Procedures & Standards


  1. Identify university records in your department or unit. See Definitions.
  2. Comply with the University Records Retention Schedule as found on this website.
  3. Manage active records (within the operating unit) to assure compliance with the Records Retention Schedule and confidentiality policies (e.g., Social Security Number Protection policy; see Resources).
  4. Securely store inactive records to protect against alteration, loss, destruction, and violation of confidentiality (within the operating unit or in a central repository).
  5. Transfer permanent records to the permanent holder.
  6. Consult the Policy Administrator or University Counsel with questions about records retention.


Retention and disposal: The retention periods established for the various record types are neither minimums nor maximums. Rather, these are the specific periods for which university records are to be retained. Expired records are subject to disposition as indicated in the Records Retention policy.

Exception / Caution: An expired record must not be destroyed if there is an expectation that an audit, litigation or a public records request may be pending. See "Caution: Audit, Litigation, or Public Records Request" in the Records Retention policy.

Confidential materials: Access to materials containing confidential data or records should be limited to persons with a need to know based upon the underlying interest. Examples:

  • Social security numbers are confidential as provided by federal law and the Social Security Number Protection policy
  • Personal student records are governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as well as Student Records Policy
  • Employee records are subject to the Employee Records Policy
  • Medical records are covered by federal and state privacy laws
  • Public Records law (Iowa Code Section 22.7) categorizes certain records as exempt from public disclosure.

Permanent Media: Microfilm is recommended as the best form of media for permanent storage of records. Microform is a persistent, permanent method of storage in that technological changes will not cause microform records to become unreadable.

Destruction of records: University records that are not archived permanently will at some point be subject to disposal. See "Disposal of Records" in the Records Retention policy. Records that contain sensitive or confidential data must be thoroughly shredded within the unit or destroyed using the university's Confidential Document Destruction service.