4:017 Records Retention and Disposal of Records
Go back

4:017 Records Retention and Disposal of Records


Austin Peay State
Records Retention and Disposal of Records

Issued:  March 15, 2018

Responsible Official:  Vice President for Finance and Administration

Responsible Office:  Business Office


Policy Statement

It is the policy of Austin Peay State University to retain and dispose of records appropriately.


The purpose of this policy sets forth the records retention schedule and procedures for disposal of records for the University.


-Permanent Records
-Temporary Records
-Confidential Public Record
-Records of Archival Value
-Essential Records
-Records Management
-Records Disposition Authorization
-Working Papers
-Records Creation

-Disposal of Records
-Records Officers
-Certificate of Destruction
-Records Retention Schedules
-Statewide RDA’s
-University RDA’s  

-Certificate of Destruction
-TN Division of Records Management
-APSU Records Management


Tennessee Public Records Commission Rule 1210-1-2, Definitions, controls

Records Records shall mean all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs,  microfilms, electronic data processing files and output, sound recordings, or other material regardless of physical form or characteristics made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental agency. For the purpose of this policy, records are only those items defined as such by the Commission rules.

Permanent Records Those records which have permanent administrative, fiscal, historical or legal value. 

Temporary Records Those records or materials which can be disposed of in a short period of time as being without value in documenting the functions of an agency. Temporary records will be scheduled for disposal by requesting approval from the Public Records Commission utilizing a Records Disposition Authorization.

Confidential Public
Any public record which has been designated confidential by statute and includes information or matters or records considered to be privileged and any aspect of which access by the general public has been generally denied.

Records of Archival
Any public record which may promote or contribute toward the preservation and understanding of historical, cultural, or natural resources of the State of Tennessee. 

Essential Records Any public records essential to the resumption or continuation of operations, to the recreation of the legal and financial status of government in the state or to the protection and fulfillment of obligations to citizens of the state. 

Agency Agency shall mean any department, division, board, bureau, commission or other separate legislative branch and the judicial branch to the extent that it is constitutionally permissible.

Records Management Records management shall mean the application of management techniques to the creation, utilization, maintenance, retention, preservation, and disposal of records in order to reduce costs and improve efficiency of record keeping. It shall include records retention schedule development, essential records protection, files management and information retrieval systems, microfilm information systems, correspondence and word processing management, records center, forms management, analysis and design, and reports and publications management.

Disposition The preservation of the original records in whole or in part, preservation by photographic or other reproduction processes, or outright destruction of the records. 

Records Disposition Authorization Records Disposition Authorization (RDA) shall mean the official document utilized by an agency head to request authority for the disposition of records. The Public Records Commission shall determine and order the proper disposition of state records through the approval of Records Disposition Authorizations.

Working Papers Those records created to serve as input for final reporting documents, including electronic data processed records, and/or computer output microfilm, and those records which become obsolete immediately after agency use or publication.

Records Creation The recording of information on paper, printed forms, punched cards, tape, disk, or any information transmitting media, shall include preparation of forms, reports, state publications, and correspondence. 


Disposal of Records
  1. Disposal of records must be approved by the State Public Records Commission (PRC). No records, paper, electronic, or other media may be destroyed unless and until meeting the criteria of this policy and PRC rules.
  2. Unless specified otherwise, or otherwise required by law, records may be imaged, microfilmed, or electronically reproduced and the paper copy destroyed upon verification of an archival quality reproduction. The microfilm, image, or electronic record will then be retained for the balance of the indicated retention period.
  3. No record shall be destroyed, however, so long as it pertains to any pending legal case, claim, or action; or to any federal or state audit until such actions have been concluded.
    1. State records have been approved for disposal by state-approved methods:
      1. Shredding
      2. Recycling
      3. Purge (paper & electronic)
    2. Any record designated "confidential" shall be so treated by agencies in the maintenance, storage and disposition of such confidential records. These records shall be destroyed in such a manner that they cannot be read, interpreted or reconstructed.
  4. Unless specifically approved by the APSU Records Officer, any records which reflect "Permanent" retention should be maintained by means other than paper after verification of an archival quality electronic reproduction. After verification, the paper copies will be destroyed.
  5. Actions by the State Commission shall be communicated to all campus Records Officers.

