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Records Retention

Most records aren’t kept forever.  Typically, less than 5 percent of a unit’s records have enduring historical value. When a record is created, it goes through a life cycle of use, retention, appraisal, and disposition. The Illinois State Records Act requires that State approval is received prior to disposing of University Records. Conversely, the University also receives and generates many Non-Record materials which do not require State approval prior to disposal. 

In the context of records management, retention is the length of time required for keeping documents, records, and information resources to assure that they support business functions for as long as needed. Some records are required to be retained past their active support of business functions to support good financial record-keeping practices or to meet legal or regulatory retention requirements. On top of these considerations for retention, some records have long-term or enduring value and are expected to be retained indefinitely. At the University, there are records retention schedules that address these requirements.

New to records management? Take our Records Management 101 Self-paced Video Modules. You can also check out our KnowledgeBase articles for further reading on "What is a Record?" and other FAQs.

If you have a category of records that does not appear below, please contact RIMS.

Records Retention Schedules

View the various functional RECORDS RETENTION SCHEDULES to learn how long you need to keep your records.


These online records retention schedules contain information including:

  • record series (category) descriptions
  • document types
  • retention periods
  • explanations of disposal options
  • location of the authoritative copy 
  • helpful resources
  • and more

Retention Schedule Development

Additional records retention schedules will be uploaded to the website as they are created by the RIMS team (in collaboration with University staff across all three campuses) and approved by the State Records Commission. For additional information explaining our General Records Retention Schedule Creation Process, please view the following documents: the Process Description, the Detailed Workflow, and the Simplified Workflow.

The RIMS team aims to create a cohesive and consistent process for managing and disposing of common University Records, and these schedules are tools to disseminate that information in an easy-to-use and easy-to-understand format. Please contact us with any feedback you may have for us.


The purpose of the Retention Schedules is to provide consistency and clarity regarding the retention and management of records and the University of Illinois. It is intended as an enterprise-wide resource for staff at all levels of the University across all three campuses and any associated affiliate sites that are managing records. Adhering to the guidelines in the Retention Schedules will provide the following benefits:

  • Help answer questions related to records
  • Simplify disposal projects
  • Free up space in offices and on servers across the University
  • Improve the security of the information people have entrusted to the University
  • Reduce the unnecessary burdens and risks created by retaining records for too long
  • Avoid potential penalities for retaining records for too short a time period
  • Identify and preserve records that are important to the University's history