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Records Management at UNC-Chapel Hill: The Records Retention Schedule

This guide contains information and tips for UNC-Chapel Hill employees about records management requirements and procedures.

The General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule

As of Spring 2021, UNC at Chapel Hill and the UNC System Office will use the General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule for the University of North Carolina system. This retention schedule is administered by the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and Records. 

The General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule provides instructions on how long records need to be retained for legal, fiscal, and historical purposes. The current Retention Schedule supersedes all previous records retention and disposition schedules that may have been created for individual units; and serves all administrative, academic, and health affairs units of the University. 

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

Tips for Using the Schedule

Use the table of contents to find a series on a broad area like facilities or information technology. The table of contents titles are links and will take you to that section of the PDF.

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 that specific record type. 

How the Schedule is Organized

The Schedule is organized by business functions carried out by the University into eighteen broad groups. The groups refer to the purpose of the records, not the name of the unit they are created or used by. Within the eighteen broad groups, the schedule is broken down into more specific record types.

Key Concepts

  • Record copy – original or official copy of a record that is retained for legal, operational or historical purpose. Additional copies are considered reference copies.
  • Reference value – disposition instruction to destroy when reference value ends. Typically used regarding reference copies or transitory record types.
  • Record Custody – the office of record that creates or receives a record is responsible for retention requirements
  • Record Series – group of records that are created, received, or used in the same activity
  • Disposition Instructions – how long you must keep a record and what to do after that period ends
  • Transitory Records – records that have little or no documentary or evidential value and need not be set aside for future use.

See pages  iv-viii and A-2 to A-4 in the Retention Schedule document for more information.