Records Officers
  1. Records Officers have the authority and responsibility to retain and dispose of records in accordance with approved records disposition authorizations.
  2. Prior to the destruction of any records, the Records Officer must determine if the action should be delayed due to audit or litigation requirements.
  3. Specific records pertaining to current or pending litigation or investigation must be retained until all questions are resolved. These specific records can be retained in a suspense file, while all other records not under pending investigation shall be disposed of in accordance with established Statewide and University Records Disposition Authorizations (RDAs).
  4. Records Officers should establish and apply retention schedules for records in their custody that may not be specifically addressed in this policy.

Certificate of
  1. State of Tennessee Records Management Division has authorized the implementation and utilization of the Certificate of Destruction form in order to better track the volume of records destroyed and to insure that records have met the criteria necessary for destruction.
  2. Certificate of Destruction forms must be used when destroying public or confidential records that are not destroyed during the annualOperation Roundfile campaign – an initiative through Executive Order 38 to purge out-of-date documents and/or records on an annual basis.
    1. Certificates shall be held at the University.

Records Retention
  1. APSU adheres to Statewide Records Destruction Authorization (RDA) Classifications.
  2. Notwithstanding the retention period stated herein, should such periods conflict with federal or state law or regulation, the period of longer retention shall apply.
  3. Access the appropriate retention schedule by clicking on the RDA number in Statewide RDA’s (SW) and University RDA’s (SW-U) Sections below.

