Accounting Services

Record Retention Guidelines

Scope:
The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that University records are retained in accordance with Federal and State laws.
Authority:
Guidelines for record retention for Colorado higher education agencies are published in the Records Management Manual developed by the Colorado State Archivist.
Definitions:
Records Retention Schedule: A list of the records maintained by an agency and how long those records should be kept. The schedule also serves as the legal authorization to destroy records that are obsolete.

Minimum Retention Period: The shortest amount of time that a record must be kept before it is destroyed. Some records need to be retained permanently, while others can be destroyed once they have exceeded the minimum retention period.
Guidelines for Record Retention:
Generally, records are to be destroyed when the minimum retention period has been met, unless they are needed to meet specific legal requirements or are to be designated for permanent (archival) retention.

Departments are encouraged to destroy records at the end of their minimum retention period. Obsolete records should not occupy office, storage or computer space.

Retention periods apply to information regardless of the physical format (paper, microfilm, computer disk or tape, optical imaging, CD-ROM or other medium.)

All retention periods are based on the fiscal year, from July 1 through June 30, and are in addition to the current year. For example, a three year retention period means a document created this year should be kept until June 30th and then three additional years after the June 30th date.

All paper documents containing confidential information and/or PDID (Personal Digital Identity) information must be shredded or disposed of in a confidential recycling bin.

The Information Management and Technology department provides guidelines for the destruction of confidential information contained on microfilm, computer disk or tape, optical imaging, CD-ROM, or other non-paper medium.
Record Retention Schedules:
The University of Northern Colorado follows the record retention guidelines outlined in the Colorado Records Management Manual.

The following two sections of that manual cover retention requirements for the majority of financial and non-financial records common to most University departments:

Part I, Schedule 7 - Financial Records
Part I, Schedule 8 - Higher Education Agencies

 

Part I, Schedule 8, Section 4.13-Higher Education Agencies states the following:
Grant Files (Active and Inactive) - Used to retain information concerning financial grant assistance received by a state support college or university. Files contain some or all of the following documents: statemnet of budget and expenditures, notices of grants awarded, financial status reports, authorization for transfer of grant funds, draft copies of detailed budgets for programs, copies of federal assistance, education grants, student loan and work study programs, financial assistance for veterans and career professionals, and other related information. Retention - 6 years after becoming inactive.
In addition, the following sections of the Manual also contain helpful information:

Introduction
Records Scheduling and Disposal Procedures and Standards
Part II - Appendices
Contacts for Record Retention Questions:

University contacts:
Lacey Snyder, University Assistant Controller, 351-1604
Brad Hoffner, Internal Auditor, 351-2105
Information Management and Technology Department

State of Colorado contacts:
Colorado State Archives, 303-866-4900