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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Records Retention and Disposal of Records : G-070

Policy/Guideline Area

General Guidelines

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office

Purpose

This Guideline sets forth the records retention schedule and procedures for disposal of records for the System Office and all institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Definitions

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 guideline, 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 Record - 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 Value - 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. It shall include preparation of forms, reports, state publications, and correspondence.

Policy/Guideline

  1. 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 guideline 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 System Office or Institution 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 through the System Office.
  2. 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 TBR 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 guideline.
  3. Certificate of Destruction
    1. Records Management Division has authorized the implementation and utilization of the Certificate of Destruction form (see Exhibit 1) 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 annual Operation Roundfile campaign – an initiative through Executive Order 38 to purge out-of-date documents and/or records on an annual basis. (Exhibit 2)
      1. Certificates shall be held at the institution.
  4. Records Retention Schedules
    1. The Tennessee Board of Regents adheres to Statewide and TBR 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 Sections V. and VI. below.
  5. 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.
    2. SW02: Accounting Reports - Documents relating to monthly accounting reports. This series also includes Accounting Reports from Edison, Banner, or the STARS System.
    3. SW03: Human Resources Employee Information Documents - Documents pertaining to office personnel locator information, supervisory/employee information, and separated employee records. Examples: Cards or sheets showing name, address, telephone number, and similar data for each office employee; printouts.
    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.
    5. SW06: Boards & Commissions Documents - Documents or recordings related to meetings of Boards, Commissions, Councils, and Committees. Records included are minutes/accounts of proceeding actions taken, agenda, copies of reports, exhibits, and announcements. Also documents relating to all responsibility of agency heads, such as correspondence or memos to internal personnel, officials of other state agencies (including the governor and General Assembly) federal officials, local officials and the general public. Included are: special studies, reports and working papers prepared by the executive staff, policy and procedure manuals , current & obsolete directives (except Executive Orders), and similar related materials.
    6. 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.
    7. SW08: Commissioner's Subject Files - For purposes of this RDA, "Commissioner" means "Chief Executive", which includes Chancellor, President, and Director. "Executive Staff" means all persons employed at the Vice Chancellor, Vice President, and Assistant Director level. Documents relating to all areas of the Chancellor and his/her executive staff in the transaction of official business. Examples: Correspondence and memorandums with internal personnel, officials of other state agencies (including the Governor and General Assembly) federal officials, local officials and the general public. Included are: special studies, reports and working papers prepared by the executive staff, policy and procedure manuals, current & obsolete directives, and similar related materials.
    8. SW09: Attendance and Leave Records - Documents relating to attendance and leave, including correspondence such as notice of holidays and hours worked.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. SW15: Annual Report Working Papers - Working Paper documents relating to the annual reports prepared by all agencies.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. SW19: Active Employee Files - These files consist of Departmental Employee HR information and contains the following, but not limited to, documents: Personnel File Audit Checklist, Request for Personnel Action Form, Employment Application,W‐4 Form, Direct Deposit Authorization, Drug‐Free Workplace Policy, Memo for the Operation of Motor Vehicles by State Employees, Acceptable Use Policy Network Access Rights and Obligations User Agreement Acknowledgement, Performance Document‐Job Plan and Employee Insurance & Benefits File Audit Checklist. Records covered under SW03 Human Resources Employee Information Documents shall not be destroyed under this RDA.
    18. 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)
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. 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.
    22. 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.)
    23. 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.
    24. 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.
    25. 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.
    26. 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.
    27. 11068: State Owned Real Property - Records may include, but are not limited to: Warranty Deeds to and/or the State, Maps, Drawings, Plot Layouts, Premises Land Leases, Appraisals, Surveys, Environmental Assessments, Photographs, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Web Site and any other documents chronicling the history, sale, or purchase of State owned property.
  6. TBR RDA’s:
    1. 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 institution.
        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: Retention 5 years
        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.
      4. 11169: Student Education Record. Retention: Permanent.
        1. ​These records contain the official education record of students attending TBR institutions.
        2. These records include, but are not limited to:
          1. Academic Records (includes Narrative Evaluations, Competency Assessments);
          2. Change of Grade Records;
          3. Financial Aid Transcripts;
          4. Class Lists (original grade sheets or cards);
          5. Permanent Student Cards;
          6. Statistical Data (enrollment, grades, racial/ethnic, degree);
          7. Student Disciplinary Files resulting in Expulsion or Suspension;
          8. ​Defining Education Records is contained in 20 USC 1232g: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2010-title20/pdf/USCODE-2010-title20-chap31-subchapIII-part4-sec1232g.pdf 
      5. 11170: Student National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA/NJCAA), Patient, and Academic Second Opportunity Records. Retention: 10 years
        1. These records include, but are not limited to athletic files including NCAA and NJCAA eligibility and related files, student patient files, and Academic Second Opportunity applications. 
    2. 10149: Alumni Development Files/Donor Gifts and Contributions/Endowment and Living Trust Agreements – Current Retention: Permanent. 
      1. These records include, but are not limited to:
        1. Alumni Development Files - Current and historical data including 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.
    3. 11171: Trademark, Copyright, and Patent Records; Printed Materials and Publications – Permanent
      1. These records include, but are not limited to:
        1. Trademark, Copyright, and Patent Records – Forms, documents and materials relating to applications for and granting of trademarks, copyrights and patents.
        2. Printed Materials and Publications – Items which have permanent administrative, physical, historical or legal value, such as: Class schedules (institutional), Graduation Lists, Commencement Program (1 copy), institution catalogs, brochures, etc.
          1. Retain 2 copies in institution library archive.

 

Exhibits

Sources

November 15, 1983 SBR Presidents Meeting; Revised July 1, 1984; Revised July 1, 1985; Revised September 1, 1986; Approved May 14, 1991, Presidents Meeting and implemented August 6, 1993 after approval by State Records Commission; May 5, 1998, Presidents Meeting; May 21, 2002 Presidents Meeting; May 16, 2006 Presidents Meeting; Renamed and revised at Presidents Meeting August 18, 2015. Records Commission RDA approval, June 2016.

Contact

Mickey Sheen
615-366-4437
mickey.sheen@tbr.edu