Click on a question below to view the answer.
You may also limit the results by entering a search term.

New Employees

As a state agency, the University of Washington is subject to laws regarding public records and transparency. Subsequently, the university, each of its offices, and each and every employee has the legal responsibility to demonstrate the proper care and management of its records. That means:

  1. Keeping the record for the appropriate amount of time (the retention period)
  2. Keeping it in such a way that it is not damaged or destroyed
  3. Keeping it in such a way that it can be found and viewed
  4. Being able to produce copies in the event of litigation, audit, or public records request
  5. Disposing of the records promptly, in an appropriate manner, once the retention period has expired

For more information, please see our Your Responsibility page.

The state defines a record in RCW 40.14.010. In short, a record is any recorded information, created or received, regardless of:

  • physical format or characteristics,
  • the device (computer) on which it is created or stored, or
  • the owner of the device.

→ For more information, see What is a record?

It is the content, not the medium, which determines the retention obligation of a record. Always apply the retention schedule regardless of format.

Consult the University General Records Retention Schedule and check to see if your department has a supplemental Departmental Records Retention Schedule.

For more information, see University of Washington Retention Schedules.

These retention periods apply to all electronic records regardless of format including, but not limited to, spreadsheets, Zoom recordings, email, and word documents. For more information, see our resources on electronic records.

No, there are no exceptions HOWEVER there are several types of records that can be disposed of as soon as they’ve outlived their usefulness. For a list of records that can be destroyed/deleted as soon as they have served their reference purpose, see Materials That May Be Disposed of Without a Specific Retention Period.

Some common examples include preliminary drafts, duplicates, scheduling emails, automatically-generated notifications, and routine informational exchanges. These types of records oftentimes constitute a large portion of the records an office or individual receives, but can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from more valuable records. If your office has an overwhelming amount of these types of records, we have a special unit to help with redundant, obsolete and transitory (ROT) materials. You can schedule a consultation with our ROT Squad today or contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573.

If you have questions or would like further clarification, please contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573. For a list of records that can be destroyed/deleted as soon as they have served their reference purpose, see Materials That May Be Disposed of Without a Specific Retention Period.

An office or department is always welcome to scan records so long as they keep the original paper documents. If you want to scan and destroy the original paper, your office must have a written Scanning Policy on file with our office. To check if you already have a scanning policy, talk to the Records Coordinator in your office or try our Departmental Search webpage – it tells you if you have a departmental retention schedule and/or a scanning policy. If you are still unsure, please contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573.

If your office is scanning records into Ariba, EDMS, GCCR, or Workday, please see the University-wide policies

If you can’t find a record series on the General Schedule it is because

  1. the record is no longer being created;
  2. it needs to be added to the schedule;
  3. you might use a different name for this type of record.

Contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573 and we will help you find the appropriate record series and determine how long to keep it.

There are a variety of regulations regarding the privacy of records, and there are a number of offices at the university responsible for policies that oversee confidentiality. Regardless, while assuring the privacy requirements of your records are met, you must still observe the proper retention period outlined in the General Records Retention Schedule. The records must be accessible and readable by individuals with appropriate security clearance until they reach the end of the retention period.

For more information about implementing proper security for your files, please contact the UW Privacy Office.

For state, gift, and endowment budget records see the Financial Records section of the general schedule. For grant and contract budgets see the Research and Grant/Contract Records section. Records viewable in MyFinancial.desktop and Ariba, are managed centrally. Any paper or electronic copies of records you have are duplicates and should not be retained. See Electronic Records that do not need to be printed or saved.

Our office offers training on a variety of records management topics. Our most recent training materials can be viewed on our website and accessed using Canvas. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when we roll out new trainings.

If you do not see the training you are interested in, please contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573. We also provide customized consultations for individual offices and 1-on-1 meetings via Zoom or video conference platform of your choice.  

General Questions

Unfortunately 501(c)(3)s are out of the jurisdiction of our office.  You are welcome to use the University of Washington's General Records Retention Schedule as your guide to determine how long to keep your records, however we highly recommend that your Board approves its use before you destroy any records.

Retention periods are based on state, federal, and private sponsor requirements. These requirements are identified by UW Records Management Services and approved as required by WA State Statute by the State Records Committee.

Consult the University General Records Retention Schedule and check to see if your department has a supplemental Departmental Records Retention Schedule.

