Student Records

Student Records

The University of Wisconsin System comprises fifteen distinct institutions, many of which create and receive records that are similar in purpose and utility. In the interest of efficiency, therefore, this records schedule identifies categories of student-related records. The identified record series are common to all University of Wisconsin institutions.

This document also provides guidance to University System employees regarding what does and does not comprise a public record, which will in turn allow University employees to retain for a discrete time period and thereafter destroy expired public records, as well as those materials that do not comprise public records. The UW-System must manage all student records to ensure systematic control from creation or receipt through processing, distribution, maintenance, retrieval, retention and final disposal.

II. SCOPE: The records schedules described within this document include the following records:

Admission Records

  • Acceptance letters
  • Applications for Admission
  • Applications for Admission, falsified
  • Applications for Admission, unsolicited
  • Correspondence, enrollment staff, with or concerning students
  • Credit by examination or experiential learning credit records
  • Entrance examination results
  • Graduate School Degree Applications
  • Graduate School Admission Applications
  • Graduate School Qualifying Exams
  • Letters of Recommendation for enrollees
  • Program Admission Applications
  • Residency records
  • Transcripts from other institutions
  • Veterans' records

Student Academic Records

  • Academic dismissal /suspension /expulsion records
  • Academic misconduct records
  • Academic warnings Add/Drop records
  • Applications for graduation
  • Athlete Academic Records
  • Athletic Eligibility Reports
  • Audit Authorizations
  • Change of grade documentation
  • Changed Grade Record
  • Correspondence regarding course content or progress
  • Correspondence related to academic inquiry
  • Course repeat approval form
  • Course waiting lists
  • Credit/no credit approval forms
  • Criminal Background Check Records
  • Curriculum change authorizations
  • Degree Audits
  • Diplomas
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Grade Books, original (academic departments)
  • Grades, Official
  • Graduate School Records for accepted students, ISIS files
  • Grievances, exam/course related
  • Hold or encumbrance authorizations
  • Honors Program Applicant files
  • Instructional materials including materials in course management systems
  • Internship agreements
  • Internship contracts
  • Major declarations, changes, certification of second major, minors
  • Name change authorizations
  • Petitions, Exceptions to academic rules
  • Registration forms
  • Schedules, individual student
  • Student Teacher Field Experience File
  • Study Abroad Program Files
  • Syllabi and/or course calendars
  • Thesis/Dissertations
  • Transcripts, official
  • Transcripts, student requests
  • Transfer credit evaluations
  • Withdrawal authorizations

International Student Records

  • Arrival-Departure Records for International Students
  • Certificate of Eligibility for F-Visa Status
  • Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor J- Status Form DS
  • Passport Page Showing Passport Number
  • Statement of educational costs
  • Statement of financial responsibility and supporting documents
  • United States Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) copy
  • Publications, Statistics and Policy
  • Catalog
  • Class schedules/timetables (institutional)
  • Correspondence, policy-setting
  • Course File, master
  • Enrollment and class lists
  • Enrollment verifications and certifications
  • Grade reports/statistics
  • Honors Lists
  • Transfer equivalencies

FERPA-related Records

  • Requests for and Disclosure of Personally identifiable Information
  • Requests for Corrections to records and Formal hearings
  • Requests for Nondisclosure of Directory Information
  • Statement on contents of Records regarding hearing panel decisions
  • Waiver of Right of Access to Confidential Recommendations
  • Written consent for records disclosure
  • Written decisions of hearing panels

Federal Disclosure Records

  • Athletic participation/EADA Document
  • College costs, Accreditation, Textbook information, Transfer Credit Policy
  • Crime Statistics/Security Reports
  • Graduation/Completion Transfer Out data
  • Institutional Information


a. Preservation of Historical Documents. Historically, University records have been preserved in paper files. Presently, however, advances in technology are beginning to present a viable alternative to paper records: electronic data stored in computer systems. Using electronic data to store University records presents a potentially fatal flaw, however, because electronic data decays overtime. Thus, unlike paper records, with the passage of time electronic records lose information as it randomly slips away in bite-sized chunks, unless software updates are consistently purchased,installed, and maintained.