Statewide RDA’s
  1. SW01: Accounting Journal Vouchers & Deposit Slips - Documents relating to Accounts Receivables and Deposits with Supporting Documentation. EXAMPLES: AG – Agency Only Approval Journals, AL – Allocation Process, AM ‐ Assets Management, AP ‐ Accounts Payable, AR ‐ Accounts Receivable, BA ‐ Balances from STARS, BI ‐ Billing, CL ‐ Closing Process, CM ‐ Cash Management, CN ‐ Contracts, DA ‐ Division of Accounts Approval, EX ‐ External Application, FM ‐ Fleet Management, GM ‐ Grants, IN ‐ Inventory, IU ‐ Inter‐Unit Transaction, JV ‐ Online Journal Voucher, KK ‐ Commitment Control Journals, LA ‐ Accrued Liabilities, LM ‐ Enterprise Learning Management, MU ‐ Multi‐Unit Transactions, PM ‐ Plant Management, PR ‐ Project Closing, PY ‐ Payroll, RA Accrued Revenue, RV ‐ PS exp to STARS, TR ‐ Transactions from STARS, TV ‐ Travel (Expenses), YA ‐ Year End Adjustments This RDA is not applicable for the Division of Accounts, Dept. of Finance and Administration. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  2. SW02: Accounting Reports - Documents relating to monthly accounting reports. This series also includes Accounting Reports from Edison, Banner, or the STARS System. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  3. SW03: Inactive Human Resources Employee Documentation - Documents pertaining to the proof of eligibility to work. Included in this record series is human resource documentation kept in agency. Examples: Cards or sheets showing name, address, telephone number, and similar data for each office employee; printouts. Records covered under SW09 University Personnel Records shall not be destroyed under this RDA. Retention: 10 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  4. SW04: Employee Medical Records - Documents relating to confidential employee medical records. Examples: Documentation of physicals and health status, Alcoholics Anonymous treatment statement, drug related treatment, injured in the line of duty and workers' compensation claims. Retention: 30 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  5. SW07: Travel Authorization Files - Documents relating to requests and authorizations for in‐state and out‐of‐state travel and related correspondence, including cost estimates for travel. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  6. SW09: Attendance and Leave Records - Documents relating to attendance and leave, including correspondence such as notice of holidays and hours worked. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  7. SW10: Real Property Lease Files - Documents relating to the lease space in which various state agencies and departments are housed. Examples: Space Action Request Form (FA‐0006), Request for Proposal (RFP), and related correspondence. Retention: 7 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  8. SW11: Internal Audit Reports and Working Papers - Documents relating to internal audit reports and working papers generated by internal auditors to document investigations and/or audit reports conducted internally that are submitted to the commissioners, the Comptroller of the Treasury, and other parties. This RDA is not applicable to the Comptroller of the Treasury and its divisional offices. Retention: 10 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  9. SW12: Contracts & Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) - Documents relating to contracts between state agencies and vendors. Records includes a copy of the final contract, Requests for Proposals (RFP)documents, Requests for Information (RFI) documents, bid evaluation documents, statements of work, deliverable documentation, change order documentation, correspondence, and other related documents. Retention: 6 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  10. SW14: Discrimination Harassment Investigation Files - Documents relating to discrimination and workplace harassment investigations. Examples: investigation intake/referral, investigation memos, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges/documents, Tennessee Human Rights Commission charges/documents. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  11. SW15: Annual Report Working Papers - Working Paper documents relating to the annual reports prepared by all agencies. Retention: 5 yrs; End Action: Destroy
  12. SW16: Temporary Records - "Temporary Records", is defined at T.C.A § 10‐7‐301 (13) as: "material which can be disposed of in a short period of time as being without value in documenting the function of an agency. Temporary records will be scheduled for disposal by requesting approval from the public records commission [PRC] utilizing a records disposition authorization [RDA]." These records are only considered records in that they are notes and/or communication media and may include correspondence below the Commissioner level, unless superseded by another RDA. Under no circumstance will documents of Fiscal, Legal, or Historic Value be considered Temporary Records. Retention: 0 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  13. SW17: Working Papers - "Working Papers" is defined in T.C.A. § 10‐7‐301(14) as: "those records created to serve as input for final reporting documents, including electronic data processed records, and/or computer output microfilm, and those records which become obsolete immediately after agency use or publication." Working papers are used to produce a record in its final form. For the purpose of the RDA, working papers are those records that have no evidential or informational value once an action has been completed and do not relate to significant steps taken in preparing the final record. The record resulting from the working papers are then governed by its RDA. Working papers does not include records that have evidential or informational value that is needed to support the final record. Under no circumstance may documents of Fiscal, Legal, or Historic Value be considered Working Papers. This RDA does not apply to Annual Report (SA15), Budget (SW18), or Internal Audit (SW11) working papers. This RDA covers all other working papers unless superseded by another specific RDA. Retention: 1 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  14. SW18: Budget Papers - Documents relating to budget working papers and budget requests. The records are documents used to assist the agency in the preparation of budgets and to justify requests to the Department of Finance and Administration as well as copies of official budget requests submitted to the Department of Finance and Administration for recommendations to be presented for final approval. Records include correspondence, instructions, tabulations, reports, cost estimates, budget request forms, program objectives, strategies, budget revisions and other related documents. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  15. SW20: Fiscal Administrative Documents - Files may include documents of Fiscal Value not covered by another Statewide RDA or Agency Specific RDA. (Examples: receipt documents, invoices, purchase orders, inventory records, payment documentation, space assignment documentation, warranties, internal bookkeeping documentation, & balance sheets) Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  16. SW21: Grants - This RDA may apply to any Grant Files not covered by a specific RDA. Files included in this record series may include any documents pertaining to grants, such as applications, Contracts, Invoices, Asset Documentation, Monitoring Documentation, Evaluations, Photographs, Reports, Close‐out Documents and Correspondence. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  17. SW22: Internal Policies and Procedures - Official record copy of the policies, procedures or rules. One copy of the policy, procedure, or rule will be kept by the issuing entity for retention/reference. Records series will include interim policies, procedures, and rules as well. Retention: 10 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  18. SW23: Credit Card and Purchasing Card (p-Card) Documents - Documents relating to the issuing and use of state issued credit cards and Purchasing cards (p‐ Cards). Records series includes: new card application, cardholder agreement form, approver signed agreement form, account maintenance forms, training tests, Edison security form, transaction logs, exception logs, fiscal officer's memos, account statements, and receipts. