Using the University General Records Retention Schedule

The University General Records Retention Schedule ("General Schedule") serves as the basic guide for the retention of common University records series. The disposition of records series not covered by the General Schedule must be authorized separately on an individual office records retention schedule approved by the State Records Committee. For copies of office records retention schedules, please contact University Records Management.

Records retention guidelines on the general university schedule have been reviewed and approved by the University Records Officer and generally reflect retention standards developed in cooperation with the office of record and, when appropriate, with the advice of the University Auditor and Assistant Attorney General. This schedule is issued by the Washington State Records Committee pursuant to its authority under the provisions of Chapter 40.14 of the Revised Code of Washington. The State Records Committee is composed of representatives of the Offices of State Auditor, Attorney General, Financial Management, and the State Archivist. For more information about the development and implementation of retention schedules, please see our guide, Implementing Records Retention Schedules

Reading the Retention Schedule

The WWU General Schedule is divided into eight sections based on common functions. Each section contains a list of the records series that related to it. A records series is a group of documents which perform a specific function in an office, such as a student or personnel file. There are three basic components of a records series: the disposition authority number, the series title and description, and the retention and disposition instructions.

WWU Disposition Authority Reference: Each records series reviewed and approved by the State Records Committee is assigned a disposition authority number ("DAN") to show that the disposition of the documents in the series has been approved by the committee. The WWU Disposition Authority Reference links this DAN to the specific record listed on the file plan. The WWU Disposition Authority Reference should be used when recording the disposition of records to align the records destroyed to the proper retention schedule.

Records Series Title and Description: The records series name and a brief description of the records it includes. This may also include what office has primary responsibility for the records.

Retention and Disposition Instructions: The retention and disposition instructions specify how long the records covered by that records series must be kept, as well as what must happen to the records once the retention period is complete. These instructions are made up of three parts.

Cut-off: Specifies the date or event at which the record becomes inactive and the retention period begins

Retention period: The length of time the records must be kept after the cut-off has occurred

Disposition: What must happen to the records once the total retention period (cut-off plus retention period) has been met. Generally, disposition is either "Destroy" or "Transfer to Archives" 

Applying the General Schedule

Once the appropriate records series has been chosen, determine if the total retention period has been met. If it has, follow the disposition instructions. For help transferring archival records to the University Archives, contact Tony Kurtz (x3124) or see our page Transferring Records. For records that are eligible for destruction, see our page Records Destruction

Both archival and non-archival paper records that have not met the total retention period, but have passed the cut-off event, can be sent to the University Records Center using our online transmittal form. Once the retention period has been met, the University Records Center will perform the appropriate disposition action.

Digital non-archival records that have not met the total retention period must be managed by the office of record. Records Management can provide advice and consultation about how to manage those records.

Digital archival records may be transferred to the University Archives once the cut-off event has occurred. For more information about transferring digital records to the University Archives, please contact Tony Kurtz (x3124). 

Records that have not met the cut-off must be managed by the office of record until the cut-off has occurred.