Records Retention

Last Revised: Friday, September 16, 2016

Responsible University Administrator: Vice Chancellor, Business & Finance

Responsible University Office: Business & Finance

Policy Contact: Office of the Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance


This policy applies to the retention of all University Documents of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL). For the purpose of this policy a University Document or record is any paper, book, map, photograph, electronic file, original microfilm, cassette or video tape or other documentary material regardless of physical form or characteristics, made, produced, executed or received by any staff member or person in connection with the transaction of University business.

Policy Statement

UNL follows the retention policies adopted by the University of Nebraska. Records will ordinarily be kept in the administrative unit creating a document. If, after consulting this policy and the appropriate retention schedule, there exists a question regarding the proper disposition or retention of a particular document or class of documents, it shall be the responsibility of the head of the appropriate administrative unit in possession of the document to determine the proper disposition of the item or items. Because this policy is designed to facilitate the routine, orderly and timely archiving or disposition of documents by staff, if it becomes apparent that this policy fails to address certain classes of documents, this should be brought to the attention of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance for appropriate action.

Personal Records

Documents and materials collected by University employees that do not affect University activities are considered personal items if they relate to personal affairs. Such materials are considered private property and are not owned by the University. They should be kept separate from official university records. Examples of personal items include: documents accumulated by an individual prior to employment by the University, materials relating specifically to private activities such as outside business and professional or political affiliations, journals, and correspondence that is not created or received through conducting University activities or business.

However, these materials may be significant to the University and the University Archives in developing a complete record of individual activities and accomplishments at the University of Nebraska. Employees are encouraged to consult the University Archivist about donating their personal papers to the University Archives.

Storage of Records

Records that are ready to be put in storage, based on the attached schedule, should be kept in the designated areas until the time that they are archived or disposed of. Records must be labeled using the procedures in effect at the time of storage, which will include, but are not limited to the subject, date, department and disposition or archiving date.

Archival of Records

Records created through official university activities are the property of the University of Nebraska. These include, but are not limited to: papers, correspondence, official printed material, minutes, committee files, financial and associated records in any form or format.

Inactive records that may be considered of permanent, historical or legal value which should be transferred to the University Archives in compliance with this records management schedule are: administrative and legal files; office files of principal administrators including correspondence relating to policies or unit operations; committee minutes, proceedings, reports and related files; long-term planning records; annual reports; self-studies; reports.

The University of Nebraska Archives, located and functioning on the Lincoln campus, shall be the repository of official and other University-related records of the Business & Finance Division of UNL. The University Archives retains custody of the records after transfer. Use of the records by the transferring office must follow regular Archives reference policies. No records may be removed from the Archives, and all records must be used in the Archives reading room during regular hours of operation. Photocopies or digital reproductions of open records will be available.

Disposal of non-permanent records

Examples of inactive records that may be discarded in compliance with the records retention schedule below include: routine financial and administrative records such as requisitions; travel expense vouchers; accounting reports; drafts of reports or correspondence; routine acknowledgements such as notifications, requests, transmittals, multiple copies of a single document; convenience copies of publications; reports or memos for non-originating offices; copies of widely distributed documents that have originated in other offices such as policies and procedures files and manuals; publications including announcements, newsletters, programs, brochures, and promotional literature.

Records will be disposed based on the attached schedule by the originating department. Sensitive, financial or confidential records should be shredded before disposal.

Responsibility for Records

Each office or administrative unit should designate one individual to be responsible for the semi-annual disposal of non-permanent records and the transferal of those documents to be permanently maintained in the Archives. The timing of these semi-annual disposals or transferals should follow a normal business cycle for the unit.

Reason for Policy

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln serves the citizens of the state and has a responsibility to preserve the history of the University for future generations. The goals of this records retention policy are: 1) to identify documents that must be retained permanently or temporarily due to federal or state legal requirements or for valid administrative reasons, 2) to provide guidance and clarification on which documents have lasting archival value to the people of the state and should be preserved in the University Archives, 3) to provide for the routine and timely disposal of documents which need not be retained for legal or administrative reasons and have no historical value.


To find the appropriate records retention schedule on the NU policy site (linked under Related Information), please select "Records Retention" from the "Filter by Type" dropdown field to see a list of all retention schedules, which are divided into categories of records.


University Document: A University Document or record is any paper, book, map, photograph, electronic file, original microfilm, cassette or video tape or other documentary material regardless of physical form or characteristics, made, produced, executed or received by any staff member or person in connection with the transaction of University business.


  • This policy was reformatted in 2020. No content edits were made.