For more information, see University of Washington Retention Schedules.

These retention periods apply to all electronic records regardless of format including, but not limited to, spreadsheets, Zoom recordings, email, and word documents. For more information, see our resources on electronic records.

If you can’t find a record series on the General Schedule it is because

  1. the record is no longer being created;
  2. it needs to be added to the schedule;
  3. you might use a different name for this type of record.

Contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573 and we will help you find the appropriate record series and determine how long to keep it.

Yes, we have responsibility for keeping records for their full retention period regardless of whether they are still being created or used.

Although no longer being created, Form 220s are still a very important record that needs to be maintained by the University. Please send any Form 220 you find to Human Resources, Box 354963.

Yes, if you are being audited or have received notice of an audit, if there is litigation regarding the records (or even pending litigation), or if there is a public records request—the responsive records should not be destroyed until the matter is resolved and their retention period has ended. We consider that a “Destruction Hold” has been placed on the relevant records. Records of any format can be subject to Destruction Holds, including webpages, emails, voicemails, texts, video, and handwritten notes.

Not exactly. The retention clock keeps ticking through the “Destruction Hold”. If a retention period ends while the records are still on hold, do not destroy the records. The records should not be destroyed until both the “Destruction Hold” has been lifted and the retention period has ended.

There are a variety of regulations regarding the privacy of records, and there are a number of offices at the university responsible for policies that oversee confidentiality. Regardless, while assuring the privacy requirements of your records are met, you must still observe the proper retention period outlined in the General Records Retention Schedule. The records must be accessible and readable by individuals with appropriate security clearance until they reach the end of the retention period.

For more information about implementing proper security for your files, please contact the UW Privacy Office.

Records will either be designated “Transfer to Archives for Review” or “Archival” on a Records Retention Schedule. Records that fall into these categories will be reviewed by the University Archivist who will determine whether to bring them into the archival collection of the UW. If the Archivist does not decide to accept specific records, regardless of their designation, the records can be either shredded or recycled at the end of their retention period.

Yes, any policies or procedures with which we expect our employees to comply are considered historical or “Archival” records. These records are considered permanent. A copy should be captured and transferred to the University Archives before the policy or procedure is revised. See the series on Policies and Procedures in the General Office Administration Records section of the University General Records Retention Schedule.

Please contact the the University Archivist, John Bolcer at jdbolcer@uw.edu or via the UW Library Special Collections website.

Our office offers training on a variety of records management topics. Our most recent training materials can be viewed on our website and accessed using Canvas. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when we roll out new trainings.

If you do not see the training you are interested in, please contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573. We also provide customized consultations for individual offices and 1-on-1 meetings via Zoom or video conference platform of your choice.  

Email and Electronic Records

Yes. Like any other kind of record, retention periods do have to be applied to emails. The retention is based on the content of each individual email since email itself is not a record; it is a way of transmitting information. Most emails have a very transitory value and therefore can be deleted as soon as they have fulfilled their reference purpose. These emails include preliminary drafts, general announcements, and routine requests for information.

For a full list of content that does not have to be retained see: Materials That May Be Disposed of Without a Specific Retention Period.

However, all other email must be retained for some period of time. The following are examples of categories of email which have specific retention periods:

  • Policy and Procedure Directives
  • Agendas and minutes of meetings
  • Messages related to legal or audit issues
  • Messages that document departmental/office actions, decisions, operations and responsibilities
  • Final reports or recommendations
  • Approvals for purchasing or hiring new employees

To determine the retention periods of these records, please refer to the UW General Records Retention Schedules and your Departmental Retention Schedule.

For more information, please see our resource on Email Management.

On average, over 80% of emails are transitory and can safely be deleted before an employee leaves your department. However, the remainder of records with continuing retention requirements must be transferred to another repository so that they are able to be searched, read, and produced for the full retention period (see Section 6 of the University Email Policy). This can mean transferring messages to another employee’s email or a departmental email account or saving them outside of email such as on a shared network drive.

If you have questions, or would like a recommendation, please contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573.

The following is a list of situations where it makes sense to move emails to a more enduring, shared location:

  • Important attachments (Save the attachment and delete the email)
  • When you want to keep all records on a particular person/project together in one place
  • Records that colleagues will benefit from having access to
  • Records with retention periods of 10+ years
  • When you are leaving your position, any records that have continuing retention or value to the office

Remember, you can use shared folders or a departmental email account to provide shared access to email records as well.

