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Indiana Wesleyan University Support Knowledge Base

Document Retention and Destruction Policy


This document holds the University's official policy for retention and destructionof both print and electronic documents.


  1. Purpose

This policy provides for the systematic review, retention and destruction of documents received or created by Indiana Wesleyan University in connection with the transaction of institutional business. This policy covers all records and documents, regardless of physical form (including electronic documents), contains guidelines for how long certain documents should be kept and how records should be destroyed. The policy is designed to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and regulations, to eliminate accidental or innocent destruction of records and to facilitate IWU’s operations by promoting efficiency and freeing up valuable storage space.

  1. Document Retention and Destruction Schedule

Attached as Appendix A is a Document Retention and Destruction Schedule that IWU approved as the initial maintenance, retention and disposal schedule for physical records and the retention and disposal of electronic records. The Vice President for Business Affairs (“Administrator”) is the officer in charge of the administration of this policy and the implementation of processes and procedures to ensure that the Document Retention and Destruction Schedule is followed. The Administrator is also authorized to:

  • make modifications to the Document Retention Schedule from time to time to ensure that it is in compliance with local, state and federal laws and includes the appropriate document and record categories for the University;
  • monitor local, state and federal laws affecting record retention;
  • annually review the record retention and disposal program; and
  • monitor compliance with this Policy.
  1. Electronic Documents and Records

Electronic Mail: Not all email needs to be retained. Length of retention depends on the subject matter.

Staff shall retain all business related emails by saving/transferring those items to archived folders no later than every six (6) months. If email chains are to be retained, only the last communication in the chain should be saved/transferred to the archive file. Business emails that should be retained include those involving completed and ongoing transactions and matters within the scope of the employee’s job responsibility. Questions regarding emails to be retained should be directed to the employee’s supervisor. Files attached to emails should be separately retained in accordance with document retention provisions of the category of this policy applicable to the document.

Emails not saved/transferred to archived folders such as personal emails, spam and duplicative emails should be deleted no later than every six (6) months.

Employees shall not store or transfer IWU related email on non-work-related computers except as necessary or appropriate for legitimate business purposes as authorized by the applicable Vice President.

Electronic Records (including Microsoft Office Suite and PDF files): The length of retention depends on the subject matter of the record and these electronic records shall be retained in accordance with the periods applicable to the subject matter of the record.

In certain cases a record will be maintained in both paper and electronic form. In such cases, the official record will be the electronic record. 

  1. Applicability

This policy applies to all physical and electronic records described in Appendix A which are generated in the course of IWU’s operation.

  1. Responsibilities

Departments and units that maintain University records are official repositories. These administrative units are responsible for establishing appropriate record retention management practices in compliance with this policy. Each department manager must:

  • Implement record-management practices in accordance with this policy;
  • Preserve inactive records of historic value and transfer those records to the University archives;
  • Ensure that access to confidential files is restricted; and
  • Destroy inactive records that have no archival value upon passage of the applicable retention period. When the prescribed retention period has passed, a determination of whether to preserve or dispose of the records must be made. To decide if the record is of historic value to the University, consult the University archivist, who has the authority to designate which records are archival.
  1. Disposal of Records

Records that are to be disposed of in accordance with the policy shall be handled in one of the following ways:

  • non-confidential paper records recycled;
  • confidential records shredded or otherwise rendered unreadable;
  • electronically stored data erased or destroyed.

Note: No record list can be exhaustive. Questions regarding the retention period for any specific record or class of records not included in these tables should be addressed to the Administrator.

Caution: Departments and units that are not official repositories and retain duplicate or multiple copies of these University records should dispose of them when they are no longer useful.

  1. Suspension of Record Disposal

Document destruction will be suspended immediately upon any indication of an official investigation or when a lawsuit is filed or appears imminent. Destruction will be reinstated under the direction of the Office of Risk Management and Legal Affairs upon conclusion of the investigation.

  1. Ownership of University Records

University records are property of Indiana Wesleyan University.  No employee has any right in or to such records, nor shall any employee remove, limit access to, or destroy such records except in accordance with applicable University policy.