Because of this aspect of information technology systems, records storage within an information system must comply with the legal requirements set forth in Regent Policy Document 3-2:University of Wisconsin System Public Records Management; and Chapter Administrative 12:Electronic Records Management-Standards and Requirements. Please carefully review these documents prior to storing official copies of public records upon information systems and if you have questions or concerns then please seek assistance from the records officer at their respective University of Wisconsin institution.

b. Use of the Systems Approach. To as great extent as possible,the records schedules included within this document were developed using a systems approach. That is, the substantive information contained within an individual document, rather than the document's format, is the basis for the descriptor of each department. This is because the format for some documents is dynamic in nature and subject to administrative change. Thus, the descriptors for each document are as comprehensive as possible without relying upon format or form names.Due to these changes, however, there may be instances in which an individual records schedule does not reflect the exact title or name of a form as used by the originator of a document. In such cases, if a University employee has difficulty determining whether a document comprises a record by reviewing the descriptive information contained within both the document and a records schedule then employees seek assistance from the records officer at their respective University of Wisconsin institution.

c. Minimum Retention Established and Permanent Retention Procedure. The records schedules included within this document establish minimum retention periods for each type of record. The disposition of each record is assumed to be destruction after its minimum retention period.However, expired records may be retained, for as long as they are needed as a resource for performing future projects on behalf of the University of Wisconsin.

d. Materials That Do Not Comprise Public Records. Under Wisconsin law, many materials do not comprise public records. Therefore, non-records should be retained only so long as they are useful as a resource for performing the transaction of public business on behalf of the University of Wisconsin System. Thereafter, in the interest of efficiency and proper resource management, they should be destroyed.

The following materials are not public records, under Wis.Stats. && 16.61 and 19.35.

1. Duplicates. Public records do not include duplicate copies of records, the original copies of which are in the custody of an office contained within the University of Wisconsin System Administration,and which are maintained by a University employee only for convenience or reference and for no substantive purpose.

2. Unsolicited Notices or Invitations. Public records do not include unsolicited notices or invitations received by a University employee,which are not related to any official action taken,proposed, or considered by the University of Wisconsin System.

3. Drafts, Notes and Preliminary Computations. Public records do not include drafts, notes,preliminary computations, and like materials, but only if they are intended for personal use by a University employee or prepared by a University employee in the name of the person for whom the employee is working.

4. Routing Slips and Envelopes. Public records do not include Routing slips and envelopes.

5. Personal Materials. Public records do not include materials that are the personal property of a University employee and that have no relation to his or her office.5Please note that non-records should be destroyed as soon as possible, concurrent with the time at which they are no longer useful as a resource for performing the transaction of public business on behalf of the University. Moreover, personal materials should neither be created nor retained by a University during the regular course of business.Also note that if non-records are retained beyond the time they are no longer useful as a resource for performing the public business on behalf of the University then under Wisconsin law,duplicates, unsolicited notices, invitations, routing slips and envelopes would have to be turned over to a requester in response to a relevant public records request, and in response to audit or litigation proceedings. See Wisconsin Statute 13.94,19.35, and 804.01.

e. Schedule Does Not require creation of Records It is understood that not all UW-System Campuses may have all the types of records listed in this schedule. This schedule does not require records to be created by UW-System Campuses. It provides policy guidance for those records that are used by UW-System Campuses.

All recommended dispositions stated within this schedule may be carried out by University of Wisconsin institutions without further consultation or approval from the University of Wisconsin Archives, legal services, or internal audit with the following exceptions:

a. Public Records Request. If a public records request is received by an office for any record or records included within this schedule then the record (s) cannot be destroyed until the request is granted, or until at least sixty days after the date the request is denied. Court orders may extend this time period. If necessary and upon request, the Office of General Counsel will provide guidance to University of Wisconsin institutions regarding public record requests.

b. Litigation or Audit. Each University of Wisconsin institution must not only retain records that are the subject of pending litigation or audit, but also suspend any disposition of those records until such time as the litigation or audit is completed. Requests for records relating to open audits must be filed with the University of Wisconsin institution involved in the audit.

The University of Wisconsin System Student Records General Records Schedule applies to all University of Wisconsin institutions. In order to facilitate efficient records management for University employees,this general schedule is provided in narrative format.Those records series that contain Personally Identified Information (Pll) are marked as: PII? Yes.

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) applies to many records series throughout this document. These are identified as confidential and require appropriate handling as required by law.