CSUF Complete Records Management Retention Standard

  • Record Types

  • Record Series

    A group of related records filed/used together and evaluated as a unit for retention purposes. (e.g., University Police, Human Resources/Payroll, Financial Aid, Facilities Management)
  • Records Coordinator

    The individual with responsibility for the maintenance and disposition of official/original copies of records created and maintained by their division or department
  • CSU Fullerton Records Retention Schedule

    A document developed on campus that identifies records unique to the Fullerton campus.
  • Public Record

    Records belonging to The California State University are available for public inspection under the California Public Records Act (Gov. Code section 6250 et seq.). For more detailed information regarding the Public Records Act, see CSU's Records Access Manual.
  • CSU Records Retention Schedule

    A CSU document that lists and governs the retention period of identified records that are common across the CSU. The CSU Records Retention and Disposition Schedules are published online and are accessible to any university employee with record-keeping responsibilities. Current schedules can be found on the CSU Records/Information Retention and Disposition website.
  • Retention Period

    Retention period is the period of time that a record should be kept.
  • Record Retention

    Record retention is the maintenance of records for a prescribed period of time.
    All records pertaining to ongoing or pending audits, lawsuits (or even reasonably anticipated lawsuits), or public disclosure proceedings must not be destroyed, damaged or altered until the issue is resolved and you are specifically advised that such records may be destroyed.
  • Destruction Hold

    The University is frequently the defendant or plaintiff in lawsuits and in the course of preparing for trial; records created by University offices are requested. The University also frequently receives public record requests and undergoes audits.
  • Policy Implementation

    The purpose of the CSUF Records/Information Retention and Disposition policy is to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness while at the same time ensure that legal and regulatory requirements associated with the retention and disposition of CSUF records/information are met. Records/information custodians are responsible for controlling the administration of records/information in all media forms and for valuing such records/information in accordance with retention authority requirements. The retention and disposition of records/information are to conform to standards set forth within retention and disposition schedules issued in conjunction with Executive Order 1031. The CSU series or schedules are not to be abridged or altered except to add specific guidance regarding the retention and disposition of unique, campus-specific records/information. Current schedules can be found at the Records/Information Retention and Disposition website www.calstate.edu/recordsretention .

  • Purpose

    Executive Order 1031 directs campuses to create and implement a policy for Records/Information Retention and Disposition. The objective of the executive order is to ensure campus compliance with legal and regulatory requirements while implementing appropriate operational practices and processes for Records/Information Retention. It is issued under the authority of Chapter III of the Standing Orders of the Board of Trustees, related policies adopted by the Board of Trustees, and Education Code section 89043.      A viable records management process improves office efficiency, facilitates administrative access to inactive as well as active records, ensures the consistent maintenance of records, decreases operational costs, increases staff productivity and assists the University in meeting legal and regulatory standards. Obsolete records impede access to current records; pose a possible legal liability, and waste valuable space.

    The campus community relies heavily on the records generated as a result of the business and operation of the University. These records document ideas and activities, help the University better serve its mission, assist management in its decision making and act as an archive of the University’s and the surrounding community’s history. Records, like any vital resource, also have an intangible monetary value. Because of the tangible and intangible value of the University records, it is critical that they be part of a records management process that ensures all University records are properly and securely managed, replaceable (in the case of vital records), disposed of, preserved and/or archived.

  • Campus Managers

    Are appropriate administrators, supervisors or managers included in the Management Personnel Plan. Campus managers are responsible for identifying a record coordinator for their respective division or department.
  • Records Custodians/Coordinators

    Records Coordinators are responsible for: 
    • Developing procedures and processes for managing records created in their respective division or department.
    • Ensuring that records are secure in accordance with applicable campus and CSU policy; 
    • Identifying records unique to their area which are not included in the CSU Records Retention and Disposition Schedules;
    • Ensuring appropriate and timely disposal of records in accordance with CSU or campus retention and disposition schedule timeframes.
  • Campus Users

    Campus users working creating or working with records are responsible for collecting, using, maintaining, and releasing these records in accordance with CSU and campus policies, standards and procedures.