When you drag-and-drop an email from Microsoft Outlook it saves the email and any attachments as a .msg file. This file format is acceptable in most cases, but for records with retention periods of 10+ years, or if you have people in your office who do not use Outlook for email, converting emails to PDF is the preferred solution.

If you're looking to transfer emails to another person or office, speak with them first about what method and format (e.g., snapshot, shared folders, forwarding, PST, MSGs, PDFs, etc.) will work best. Please note: preserving metadata is often paramount in legal matters. In these cases, forwarding or converting emails may not be the best approach as the process can potentially modify or destroy part of an email's metadata.

Yes. Records retention schedules cover all records created or received by University employees, whether in paper or electronic format. Both the state and the federal government define a record as information “regardless of physical form or characteristics”, so by definition, an email, database, or word document is also a record. Since every record has a specific amount of time it must be retained before it can be destroyed, this retention requirement applies to electronic records as well. At the end of the retention period, electronic records should be deleted or transferred to the University Archives (if listed as “Archival” or “Potentially Archival” on a UW Records Retention Schedule).

Please be aware that all records pertaining to ongoing or pending audits, lawsuits (or even reasonably anticipated lawsuits), or public disclosure proceedings are said to be on destruction hold and must not be altered or destroyed until the hold has been lifted and the records have met their retention.

No. Currently, most records are created or received electronically, and maintaining them in their native electronic format is actually preferred over printing and retaining them in paper. However, be aware that electronic records are governed by the same retention requirements as paper records. When saving electronic records or designing a database you need to consider the retention period of the record and ensure it is accessible and readable for the full retention period. You must also ensure that it can be deleted or wiped at the end of the retention period. Any paper copies are considered duplicates and should not be saved. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573 to discuss this further.

Any records created or received by your office must remain findable and accessible for the full retention period. This is not always straight forward in OneDrive/Google Drive. Keep in mind when using these systems:

  • Use a Google Team Drive or a OneDrive account linked to a departmental UW NetID. This allows you to sidestep the potential loss of documents that can occur when an employee leaves your department.
  • Like any other records repository, set and manage your access permissions in order for others to be able to see and access documents stored in the cloud. This prevents silos that can be lost or forgotten.
  • Incorporate records cleanup into your off-boarding process. Departing employees should delete any records that are past retention and, if using individual accounts, migrate any records with continuing retention to a durable, shared repository.

For more information about the responsibilities inherent in using a third-party cloud service provider, please see our resource on Cloud-Based Applications Best Practices. If you have questions, or would like further clarification, please contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573.

When you record a meeting via a video conferencing platform like Zoom, Teams, or Skype, you are creating a record. Like other University records, it must be retained for the legally-approved retention period and may be releasable if requested under the Washington State Public Records Act or under Federal FOIA. It is University best practice to avoid recording meetings unnecessarily. If you do record your meeting, you must:

  • Be mindful of laws that may relate to recordings (e.g., RCW 9.73.030 – Washington’s two-party consent requirements for private conversations)
  • Save the recording to an appropriate electronic repository for the full retention period.
  • Be able to find, access, and produce the recording, if requested.
  • Apply retention and delete recordings (at least) annually as their individual retention periods expire.

For more detailed recommendations, see our resource on Best Practices for Zoom and Other Conferencing Recordings.

Backups are considered to be duplicates. Duplicates can be destroyed once they have served their reference purpose. We highly recommend using backups only to restore data in cases of a disk failure, accidental deletion, or for disaster recovery purposes. We recommend that full backups should not be kept for more than 6 months and that partial backups not be kept for more than 3 months.

It depends upon the type of changes that are being made to the webpage.

If you are only modifying the layout or display, or making other revisions that don't substantially change the content, then you do not have to keep a copy of old webpages.

If the changes to the webpage include revising, adding or removing substantive information like policies or procedures, requirements, deadlines, program or course descriptions, then the site must be retained permanently as a historical or “Archival” record. Other sites that contain research data should be kept for 6 years after the end of the research study under which the data was created.

There are two simple ways to retain an old webpage/site:

  1. Before making the changes, download a copy of the page/site and file it chronologically with any previous changes/updates.
  2. If your website is capable of it, enable version control. This will track the different revisions as you update content and enables you to pull up previous versions when needed.

