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Records Program

State University Records Retention Schedule

Access the Model Records Retention Schedule

The basic tool supporting records management at UK is the State University Model Records Retention Schedule (Model Schedule, for short). It lists the different record series created and maintained by the University and denotes their proper retention period. Employees from throughout the University worked with the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives to develop the Model Schedule. It is approved by the State Archives and Records Commission  quarterly and is updated on a continual basis.

Information on how to use the model schedule and how to suggest changes is below. You can also read KDLA's Introduction to the State University Model Schedule (2010); this document discusses the background of the State University Model Schedule and provides a more in-depth description of the Model Schedule than provided in the Records Program Manual; portions of the "Introduction" are presented in a more up-to-date fashion in KDLA's publication Managing Government Records.

How to use the Model Schedule

A. Examine the record at hand. Determine:

  1. its name
  2. its function
  3. if it is the "record" copy (when a record has multiple copies, one is designated as the official institutional copy, or record copy). This step is important, since record copies and departmental copies often have different retention periods. To determine this, consult procedural manuals, talk with supervisors, or contact other offices which maintain the same record Hint: if one office gives "approval" it frequently holds the record copy.

B. Locate the record on the schedule.

  1. The Model Schedule may be searched online by entering terms in the window with the word "Find" at the top of the schedule. Be aware that the term used in your office to refer to a record may be different than that used in the Model Schedule.
  2. You may scroll through the schedule. The Model Schedule is arranged by groupings of related record types. For example: the general records likely to be maintained in offices across campus are listed in the general sections: Miscellaneous, Personnel, and Student/Course Records. Alternately, the records specific to the university's central accounting and business offices are covered by the Business Affairs/Accounting section. While the Fiscal category is employed by both the general campus and the Controller/Treasurer office.

C. Interpreting the entry:

Once you have located the proper record series on the schedule, you must read and apply its directions. The entry contains the following elements:

Elements of the State University Model Records Retention Schedule

record series number:

  • form: Uxxxx
  • examples: U0100, U1800

record series title:

  • term used to identify a particular record
  • this may differ from the term you use in your office.


  • brief comment, may include citation to KRS
  • C=confidential

function and use:

  • documents the record's purpose


  • individual records within this series
  • examples: cash transmittal, travel request


  • the length of time the record must be retained
  • may be a fixed term of years
  • I =Ind.= indefinite
  • P = permanent
  • V=vital


  • what to do with the record after its retention period is complete
  • example, "transfer to archives" or "destroy"
  • for indefinite retention periods, how to determine the end of the retention period
  • may indicate that the record must be retained until after it has been audited
  • see note below about personnel records

See examples

Further Instructions for Interpreting an Entry

  1. Permanent: permanent records have been appraised as having sufficient historical, informational, or evidential value to the university that their preservation is warranted beyond the time they are needed for administrative, legal, or fiscal purposes.
  2. Vital: vital records are essential to the continued functioning of the university during and after an emergency and essential to the protection of the rights and interests of the university and of the individuals for whose rights and interests it has responsibility.
  3. Indefinite retention: the time from a record's creation until its retention period begins is indefinite; such as records which should be maintained for three years after the termination of a working relationship.
  4. Audit: the retention period for records subject to audit begins after the audit is complete. Records which are subject to audit may not be destroyed until the audit and retention period have been completed, unless exempted from audit by the auditing agency (state, federal, internal). In most cases, the word "audit" in the Model Schedule refers to state audit requirements. The university is audited every year by an independent auditor to satisfy state audit requirements. That audit is completed and given to the Board of Trustees during September following the end of the fiscal year. Records subject to audit by the State Auditor must be kept for three years following the completion of that audit. After that time, they may be destroyed. Note that the auditors will not visit all offices at the university, but their completed audit covers the entire university. This annual audit is only one of many types of audits which take place at UK. If you have questions regarding the audit of your records, please examine your procedures manual, confer with your supervisor, or contact the Controller's Office at 7-4758.
  5. Confidential: while all records of a public agency, using public funds and public employees, in carrying out its official business are public records, not all those are open to inspection. Whether a record is open to public inspection is a matter determined by the application of the state's Open Records laws and other relevant statutes or federal regulations.
  6. Personnel: in most sectors of the university, the departmental personnel records are duplicate, not the master file. Such departmental (duplicate) personnel records for faculty and staff may be destroyed five years after termination of employment. The originals of these documents are retained by the university's personnel office. Individual departments or units should contact the university personnel office for information about specific documents maintained within the duplicate file which should be transferred to the personnel office for inclusion in the master file prior to termination of employment.

Suggesting Changes or additions to the Schedule

The Model Schedule is not complete, nor is it static. It must be continually updated to serve the changing needs of the university and to maintain compliance with state regulations.

  1. If you cannot locate a particular record on the Model Schedule, contact us for assistance. The record you seek may be on the Model Schedule under an unexpected name. In some cases, we will need to modify the entry to reflect UK terminology. In other cases, we may need to add a new series to the Model Schedule.
  2. If you feel that a retention period listed on the Model Schedule should be revised, please contact us.

WARNING: Some Web sites to which these materials provide links for the convenience of users are not managed by the University of Kentucky. The University does not review, control, or take responsibility for the contents of those sites.

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