Document Retention and destruction Schedule


Record Type


Retention Period


Un-Enrolled Applicants

3 years from decision date

Enrolled Students

5 years from graduation date

Campus Police

Incident/Investigation reports

7 years

Clery disclosures and related data


Daily Logs


Environmental Health and Safety

OSHA Logs and Summaries

5 years from year reported

Evacuation drill records; fire protection systems records; hazardous waste disposal manifests and reports.

5 years

Financial Aid

Financial Aid Records

3 years from graduation or date of withdrawal

DOE Audit Determination

5 years from conclusion of audit

Financial / Accounting

Audited Annual Financial Statements and Audit Reports


Debt financing records (bonds, line of credit, etc.)

7 years after active record period

Other (grant reporting, journal entries, surveys, audit support work files, etc.)

7 years after active record period

Human Resources

Applicant records – not hired

1 year

Benefit plan documents and related filings / disclosures


Colleague and CARS records of employee name, date of birth, demographic data, position(s) held, dates of employment, and eligibility for rehire


Employee benefit eligibility-related

7 years after termination

Employee Personnel Records

7 years after termination

Institutional / Governance

Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, accreditation records, Board of Trustee minutes


Intellectual Property

Patent/trademark applications and correspondence; invention disclosures/assignments



Health Center Records

7 years

Records pertaining to employee exposure to toxic or harmful agents or substances

30 years (40 years for inorganic arsenic exposure)

Employee injury and illness reports

5 years


3 years

ADA Accommodation

1 year from record creation or taking of the action

Record Type


Retention Period

Payment Card Data

Credit, debit, other card numbers

No payment card data may be retained after a transaction is successfully processed and reconciled.  Once processed and reconciled, all data must be destroyed by cross-cut shredding or deletion.


Federal and state information returns

7 years


3 years after termination of employment

Planning and Construction

As-built plans


Design/Construction Contracts

7 years after completion


Purchase orders, invoices, purchase card reconciliations, etc.

7 years after active record period

Vendor set up related forms (W-9, W-8, etc.)


Publications, Statistical Documents, and Reports

Commencement programs, course catalogs, degree statistics, enrollment statistics, race/ethnicity reporting


Real Estate Records

Acquisition documents (deeds, etc.)


Tax filings and payments

7 years after filing

Leases, licenses, etc.

7 years after expiration

Risk and Legal

Contracts (includes agreements and MOUs)

7 years from date of final payment / performance

Consent orders, court orders, judgments, releases, settlements


Claims and litigation files where IWU is a party

10 years after final disposition

Liability Insurance Policies


Certificates of Insurance


Driver Applications / BMV checks

7 years after employment ends

Off-campus travel applications

7 years after trip completion

Sponsored Program Records

All associated records

7 years after grant completion

Student Educational Records

Transcripts (IWU, other schools, AARTS/SMARTS), deceased file, list of graduated students, diploma files, grades/changes/rosters, authorization to release information, course waiver exemption, ECE forms, foreign academic review, academic records (including narrative evaluations, competency assessments, etc.), name change, withdraw form, subpoenas, prior learning assessment summary, test scores, transfer course summary, and military forms, receipts, evaluation and educational transcripts.



5 years after graduation / final withdrawal

Tax Records

All IWU state, federal, and local filings


All IWU state, federal, and local filing supporting documentation

7 years after filing

Payroll, Vendor, and Student-related information returns

7 years after active record period

Record Type


Retention Period

University Advancement

Annuity, property, major donor, planned giving, estate, scholarships, and alumni records


Colleague contribution reports, Colleague donor roster reports, church match scholarship agreements and statements.

7 years

Thank you letters (Scholarship), and year-end statements

3 years after donor’s death

Tax Form(s)

Later of 3 years after donor’s death, or 7 years after filing year


This policy will affect all University employees and offices.


13-Apr-2016 - Initial draft created.  Updated 4/14/16.


Policy information

Originally Issued: 3/22/10

Revised:  4/11/16 (Executive Council)


Office of Risk Management & Legal Affairs

Approved by

Vice President for Business Affairs, University President

Additional remarks

There are no known exceptions to this policy at this time

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