Note: Be sure to also capture any important embedded content or downloadable files that are part of the page.

Please see our resource on Saving Webpages for Retention and Holds for more detail.

If your page is the official location of policy, procedure, or program descriptions you can contact the University Archivist, John Bolcer for information on how to transfer these websites to the University Archives for permanent preservation.

Washington State defines a record as information regardless of physical form or characteristics. Chat/instant messages, tweets, texts and any other forms of written communication are subject to retention requirements and to public records requests. Because it is so difficult to capture these communications, we strongly advise not using them for approvals or to provide customized or unique advice to a student or employee. Those messages are best relayed through email.

Like email, the content of the message determines the retention. Generally, most if not all of these messages can be considered transitory and will fall under the listing for email you can delete in the UW Email Best Practices.

If approvals or unique advice is communicated to a student or employee via instant message, text, or a tweet, we advise that the conversation be saved to a more robust records repository (such as a network shared drive or an official UW email account) and retained based on its retention on the UW Records Retention Schedule. Contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 206-543-0573 for help identifying a specific record series.

Like all other electronic records, the retention for Facebook and all other social media is determined by the content of the post. If social media is used as a marketing tool and any information posted can be found on an official website or imbedded in written policy and procedure, then the content of the social media site can be considered a duplicate record. Duplicates can be destroyed as soon as they have served their reference purpose. In addition, we suggest taking down content that is not up-to-date.

If your Facebook account or other social media sites are the official location of policy, procedure, or program descriptions that are not posted in another location, you can contact the University Archivist, John Bolcer for information on how to transfer these sites to the University Archives for permanent preservation.

If the messages are sent, received, and archived in connection with the transaction of University business they are considered a public record; therefore, they should be retained using an approved UW Records Retention Schedule.

Retention is based on the purpose of the listserv and the content of the emails. Most listserv messages are transitory and can be deleted once their reference purpose is served. Messages like those containing final recommendations or approvals for actions taken, on the other hand, must be retained for 6 years.

Because UW-IT deletes archived messages from Mailman after only 1 year, those messages which have continuing retention requirements should be transferred to another storage location such as a network drive, SharePoint site, or Google Team Drive. This is also true for any messages which may be needed for an audit, litigation, or public records request as they must be retained until the action has been resolved. Once there is no longer a legal, fiscal, or administrative need to retain these saved messages, they should be deleted from their storage location.

For more information, see the Mailman Data Retention Policy.

eSignatures and DocuSign

Yes, an eSignature service is now being offered by UW-IT as part of the Enterprise Document Management business service. eSignature capabilities are provided through an enterprise UW license for an online software called DocuSign. It provides the following business functions both electronically and securely: signatures, data collection, approvals, notification and acknowledgement.

For more information and to sign up, see the IT-Connect page on eSignatures.

If you want to scan then destroy the original paper record, your office must have a written Scanning Policy on file with UW Records Management Services. We encourage you to use our Scanning Policy Builder to aid in drafting a departmental scanning policy that meets all University and State requirements.

Scanning

An office or department is always welcome to scan records so long as they keep the original paper documents. If you want to scan and destroy the original paper, your office must have a written Scanning Policy on file with our office. To check if you already have a scanning policy, talk to the Records Coordinator in your office or try our Departmental Search webpage – it tells you if you have a departmental retention schedule and/or a scanning policy. If you are still unsure, please contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573.

If your office is scanning records into Ariba, EDMS, GCCR, or Workday, please see the University-wide policies

The UW Scanning Requirements which necessitate a Scanning Policy are based on Imaging Systems, Standards for Accuracy and Durability – Chapter 434663 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). These requirements must be met to authorize the use of scanned images as replacements for the original paper records.

Scanning policies must include specific information on the following five topics:

  • Records Retention Requirements
  • Technical Scanning Requirements
  • Storage Location and Access
  • Filing and Organization
  • Preservation and Disposition

We encourage you to use our Scanning Policy Builder to aid in drafting a departmental scanning policy that meets all University and State requirements.

  • If you are scanning records into ARIBA or Workday, you should be following the University-wide scanning policy which allows you to dispose of any original paper source documents as soon as they have been uploaded.
  • For all other records, If you already have a scanning policy on file with our office, the original paper copies are considered duplicates and can be destroyed.
  • If you do not have a scanning policy on file with our office, the original paper copies remain the legal copy of the record and must be stored and maintained for their full retention period.