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  19. SW24: Hazardous Material Files – Documentation of hazardous materials purchased, shipped, stored, or utilized by state agencies. Documents may include: inventories, shipping papers, safety documentation, utilization logs/registers, Federal or state compliance documentation (EPA, OSHA, TDEC, etc.), disposal documentation, and correspondence. Training documentation shall be stored with and covered by RDA SW-U09. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  20. SW25: Administrative Documents – Internal Policies and Procedures - Documents that relate to the day‐to‐day administration of internal policies, procedures, and rules. Record series includes, but not limited to: employee agreement forms, security forms, databases, frequently asked questions, and related forms. (This does not include the official record copy of the policies, procedures or rules which is covered by SW22.) Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  21. SW26: Incident Reports - Records of incidents/accidents occurring on State controlled property, involving state personnel or members of the general public or state owned materials. A copy of the incident reports involving injuries to state employees are to be included in the employee’s medical file and covered under SW04 Employee Medical Records. Retention: 10 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  22. SW27: Request for Proposal Documents – Not Selected - Final submitted bid documents that were not awarded the contract. These fall under three (3) categories: Unsuccessful – bids met criteria but were not the best bid; Non-responsive – bids that did not follow directions and thus disqualified; and Rejected – bids that were not submitted by the set deadline for submission. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  23. SW28: Employment Application – Not Selected Candidates - Application documents, hiring information, job registers, and resumes of candidates that were not selected for the position. Records include applications for full-time, part-time, temporary, and unpaid, such as internships. These fall under three (3) categories: Unsuccessful – applicant met criteria but were not hired; Non-responsive – applicants that did not submit required material or respond back to attempted communication; and Rejected – applications that were not submitted by the set deadline for submission or failed to meet minimum requirements. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  24. SW29: Affirmative Action Compliance Records - Affirmative Action Program records and any supporting documentation related to recruitment, selection, and advancement of employees that may be used to show compliance with federal Affirmative Action rules and regulations. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  25. SW30:  Internal Investigation Files – Records of investigation resulting from a complaint from the public and/or internally against an employee of the state (the University). Records include but are not limited to: Correspondence, photographs, interviews, criminal report, medical files, state employee’s files, decisions, orders or disciplinary actions and any collateral documentation received for the investigation. Retention: 10 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  26. SW31: Communication Databases – Databases used for the collection of information to facilitate in communication and correspondence with the public. Includes spreadsheets/lists in paper format if an agency utilizes instead of electronic. Examples may include mailing lists for magazine or newsletter subscriptions, communication tracking systems, requests for publications, and agency/news updates. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  27. SW32: Accreditation Records – Documents the accreditation process relating to an agency’s program or programs as required by federal or state statute, or other body. Includes background support materials, accrediting agency correspondence, guidelines, reports, procedures, and accreditation review reports and responses. Retention: 10 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  28. SW33:  Volunteer Forms and Unpaid Intern Records – Volunteer and intern screening documents and background check data. Records include but not limited to; Applications submitted by individuals volunteering and interning for the State, consent forms, background check information (verification of Social Security number, verification of Driver’s License, Criminal History Records, etc.), liability forms, training records, training completion, disciplinary action, performance evaluation, etc. These records include only applicants accepted. Retention: 30 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  29. SW35: Open Records Request – Record Series Consists of correspondence with the public regarding requests to view or retrieve information from official records. Records include but are not limited to emails, letters, and attachments. Note: the records requested are not covered by this RDA, but are to be governed by the appropriate original RDA for the requested records. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  30. SW36:  Original Captured Media – Finished products of video, audio and digital images captured and produced of official agency business created and used by the employees of the agency. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  31. SW37:Temporary Captured Media – Temporary Records is defined at T.C.A. § 10- 7-301(13) as: material which can be disposed of in a short period of time as being without value in documenting the function of an agency. Temporary records will be scheduled for disposal by the requesting approval from the public records commission [PRC] utilizing a records disposition authorization [RDA]. Video, audio and still photography captured and produced by agency employees for the use of the agency and which do not meet quality standards (blurry, out of focus, etc.) are temporary and to be removed at the discretion of the creator and/or staff. Any media that is not disposed of will be covered under SW36. Retention: 0 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  32. SW39: Title VI Annual Report - Agency copy of Annual Reports and supporting documentation submitted to the Federal Government or TN Human Rights Commission. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy 
  33. SW40: Rule Promulgation File – Records of voting on policy or rule adoption. The official files of the final promulgated rules: signed copies going to the Attorney General and Secretary of State response to public comments; any signed roll-call votes approving the rules, etc. Retention: 0 yrs.; End Action: Permanent
  34. SW41: Fraud Investigation Files – Documents of the investigations that are undertaken based on complaints or referrals received involving, but not limited to, alleged non-profit fraud, license fraud, medical fraud, and the abuse of state funded benefits. Records include, but are not limited to, research investigation notes, correspondence, files relative to investigation, and any pertinent law enforcement data. Confidential investigation shall be kept under agency specific RDA. Retention: 10 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  35. SW42: Unsuccessful Grant Applications – Records of proposals that have been denied funding or for which no award decision has been made by the funding state agency. Series includes, but is not limited to, proposal for grant, correspondence, notes, project/planning files, grant evaluation summaries, letters of denial, and other related documentation. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy

