What is a retention schedule?

A retention schedule is a list of the types of records (record series) created and received by an institution. The Georgia Archives of the University System of Georgia (USG) writes the retention schedules used by the University of West Georgia. The Schedules, as a functional extension of the Records and Information Management Policy, are adopted as the minimum length of time records are kept.

Why do we need retention schedules?

As a state agency, everything the University community creates - both in hardcopy and electronically – is considered a record. As per the Georgia Records Act O.C.G.A. § 50-18-102(b), no record may be legally destroyed unless through the operation of an approved retention schedule. The Office of the Governor approves all State of Georgia retention schedules.

How are the schedules organized?

The approved USG Records Retention Schedules is the primary source of retention requirements for the records created and received by the University of West Georgia.

  • The schedules contains a list of records series that are common to most University offices.
  • The schedule is organized by categories, based upon the function of the record.
  • Each record series has a description and retention information.
  • Records are expected to be destroyed/deleted at the end of their legally-approved retention periods.

These retention schedules are continuously updated as we learn about new records created and received by the University as well as changes to existing business processes that affect current records. If you have any questions, suggestions, revisions, or additions regarding the schedules, email rim@westga.edu.

Link to the USG Records Retention Schedules

The following materials are considered to have no administrative, legal, fiscal or archival requirements for their retention and are classified as an non-record. There is no specific retention period for non-records so they may be disposed of as soon as they have served their reference purpose. Once its usefulness has been served, delete, shred, or recycle as appropriate. 

  • Document Errors

    Incorrect versions of documents, forms or reports that had to be regenerated in order to correct errors in typing, data entry, spelling, grammar, or format.

  • Drafts

    Drafts may be disposed of as soon as the document is finalized and are no longer needed for reference purposes.

  • Duplicates

    Extra copies of correspondence, completed forms, bulletins, statistics, reports, hardcopy printouts from a database (including e-procurement purchase orders and reports), electronic files extracted from a master file or database, mailing lists, etc., used only for reference or informational distribution.

The following electronic records do not have to be saved or printed because they are extracted from a master file or database. Reports printed from a database are considered duplicates and can be destroyed as soon as they have served their reference purpose. They will be visible and accessible for their full retention period in the system of record and can be reprinted as needed. You should never print e-mails - the official copy is the original digital version.

Retention: May be disposed of as soon as the reference purpose has been served. Please shred, recycle or delete as appropriate.

Extracted Data
Documents derived from a master file or database in the form of statistics, reports, hardcopy printouts, mailing lists, auto-generated notifications and reminders, etc. Includes emails. These records will be visible and accessible for their full retention period in the system of record and can be reprinted as needed.

Informal Notifications/Communications
Communications and postings that do not relate to the functional responsibility of the department (i.e., announcements of meetings, reservations, confirmations, itineraries, acknowledgements, form-letter thank you notes, etc.)

Organizing/Monitoring Work in Progress
Records relating to the assigning, prioritizing, tracking/monitoring and status of work/projects in progress. This activity can occur in workflow notifications, status logs, Excel, electronic tracking applications such as Trello, etc. 

Lists and Logs
Lists/logs containing information tracked by a department from which elements are superseded as new data/information is received, where not covered by a more specific records series.

Published Reference Materials
Printed materials received from other UWG offices, vendors or other non-UWG institutions, which require no action and are not needed for documentary purposes. May include technical reports/studies, magazines, catalogs, periodicals, flyers, announcements, newsletters and other widely distributed printed materials received by a UWG office.

Requests for Information
Internal and external requests for routine information. Includes responses to requests for routine, standardized information applicable to any requestor in a comparable situation.

Stocks of Publications
Supplies (multiple copies) of departmentally-produced printed documents which are superseded, obsolete or otherwise valueless. May include program brochures, booklets, flyers, forms, catalogs, directories, manuals, posters and other informational materials produced by a department for wide distribution. Note: One copy of all UWG publications must be retained.

Transmittal Memos
Emails or fax cover sheets that accompany an attachment, document, report, form, etc., that do not add any substantive information to the transmitted material.