UW Records Management Services does not accept paper copies of scanned records for storage. While you are welcome to retain the paper records within your office, we encourage you to use our Scanning Policy Builder to aid in drafting a departmental scanning policy that meets all University and State requirements.

Our office has written a University-wide ARIBA scanning policy for your use. Every office is expected to follow this policy which allows you to dispose of any original paper source documents (as well as any departmental copies of the PDFs) as soon as they have been uploaded to ARIBA.

For those of you with SNAP grants, the use of this policy eliminates the need to keep your own copies of SNAP grant-related financial records in your office.

If you want to scan then destroy the original paper record, your office must have a written Scanning Policy on file with UW Records Management Services. We encourage you to use our Scanning Policy Builder to aid in drafting a departmental scanning policy that meets all University and State requirements.

Cloud Storage

Yes. Using a third-party vendor to store information in the cloud or using third-party services, such as Moodle, as part of interaction with students does not affect how these records are defined. Even if the records are not in our custody, these records are created on behalf of the University. Therefore, they are public records and may be subject to requests and legal action.

It is your responsibility to ensure vendors meet the retention requirements as well as delete the records after the retention has been met.  Further, the University must be able to access the records for the entire retention period, especially if they need to be turned over to the public records office, auditor or an attorney.

For more information about the responsibilities inherent in using a third-party cloud service provider, please see our resource on Cloud-Based Applications Best Practices.

Any metadata is considered to be part of the record and must be preserved and managed for the full retention period, the same as the content.

You must retrieve and preserve any records which have not passed their retention until the full retention period has been met. While migrating these records to your new vendor’s platform is not absolutely required, the records must be retained in a form that remains accessible and readable. We recommend wording to this effect be included in your contract to help eliminate any misunderstandings on this point.

Any records created or received by your office must remain findable and accessible for the full retention period. This is not always straight forward in OneDrive/Google Drive. Keep in mind when using these systems:

  • Use a Google Team Drive or a OneDrive account linked to a departmental UW NetID. This allows you to sidestep the potential loss of documents that can occur when an employee leaves your department.
  • Like any other records repository, set and manage your access permissions in order for others to be able to see and access documents stored in the cloud. This prevents silos that can be lost or forgotten.
  • Incorporate records cleanup into your off-boarding process. Departing employees should delete any records that are past retention and, if using individual accounts, migrate any records with continuing retention to a durable, shared repository.

For more information about the responsibilities inherent in using a third-party cloud service provider, please see our resource on Cloud-Based Applications Best Practices. If you have questions, or would like further clarification, please contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573.

Grant and Contract Records

For most grant-related financial records, the FSR submission is the trigger date used to signify the start of the record retention period. The trigger represents an event, in order of precedence:

  1. FSR Submission: The date the Financial Status Report (FSR) was submitted to the sponsor. FSR Submission types are Final FSR or Quarterly or Annual FSRs for awards renewed quarterly or annually.
  2. Final Invoice Date: The date the Final Invoice was submitted to the sponsor, where no FSR is required.
  3. Budget Closeout: The date the final budget reconciliation was completed, where the sponsor does not require an FSR or Final Invoice. Includes invoicable budgets.

Locate the FSR date for a given budget using GrantTracker. If the “Trigger” field is not populated, the date should be available in the notes section of Grant Tracker. Click here to view the step by step guide on locating the trigger date in GrantTracker.

Please note that for sub-budgets, departments should look to the parent budget for the trigger date which is used to signify the start of the retention period. For both competitive and non-competitive grant renewals, the trigger date is based on the annual or quarterly FSR submission, not the final termination date of the grant.

Financial records for SNAP grants follow the same retention requirements as any other awards. The retention period, as it is for all other grant financial records is 6 years after submission of the FSR.  And like all other grant financial records, use the trigger of submission of a Financial Status Report (FSR) to begin the retention count-down.

However, SNAP grants are unusual in that only one FSR is submitted. This submission takes place at the end of the final renewal period. This means that for SNAP grants only, all financial records are retained for the full term of the award.