University RDA’s
  1. SW-U01: University Boards, Commissions, and University Chief Executive Documents – Records include but not limited to: documents or records related to meetings of Boards, Commissions, Councils, and Committees. Documents relating to the University Chief Executive in the transaction of the official business. Examples: Official correspondence, memorandums, final reports, official policies, current & obsolete directives, minutes/accounts of proceedings, agenda, copies of reports, and announcements. For purposes of this RDA, records include official business of the president, or anyone designated as an “Interim” for this position. Retention 5 yrs.; End Action: Permanent
  2. SW-U02: Student Education Record (University Statewide) – These files contain the official academic record of students attending State institutions. They include, but are not limited to Academic Records (includes Narrative Evaluations, Competency Assessments), Change of Grade Records; Financial Aid Transcripts (if applicable), Class Lists (original grade sheets or cards), Graduation Lists, transcripts, Permanent Student Cards, Statistical Data (enrollment, grades, racial/ethnic, degree), Commencement Program (1 copy), Student Disciplinary Files resulting in expulsion. Student FERPA rights and defining Education Records is contained in 20 USC 1232g:FERPA Rights. Retention: 0 yrs.; End Action: Permanent
  3. SW-U03: Alumni Development Files/Donor Gifts and Contributions/Endowment and Living Trust Agreements (University Statewide) – Current and Historical Data Including (1) Alumni Development Files: alumni information, solicitation, pledge and contributions data, and all related documents. (2) Donor Gifts and Contributions: Donor Recognition Committee, Donor Director of Private Giving, Fund Raising Report, Philanthropy Awards, and all related documents. (3) Endowment and Living Trust Agreements, and all related documents. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Permanent
  4. SW-U04: Student National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Patient, and Academic Second Opportunity Records (University Statewide) – These records include, but is not limited to Athletic files including NCAA eligibility and related files, student patient files, and Academic second opportunity applications. Retention: 10 yrs.; End Action: Permanent 
  5. SW-U05: Trademark, Copyright, Patent Records, Printed Materials and Publications (University Statewide) – These records include, but are not limited to Trademark, Copyright and Patent records, including correspondence, forms, documents and materials relating to application for and granting of same. Printed Materials and Publications which have permanent administrative, physical, historical or legal value, such as; class schedules (institutional), institution catalogs, brochures, etc. Retention: 0 yrs.; End Action: Permanent 
  6. SW-U08: University Real Property Files – Facility files that include: deeds, leases, capital agreements, and other historical property documents. Retention: 10 yrs.; End Action: Permanent
  7. SW-U09: University Personnel Records – Personnel Records of University employees. Files are comprised of official personnel files for each employee. At a minimum, these files contain documentation of the employee’s payroll history with the department. Retention: 65 yrs.; End Action: Destroy
  8. Student Records
    1. The Family Educational rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA) specifically requires institutions to maintain records of requests and disclosures of personally identifiable information except for defined “directory information” and requests from students to review their own records.
      1. The records of disclosures and requests for disclosures are considered part of the students’ educational records; therefore, these records must be retained as long as the education records to which they refer are retained by the University.
      2. FERPA requires that no record for which there is a pending request to review be destroyed.
    2. Student Miscellaneous Records: Records in this category are covered under SW16 Temporary Records. These records include, but are not limited to;
      1. All records of applicants who do not enter an institution;
      2. The following records of applicants who enter an institution;
        1. Grade Reports (Registrar’s copies)
        2. Registration Forms
        3. Social Security Certificates
        4. Teacher Certifications (Institution only)
        5. Transcript Requests (student)
        6. Audit Authorizations
        7. Pass/Fail Requests
        8. Changes of Course (add/drop)
        9. Credit/No Credit Approvals
        10. Enrollment Verifications (logs or lists)
        11. Applications for Graduation
        12. Academic Advisor Files
        13. Class Schedules (student)
        14. Personal Data Information Forms
        15. Letters of Recommendation
        16. Student Disciplinary Files (for matters resulting in a finding of no violations(s)
    3. 10152: Student Information Records: 
      1. Records that are not protected as part of the Student Education record.
        1. These records include, but are not limited to individual office or department files, Entrance Examination Reports, Transcripts (high school, other colleges) foreign student forms, graduation authorizations, advance placement records, applications for admission or readmission, credit by exam forms, placement records, transfer credit evaluations, student ledger cards/registration system receipts, tuition and fee charges, AAPP scan sheets and essay booklets, examination papers and answer sheets, athletic department files, campus health clinic records. Retention: 5 yrs.; End Action: Destroy


Certificate of

Certificate of Destruction form
TN Division of Records Management http://sos.tn.gov/rmd
APSU Records Management https://www.apsu.edu/business-services/records.php

Revision Dates

 APSU Policy 4:017 - Rev.: March 15, 2018
APSU Policy 4:017 – Issued: March 8, 2017

Subject Areas:

Academic Finance General Human



President: signature on file