How to prepare for Records Retention in the new academic year

Similar to the FE requirements found on the Records Retention Schedule, CE (calendar year end) requires immediate action and attention. Records Management may be used as a tool for you to help your efficiency and organization when the new academic year, and students, start coming into your offices.

I think everyone would agree that student information is sensitive and should require the same careful eye as someone would place on their financial records. As far as Records Management is concerned, the student records will have a continual disposition period that correlates with their graduation date. Though this post title references academic years, I’d like to offer some tips on how to approach calendar year ends and new academic years.

Calendar Year Ends (CE)

The end of the calendar year is December 31. A CE retention period means that January 1 of every year, you will have certain records that require disposition. Knowing that January 1 is a holiday, January 2 will be your next date of disposal. No one wants to spend their first day back after holiday vacation shredding stacks of paper. However, keep in mind that regardless of when the date falls in the year, you will need to dispose of these records in a timely manner. Here are my suggestions:

  1. Create your pile of records that need to be disposed of on January 1 of the next year, before you leave for your holiday vacation. That way when you get back into work, you can begin tackling your paper files.
  2. In regards to electronic files. My recommendation is the move everything that will be needing immediate disposal onto your desktop or a separate folder titled something to the effect of Delete on January 1.
  3. If you create to do lists for yourself, write Records Retention down, before your holiday break so you know what needs to be done when you get back.

Academic Year Starting (and stopping) 

The schedule doesn’t reference the first or last day of school as being a date where records have a disposal requirement, however graduation dates do. Therefore, when considering academic years here are my suggestions:

  1. Think about your seniors and their graduation dates. Student records will be dependent on graduation dates.
  2. When organizing specific student records that have a AC (plus however many years) retention period, where AC means Graduation date, try to keep all student records in one folder titled something along the lines of Delete May 2020 (using AC+3 as an example).
  3. Be mindful of the records life cycle. Watch these records when their created (new students) and when they die (student graduates + X amount of years).

With any and all records be mindful of the programs that you’re using. BlackBoard and Banner are great but if they are keeping records permanently, they will not help you with Records Retention. In any of those cases, we recommend that the various departments talk to us about where these records are stored and help us create clever solutions to ensure Records Management throughout the department and to work towards avoiding any obstacles placed on normal work flow.

If you’d like some advice on managing the beginning/end of a fiscal year, check out this post.

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