The University retention requirements are established to ensure the availability of financial records that may be required for audit purposes. These retention periods either meet or exceed federal and state requirements. State and federal auditors have a 6-year window of opportunity to audit financial records that begins either when the FSR is submitted, the date the Final Invoice was submitted to the sponsor where no additional FSR is required, or the date the final budget reconciliation was completed where the sponsor does not require an FSR or Final Invoice. Unless you have a SNAP grant, these submissions take place annually or sometimes quarterly for your grant. Only departments with SNAP grants or those grants where no FSR or Final Invoice is required must retain their financial records for the full term of the award.

Original receipts should be forwarded to the UW except in the following circumstances:

  • Locally based staff who are reimbursed from an established UW office in-country (e.g. UW Kenya, I-TECH local offices), with the agreement of UW Banking Operations.
  • Local laws require original receipts to be retained in-country

In the above cases, scanned copies of receipts can be forwarded to the UW. Paper receipts can be scanned and forwarded as PDFs. Electronic receipts should be forwarded in their original format.

Departments who have a scanning policy on file with Records Management Services can destroy their paper receipts once they have been scanned. To begin scanning documents, first visit our Scanning Policy Builder. Departments without a scanning policy must retain their scanned paper receipts for the full retention period. See UW General Schedule Research and Grant/Contract Records.

For studies that are considered clinical trials and focus on drug testing or development use Research Data—Drug Development. For all other clinical trials use Research Records and Data. Choose the series description that best fits your study.

Since a renewal is an authorization for followup support to a project, for administrative records and research records and data, the retention period is triggered after the final renewal ends, the grant is closed and there is no further research supporting that project.

Renewals have no impact on the retention of financial records. See series for the retention of financial records related to grants/contracts.

You can send boxes for storage at any time. On receipt of the boxes we would use the current anticipated study end date as the first trigger. This is the date the current renewal is projected to end. As your stored boxes near the end of their retention period, you will receive an automatic notification email from our database asking for the most current award renewal date. Each time we receive a new projected end date we will revise the study end trigger date in our database.

Please note that we will not start the count-down of the actual retention until there are no more changes to the trigger date. The retention clock will not start until the award is no longer renewed.

Yes it is. However, please review Grants Information Memorandum 37 to ensure the principal investigator is aware of the compliance issues regarding the transfer of research data.

MyFD Financial Reports

For state, gift, and endowment budget records see the Financial Records section of the general schedule. For grant and contract budgets see the Research and Grant/Contract Records section. Records viewable in MyFinancial.desktop and Ariba, are managed centrally. Any paper or electronic copies of records you have are duplicates and should not be retained. See Electronic Records that do not need to be printed or saved.

No. We have worked closely with the Financial Desktop group to ensure that MyFinancial.desktop would be responsible for meeting the retention period of the records it holds.

If you do print or save a document, consider it a duplicate and destroy it once it has been reconciled.

Please note that for those sponsored budgets that do not submit financial status reports at least annually, you will need to continue to keep your own copies of ISDs, CTIs, and invoices for the full retention period. See Research and Grant/Contract Records.

Yes. If you have a record that is not on MyFinancial.desktop, like a ProCard receipt, you are responsible for keeping it for the full retention period.

Copies of invoices paid with an online PAS Purchase Order do not need to be retained by departments. Invoices that were processed in the PAS legacy system are still accessible in MyFD, excluding wire invoices, while the data remains in MyFD. MyFD retains data for the prior three biennia plus the current biennium. Wire invoices may be viewed via Ariba, either from Expense Reports, P2I or foreign suppliers in other transactions.

There are many financial reports that do not have to be printed or saved. They will be visible and accessible for their full retention period through MyFinancial.desktop, Procurement Desktop Reports, the Electronic Data Warehouse, or other central UW databases like ARIBA. Any reports that are printed are considered duplicates and can be destroyed as soon as they have served their reference purpose. For more information, see Electronic Records That Do Not Need to Be Printed or Saved.

Please note that for those sponsored budgets that do not submit financial status reports at least annually, you will need to continue to keep your own copies of ISDs, CTIs, and invoices for the full retention period. See Research and Grant/Contract Records.

No. As of May, 2017, BAR and BSR reports are no longer printed. Financial reports can be accessed online through MyFinancial.desktop. Older BAR and BSR reports are considered a duplicate copy and may be disposed of as soon as they have served their reference purpose.