  • University Information Security Officer

    The Information Security Office is responsible for the security of records collected, used, maintained, or released by the University.

    California State University, Fullerton records shall be retained for the time periods indicated in the CSU or CSUF records retention and disposition schedules; destroyed when the time period for retention has been met; and disposed of in accordance with University standards.

    The campus may modify the CSU Records Retention and Disposition Schedules, as needed, to incorporate records unique to the campus. Modification is limited to the addition of unique, campus-specific records. The CSU Schedules may not be otherwise abridged or altered. Information regarding campus-specific records shall be provided to the campus Information Security Office. Information shall include the record title and the records series to which the record shall be added (e.g., University Police, Personnel/Payroll). Information shall also include the identification of the custodian of records, record value, retention source authority, and the retention period.

  • Determining the Disposal Date

    Retention periods are counted from the date of creation of the record, unless other instructions (e.g., “3 years from termination,”) are noted in the CSU or CSUF Records Retention Schedule. Disposition would normally occur following the end of the month or year that marks the end of the retention period; thus, disposition of a record for which the retention period ends on July 10 would take place as soon after July 31 as practicable.
  • Timely Disposal

    Failure to dispose of records in a timely manner can lead to the unnecessary expenditure of resources to store, maintain, search for, and produce records. Additionally, when records may legitimately be disposed of at the end of their retention period, but are not disposed, such records remain subject to possible future requests under statute or legal proceedings.
  • Cautions Regarding Disposal

    There may be conditions under which records destruction must be deferred even if they have reached or exceeded the end of their retention period. Some of these conditions include:
    • External requirements under state and federal laws or regulation and University grants or contracts override university retention periods, where applicable.
    • Records that have been requested pursuant to statute or legal proceeding (e.g., California Public Records Act, Information Practices act, or discovery of evidence in a legal proceeding) must not be disposed of while the matter is ongoing.
    • Records that have not yet been requested, but are deemed likely to be requested pursuant to statute or legal proceedings, including potential litigation, must not be disposed of until notification by the campus Risk Manager.
    • Records related to any ongoing investigation must not be disposed of without prior consultation with campus counsel.
  • Record Disposal Measures

    University records shall be disposed of based on their information classification level as described in theCSUF Information Classification and Protection Standard
    • Level 3 Information Information/records classified at Level 3 can be disposed of via normal waste disposal practices including recycling.
    • Level 1 and Level 2 Information Level 1 and Level 2 information shall be destroyed in accordance with the CSUF Disposal or Transfer of Information Technology Assets.


  • Every means of recording upon any tangible thing in any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, any combination of these or other means to engage in business, regardless of media. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Electronic communication such as e-mail content and attachments, voicemail, instant messages, and data on a contactless integrated circuit;
    • Content on web sites, PDAs, mobile devices, desktops, and servers;
    • Information/data captured in various databases;
    • Physical paper in files, such as memos, contracts, reports, photographs and architectural drawings;
    • Licenses, certificates, registration, identification cards, or other means;
    • Handwriting, typewriting, printing, Photostatting, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile;
    • Any record thereby created, regardless of the manner or media in which the record has been stored and/or created; and
    • Backups of electronic information and Copy or print of any of the data above. .
  • Active records

    Active records are documents which are still actively being used by an office. They are usually referenced on a daily or monthly basis. Oftentimes, if in paper, these records will be located in a specific place within the office since they are used frequently.
  • In-Active records

    Inactive records are documents which are no longer referenced on a regular basis and tend to be stored in a less accessible place since they are not used frequently. Many times records become inactive when they reach their cut-off as defined on a Records Retention Schedule.

Record Types are listed below:



Vital records are critical to maintain to ensure operational continuity for the campus after a disruption or disaster. Vital records or information may fall into any one of the above value categories



Operational records are required by a campus/department to perform its primary function.



Required to be kept by law or may be needed for litigation or a government investigation.



Historical records are of long-term value to document past events.



Related to the financial transactions of the campus, especially those required for audit or tax purposes.

Archival Record


Archival records are those records that have permanent legal, fiscal, administrative, or historical value.  At the end of their retention period, whether paper or electronic, they should be transferred to the University Archives.