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Records Retention

A guide for records administrators at Texas State University.

Disposition Instructions

Disposition Instructions

CAUTION: A state record may not be destroyed if any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit, open records request, administrative review, or other action involving the record is initiated before the expiration of a retention period for the record.  Disposition may not begin until the completion of the action and the resolution of all issues that arise from it, or until the expiration of the retention period, whichever is later. 

Open a new RDL

Open a new Records Disposition Log (RDL) and complete the form in Word. 

Note: If the form doesn't launch, check your download folder.  Some browsers are no longer automatically opening documents.

Step 1: Enter the name of the Records Administrator -- an employee who is authorized to maintain and dispose university records (this cannot be a student worker).  Include the employee's title, contact information, and where on campus the office is located.


Open the RRS

Step 2:  Open the University's Records Retention Schedule (RRS).  Find the series that matches the records you wish to dispose.  Read the narrative to verify your records match the series description.  Note the retention period, and prepare to list only those records which have met the required retention period.

Columns 1, 2, and 3: Enter this information exactly as it appears on the RRS. Account for all copies of the record when preparing for disposition - paper and electronic. Only one line is required for each record series; there is no need to separate years or provide detailed inventories.

Note: If you have records with retention periods based on Fiscal Year End, keep the entire fiscal year together as one unity.   If you have records with retention periods based on semester, keep the entire semester together.

Hint: When looking at a records series on the Records Retention Schedule, scroll down until you see the blue table.  That information will help you complete the RDL correctly.



Check retention calculations

Columns 4 and 5: These dates indicate which records are to be disposed.  See that blue box section of the RRS for instructions for which dates to use in these columns. 

Use the Quick Retention Calculations (PDF) to determine which records have met the required retention period; dispose of records through that end date.  This list changes 3x a year, so be sure to check the effective dates on any printouts.

Open the document called Entering Dates on the RDL (PDF).  This document describes how to enter dates correctly.  For example:

  • If retention based on fiscal year (FE+x), keep the entire fiscal year together as one unit and report your start and end dates as FYyyyy.  If you have only one FY to dispose, use the same fiscal year date in the columns 4 and 5.
  • If retention is defined by semester or makes sense for the records to be retained by semester (AC=semester), keep the entire semester together as one unit and report your start and end dates as [Semester]yyyy.  If you have only one semester to dispose, use the same semester and year columns 4 and 5.
  • If retention is stated as simply years (2 or 5, etc.), then report your start and end dates as [Month]yyyy


Note: If the documents aren't launching, check your download folder.  Some browsers are no longer automatically opening documents.

Common retention periods in effect through August 31, 2023

  • FE+3   Dispose of records through FY2019.
  • AC+2   Where AC=end of semester, dispose of records through Fall 2020 (Fall 2022 was the last full semester completed.)  This date will change on the first day of Summer 2023 classes.
  • AC+5   Where AC=date of separation, dispose of records for individuals separated through the end of the previous month in 2018. (For example, if you are filling out an RDL in April 2023, you can dispose of records through March 2018.)
  • AC+7  Where AC=last semester attended, dispose of records through Fall 2015. (Fall 2022 was the last full semester completed.) Use this guideline for student-related records with a 7-year retention.



Column 6: Measure how many records are being disposed.  For paper records, measure the stack and report in inches.  For digital records, report however the system allows (number of files, amount of space freed, etc.). 

Indicate disposition method

Column 7: Indicate how the records will be disposed. Note that any sensitive or confidential information must be shredded; only public information can be discarded in the trash or recycled.  When in doubt, shred.

*Retention periods in the RRS that are marked with an asterisk means those records may belong in the University Archives. The Archivist will review your log and let you know if further action is needed to preserve those records.

e-Mail the RDL

Step 3: STOP.  Once the first two sections are complete, save the completed form and forward the Word document as an attachment via e-mail to for review and approval of the log.

Do not print, sign, or scan the document.  Please send your log as a Word document attached to an e-mail.

Wait for approval.  Ideally, this will only take a few hours. However, since this is now a department of one, it may take a few days.  Once approved, the records manager will sign your form and return it to you via e-mail.

Dispose records.
Print approved RDL, add date(s) and sign

Step 4: When you receive the approved form, you may proceed with disposition of the records as listed. 

Once records disposition is finished, document the date(s) the records were disposed in column 8.  Sign the form to verify that disposition is complete.


Send hard copy via campus mail

Step 5: Send a hard copy of the signed and dated form to the records manager via campus mail.  Simply fold the signed form in half, use one staple or a piece of tape to keep it folded, and write "Records Retention, Alkek Library" on one blank side.  Campus mail will deliver it!

The records manager is required to retain the final signed Records Disposition Logs for ten years - and yes, hard copies are still preferred for the final document that verifies disposition is complete. 



Once the original RDL is signed and mailed via campus mail,
the process is complete!