The Transaction Summary Report is the online equivalent of the printed BAR. It displays individual transactions that impacted a budget during a reporting period.

The Budget Summary Report is the online equivalent to the printed BSR. Includes budgeted amounts, encumbrances, transaction totals, and budget balances.

Administrators and PIs are able to electronically ‘sign-off’ on the Reconciliation Report in MyFinancial.desktop. This is the recommended means for demonstrating oversight of fiscal transactions. To view the steps on approving the reconciliation report electronically, go to the MyFd website.

Decision Support Center has a number of financial reports designed to augment the reports available in MyFinancial.desktop. There are numerous reports available through the Decision Support Center for your use. These reports are accessible through the ‘More Systems’ drop-down found within the MyFinancial.desktop application. You may choose to save a report from the Decision Support Center but, as reports from MyFD, they are considered duplicates and can be destroyed at any time. Please do not print them.

Student Records

The retention for e-mail is based on the content of each individual email. Emails that simply request or provide generic information are transitory and can be deleted as soon as a reply is given or received. E-mails that inform decision-making or could potentially be relied upon legally or financially are substantive and must be retained as per an approved retention schedule.

Examples of transitory emails:

  • Answer directional questions such as:
    • "When is the test?"
    • "What are your office hours?"
    • "How do I apply for this program?"
  • Provide generic information
  • Contain information or links from a source such as a website, database, or content management system

Examples of substantive emails:

  • Complaints against UW employees or fellow students
  • Requests for a waiver or appeal
  • Grade appeals
  • Advising recommendations
  • Address disciplinary and conduct issues

For additional information on the retention of communication to and from students see (schedule when it comes out) If you have questions about the retention for specific types of student communications, please contact us at 543-0573 or recmgt@uw.edu.

 

The retention for course materials is one quarter (3 months) after the materials are no longer needed for agency business. The retention for student exams, papers, and assignments is one quarter (3 months) after the end of the quarter.

The University General Records Retention Schedule contains a section specifically for Student and Curriculum Records. Retention applies to all records relating to students, regardless of physical format or storage location. This includes e-mails, databases, and course content management systems such as Canvas/Catalyst.

If you are unable to find the student or curriculum record series you are looking for, please contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573.

Yes. Because UW is a public agency, any and all records are subject to public records requests and audits - including student organization activities and purchases. The University has answered public records requests in the past that included financial and event records from student groups. Student organizations should use the General Records Retention Schedule to apply retention to their records.

Student organization leadership and their faculty advisor(s) are responsible for maintaining the records they receive, create, or use.

Shredding

All General Records Retention Schedules include the appropriate method for disposition of a record once it has reached the end of its retention period. Disposition methods include shredding, recycling, deletion of electronic records, or transfer of the records to the University Archives. The appropriate disposition method is listed right under the retention period.

Examples of confidential or proprietary records that should be shredded include:

  • student files;
  • personnel files;
  • intellectual-property;
  • or any records that contain Social Security Numbers, Student ID numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, etc.

Examples of records that are not confidential and do not need to be shredded include:

  • employee identification numbers (EID) and netIDs;
  • many financial records like bid records, billing records, budget records, invoices;
  • many general office administration records like equipment records, permits, contracts/agreements.

Please contact us at recmgt@uw.edu or 543-0573 if you have questions about the confidentiality of specific records.

If records are sent to the University Records Center for inactive storage, at the end of their retention period we will pay for shredding. If records are stored in an office for the full retention period, the office can either chose to shred the records themselves or pay for a vendor to do the shredding for them.

If non-paper records like tapes and disks contain confidential information, then they must also be destroyed in a way that maintains their confidentiality of their content. If these types of records are sent to the University Records Center for inactive storage, we will pay to have them destroyed in a way that preserves their confidentiality. If non-paper records are stored in an office for the full retention period, we recommend that a vendor take on the destruction. Most shredding vendors can also handle these formats, although their price structure may be different.

Current shredding services contract(s) available to the University can be found on the Procurement Services website using the UW Contracts search tool and using the search term "shredding". You can also contact Procurement Services directly at pcshelp@uw.edu.

It is important to create an audit trail for the records your office disposes of, regardless of whether they are shredded, recycled, deleted, or transferred to University Archives. To that end, we recommend each office maintain a disposition log documenting what records were destroyed and when. For more information, see Destroying Records.