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ECU University History and Records: Using the Records Schedule

Guidance on managing university records at ECU, including using the records schedule, digital records, sensitive records, and transferring records with historical value..

The University of North Carolina General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule

The University of North Carolina General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule provides instructions on how long records need to be retained for legal, fiscal, and historical purposes. The Schedule was last reviewed and amended in January, 2020. The Schedule is a tool for the staff and faculty of the institutions in the UNC System to use when managing the records in their offices.

If you think the a record type is missing from the schedule or if you've found an error in the schedule, please contact the University Records Manager.

How the Schedule is Organized

The Schedule is organized by University business function into 18 broad activity areas called "standards." Each standard contains numerous series that contain groupings of records that are "created, received, or used iin the same activity." Series titles refer to the purpose of the records, not the name of the unit they are created or used by.

Key Concepts

  • Destruction: appropriate disposal of records after retention ends, method can vary by record type (e.g. confidential recycling, secure delete, etc.)
  • Record Series: a group of related records; the sections of the UNC General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule
  • Retention and disposition: how long you must keep a record and what to do with it after that period ends
  • Record Copy: original or official copy of a record that is retained for legal, operational, or historical purposes (this is the copy that is subject to retention and disposition)
  • Office of Record: the office responsible for the record copy
  • Permanent: the disposition specified for records of enduring value that must be actively maintained in an accessible and readable format and preserved indefinitely (in many cases, records marked for permanent retention will eventually be transferred to the University Archives)
  • Reference Copy: an unofficial copy of a record that is maintained for ease of access and reference (not subject to the retention and disposition schedule and should be destroyed when no longer needed)
  • Transitory records: records that are transactional or for temporary use (e.g. emails about appointment confirmations, follow-up reminders, transmittal sheets)

Destruction of Records

The Appendix to the General Schedule lists acceptable methods of destroying paper and electronic records that have met their required retention requirements and are not subject to legal or audit holds. Destruction of these records can occur in your office or through a commercial company. Confidential records should be destroyed through our approved vendor. Prior to destruction, the Disposal Request form should be completed, once approval is granted, the records can be destroyed.
Note that special handling is required for confidential records. See the ITCS Guidelines for Protecting Sensitive Data.
Contact the University Records Manager to coordinate shredding by ECU’s approved vendor.

Tips for Using the Schedule

Use the table of contents to find a standard on a broad area like facilities or information technology. 

Search the PDF document for keywords by using the "Ctrl F" function. For example, search for "search committee" or "accounts payable" to find information on those specific record types.