives||Review for historical value|
|Environmental Monitoring Records||4 years||Destroy|
|General Ledgers||6 years||Archives||Review for historical value|
|Grants File (awarded)applications and proposals, etc.||Active + 3 years||Archives|
|Grants File (unawarded)applications and proposals, etc.||3 years||Destroy|
|Grievance Files||Active + 3 years||Destroy||Privacy Documentation|
|Injury Reports||Active + 6 years||Destroy|
|Inventory Control Record||Active + 6 years||Destroy|
|Job DescriptionsHuman Resources holds copy.||Active + 6 years||Destroy|
|Maintenance: Requisitions and Delivery Reports for ofc equip., supplies, etc. Controller holds for 7 years.||2 years||Destroy|
|Minutes: Of staff meetings, committees, or other groups functioning for the office||3 years||Archives|
|News Releases and Newsletters||Indefinite||Archives|
|Payroll: Attendance Record, Time Reports, Time Sheets, etc. Controller holds for 7 years.||2 years||Destroy|
|Personnel Records: Files kept on Department personnel for the convenience of the office, but not an official personnel file. Human Resources holds permanent record.||While useful, probably 5 years.||Notify Archivist for review.||Legal Retention is an issue|
|Petty Cash Records||4 years||Destroy|
|Photographs, recordings, programs, etc., prepared in the course of office social functions or official activities.||While useful, probably 5 years.||Archives|
|Planning documents (e.g. Self-Study, Advancement Plan, Five-Year and Ten-Year Plans)||While useful||Archives||Save supporting documentation|
|Policies, Procedures, Regulations: Official, that concern office operations (e.g. handbooks, manuals, etc.)||3 years after expiration||Archives||Review for Continuing Admin. of Historical value|
|Program Reviews||Until next review||Archives||Save supporting documentation|
|Publications, Catalogues, Bulletins, Brochures, Books, Periodicals, Newsletters - any official publication of the College||While usefulTwo copies of all publications are to be sent to the Archives at the time of first issue.||Archives|
|Purchase OrdersPurchasing Office's copy of order to a supplier.||Active + 3 years||Destroy|
|Records Destruction Files||10 years||Destroy|
|Reports: Annual Reports, or reports prepared on department activities||3 years||Archives|
|Residential Life Files||5 years after graduation||Destroy||Ref. FERPA Guidelines|
|Search Files||5 years||Destroy, except summary||Ref. Section D. #1 & 2, pg.13 Affirmative Action|
|Student Advisee Files||1 year after graduation||Destroy||Ref. FERPA Guidelines|
|Student Files (student academic file)||2 years after graduation||Destroy||Ref. FERPA Guidelines|
|Subject Files||Active + 6 years||Archival Review|
|Telegraph and Telephone: Billing and payment records (including those in special grants), record of long distance calls, etc.||3 years||Destroy|
|Time Cards||3 years||Destroy|
|Training/Development Records||Active + 3 years||Archival Review|
|Work Orders File||1 year after completion of work||Destroy, unless significant space improvement|
|Work Study Student Files||Active + 5 years||Destroy|
The following specific types of materials are designated as nonrecord materials and may be disposed of by offices as soon as they have served their intended purpose.
Extra copies of documents retained only for convenience of reference, such as "information" or "follow up" copies of correspondence; extra copies of materials of which official copies have been retained within the agency for purpose of record. Duplicates need to be weeded on an annualized basis.
- Stocks of superseded, outdated, or otherwise valueless publications, forms and printed documents. (Two copies of each publication should be filed with the Archives at the first issue.)
Preliminary drafts of letters, memoranda, reports, worksheets and internal notes which do not represent significant basic steps in the preparation of record documents.
- Letters of transmittal which do not add any information to the transmitted material and other types of routine correspondence that do not show any significant activity of the administrative unit or department.
Shorthand notes, rough notes, and mechanical recordings that have been transcribed into typewritten or printed form.
- Miscellaneous notices or memoranda which do not relate to the functional responsibility of the office; i.e., notices of community affairs, employee meetings, holidays, etc.
Automatic Data Processing Recording Media: punched cards, paper tapes, magnetic tapes, magnetic discs, and other media used for "communicating" with data processing equipment.
- Microfilm that has been created for systems applications when original documents are retained or prints created for record purposes.
- Offset plates, multilith masters, ditto masters, addressograph plates, stencils, photographic negatives or other media used for printing or other reproductive processes.