Policy Steward: 
Director of Financial Accounting and Reporting
Format Updated: 
University Policy & Standards Converted: 
Revision Date: 
Thursday, March 10, 2016

* This information replaces FIS 1200 Records Retention Requirements


Records Retention Requirements

Retention periods represent the minimum and maximum periods as established in state administrative rules. Minimum and maximum periods mean that the records must be kept as long as the retention period listed, but no longer. Under no circumstances should a record be kept for less than the retention period. Records should be disposed of promptly once the retention period length has been satisfied. Exceptions are: records involved in litigation, criminal or civil investigation, audit, or continuing administrative use.

Original documentation which has been scanned into an imaging system of record must be retained by the originating unit or their associated Business Center for one year from the date it is scanned unless the scanned image has been verified according to the criteria defined in section 1202 Digital Imaging.

Original documentation should be retrievable within 24 hours upon request from Business Affairs or their Agents using the following information as a reference.

  • Original documentation related to a given transaction should be retrievable by Banner document number
  • Original documentation related to a person or entity should be retrievable by OSU ID number.
  • Original documentation related to a Grant, Contract, and Gift should be retrievable by Grant Number.

Accounts Payable

The Oregon State University's Records Retention Policy requires disbursement documents to be retained for six (6) years. Units are responsible for retaining these documents:

  • Purchasing worksheets
  • Quotes
  • Receiving/Packing lists (unless attached to invoice sent to A/P)
  • Correspondence on contested claims
  • Any other pertinent information affecting vendor payment

It is recommended that documents be segregated by fiscal year. Retention period for grants may be different depending on the requirements for each grant. Call the Office of Sponsored Research and Award Administration (OSRAA) for assistance in determining the retention period for grant documents, or see the Grant, Contract and Gift Accounting Manual.


Timesheets for students compensated by grant funds (payroll documentation) must be kept in the employing units for five (5) years after issuance of final financial report to the awarding agency. Timesheets are to be signed by both the employee and the supervisor. For further information, see Payroll Manual and Grant, Contract and Gift Accounting Manual.

Capital Construction Projects

All documents pertaining to capital construction must be maintained permanently.

For further information, see section 2.8 Capital Construction Project Records in the General Records Retention Schedule.


Digital Imaging

Definition of terms:

System of Record: An enterprise information storage system that is the authoritative data source for University records.  Systems of record are designated by Enterprise Computing Services and endorsed by the Financial Information System data custodian as a secure system that ensures the integrity and validity of all data stored within.

Document of Record: The official copy of a document when multiple copies exist or the single official document maintained by any office, department, unit, or sub-section of OSU. A document of record is usually the original but may also be a digitized image or an electronically sourced file, if the document is of acceptable image quality and retained in a System of Record.

Documents of record with a scheduled retention period of less than 100 years may be stored digitally in a System of Record.  The original document may be disposed of following verification of acceptable image quality as defined below.

Verification of acceptable image quality must contain the following elements:

  • present and accessible in a system of record
  • indexed, associated, or titled appropriately
  • oriented straight and right-side up
  • all text is legible, viewable, and right-side up
  • all pertinent graphics and photos contained in an image must be viewable and in focus
  • no physical matter (dust, hair, specks of paper, etc.) appears in the image
  • no digital artifacts (image corruption by hardware/software malfunction) appear in the image
  • Pages appear in the correct order for multi-page items.

Data describing the image quality verification shall be maintained for each digital image for audit trail purposes.  This metadata must be retained on the same retention schedule as the document it pertains to.  Verification metadata must include the following:

  • Date of inspection
  • Identity of verifier

Example: Travel expense reimbursements typically require supporting documentation, such as receipts, which must be retained for six(6) years. If these receipts are scanned, the approval process of the reimbursement may include a visual inspection of the scanned images in a system of record. The date of inspection and identity of verifier are retained by electronically recording the name of the approver and the date and time of the approval along with the details of the reimbursement. The approval process would thereby meet the criteria for image verification, allowing the scanned images to be treated as documents of record. The original receipts may be discarded once the reimbursement is approved.



The Office of Audit Services (OAS) conducts reviews of procedures and processes in compliance with State of Oregon and OSU policies.

University documents must be retained according to the document types and retention requirements to assist with potential audit services as explained on the website "Office Charter & Services".


Guidelines for Release of Student Records

"Guidelines for Release of Information" are maintained by the Oregon State University Registrar's Office.