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Records Retention

The policies on this webpage have been streamlined and reformatted, and are now available on the University Policies webpage. We ask that you use this new resource, as future changes, additions to or eliminations of these policies will only be made to the University Policies webpage, and policy manuals you may have used in the past will no longer be updated. 

BPM-1001 Records Retention Guide

Revised May 1, 2009


Records retention requirements for all University records and documents (regardless of media) will be collectively determined by the UM Director of Records Management, the Campus Archivist, the Internal Auditing Representative, and General Counsel. No other committee, person or board shall specify records retention requirements. The retention requirements shall be binding on all University academic and administrative departments and staff. No University records shall be destroyed or disposed of by any University officers or employees on their own initiatives.

REFERENCE: CRR 180.010 Archival Program

The following policies found in the Records & Records Management chapter of this manual should be referenced for additional information regarding scheduling, storage and disposal of University records:

BPM 903 Scheduling University Records for Retention & Disposal
BPM 904 Storage of Inactive Records
BPM 905 Disposal of University Records


The Records Retention Guide provides a quick reference to the records retention requirements, including the proper disposition, of those University records that are normally found in all departments.

REFERENCE: Records Retention Guide

The Index section of the Records Retention Guide contains the web link to the Alphabetic Index for records which are generally applicable to all campuses and all departments. Additional records are added as other such records are scheduled for retention and disposal.

REFERENCE: Records Retention Guide - Alphabetical Index


In addition to the records listed in the Records Retention Guide, each department may have records unique to its operation which document the type of work it performs. Such records are to be reviewed by Records Management and, with the department's assistance, a retention authorization will be developed and approved by the Director of Records Management, with the Campus Archivists, Internal Auditing, and General Counsel.

These types of records include:

Individual Department Records

Records found only in a particular department which cannot be included under any other category of records

All Campus/Similar Department Records

Records of similar activities on all campuses (i.e.,, accounting, human resources, procurement, payroll, libraries, etc.), are given a uniform retention schedule.

Archival Records

Records of specific departments or individuals, retained by Campus Archives.

The department receives a copy of the approved authorization form and is encouraged to file these authorizations appropriately as these authorizations cannot be referenced online.


To determine when records may be disposed of, add the retention time to the year of the record plus one year (months are normally ignored when computing retention time),

Example:2000 records with a 5 year retention:
2000 + 5 + 1 = 2006, the year the record is destroyed.

For records that cover more than one period, such as fiscal years, use the latest time period for the year of record. For example, for 2002-03 records, 2003 would be the year of the record. Any exceptions will be noted in the summary.


Certain records (such as cash register tapes and envelopes) are not to be destroyed unless all audit requirements have been met. Questions as to whether such audit requirements have been met are to be directed to the Office of the Controller.


Any questions concerning records scheduling or retention and destruction should be directed to Records Management.