What is a retention schedule?

A retention schedule is a list of the types of records (record series) created, received, and used by an institution along with information on how long to keep them and when to delete them. Records Management Services creates the retention schedules that are legally-approved for use by the UW.

Why do we need retention schedules?

As a state agency, any recorded information created, received, or used by the University community is considered a record. Every record has a specific amount of time it needs to be kept before it can be destroyed. Records retention periods are approved by the State Records Committee as required by RCW 40.14.050. Records are expected to be destroyed/deleted at the end of their legally-approved retention periods.

Records Management Services creates two types of retention schedules for those under our jurisdiction - General Records Retention Schedules and Departmental Records Retention Schedules.

General Records Retention Schedules

The UW General Records Retention Schedule is the primary source of retention requirements for the records created, received, and used by the University of Washington. Organized by sections, based upon the function of the record, the General Schedule contains record series that are common to most University offices.

These retention schedules are constantly updated as we learn about new records created and received by the University as well as changes to existing business processes that affect current records. If you have any questions, suggestions, revisions, or additions regarding the schedules, please contact us at 543.0573 or recmgt@uw.edu.

Departmental Records Retention Schedules

Departmental Retention Schedules are supplemental documents created for a specific office, department, or program that have a specific function and therefore create unique records. Use the Departmental Schedule Search to verify if your office uses a Departmental Schedule in addition to the UW General Records Retention Schedule.