SFU Records Retention Schedule and Disposal Authority (RRSDA)
Student Advising Records

Description | PIB | Authorities | Retentional rational | Rentention and filing guidelines | Status

RRSDA number


Record series

Student Advising Records

Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR)

Student Services

Retention periods

Records Active retention (in office) Semi-active (records centre) Total retention Final disposition
Academic advising correspondence CY advice given + 3 years Nil CY advice given + 3 years Destruction
Academic advising student case files S/O (see retention instructions) Nil S/O (see retention instructions) Destruction
International student advising correspondence CY advice given + 3 years 3 years CY advice given + 6 years Destruction

CY = Current calendar year; CFY = Current fiscal year; CS = Current semester; S/O = Superseded or obsolete; OPR = Office of Primary Responsibility; Non-OPR = All other departments.

Description, purpose and use of records

Records relating to advice given by Student Services to students regarding a variety of topics including but not limited to: student academic matters (e.g., decisions about courses, decisions about programs, etc.) and international student advising (e.g., immigration, moving to Canada, obtaining health insurance while living in Canada, etc.).

Records include forms completed by staff advisors after routine advising sessions, correspondence, memoranda and supporting documentation. For academic advising a case file for an individual student is opened only in special circumstances, where the student requires on-going advising. Routine advising sessions are documented only by the Advisors' standard forms, which are filed together by semester, arranged alphabetically. For international student advising records consist primarily of email correspondence and associated attachements.

See also:

Personal Information Bank (PIB)

This series is a Personal Information Bank; click here for PIB description.


These records are created, used, retained and managed in accordance with the following authorities:

Retention rationale

Academic Advising:

The records are used by Student Services staff to document what advice was given. In exceptional circumstances the records are brought together in a single case file to ensure consistency of advice and facilitate progress-tracking of the student. A 3-year total retention period for routine forms allows sufficient time for Student Services to identify exceptional cases and pull the required records. A case file is superseded or obsolete (S/O) when the student has left the university for a certain period of time. Student Services has developed a complex set of criteria to identify S/O files (see below).

International Student Advising:

With regards to International student advising (i.e., advising on non-academic matters for international students, such as visas, immigration, health care etc.), the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Counsel advises that immigration consultants keep advising records for 6 years from the date advise is given.

Retention and filing guidelines

Academic Advising:

For routine academic advising sessions, the advisors' completed forms are filed together by semester, and organized alphabetically. Where a student requires on-going advising, all previous documentation is gathered together in an individual case file. Financial assistance advising records (forms and case files) are kept separate from academic advising records (forms and case files).

As of December 2000, the ARO was developing the SIMON student information system to flag ARO student case files; a report program will be run regularly to identify inactive files (S/O) to be pulled and destroyed.

The criteria for identifying inactive records are:

(i) the student has not attended SFU for the last 6 semesters;

and one of (ii) to (iv):

(ii) the student was admitted 3 semesters ago but has not registered since; or (iii) the student registered 15 semesters ago, but has not been admitted during the past three semesters; or (iv) the student graduated 6 semesters ago and has not registered since or applied for admission in past 3 semesters.

Do not send these records to the University Records Centre, but destroy directly when files become inactive. The files contain sensitive personal information and must be destroyed by confidential shredding; contact Facilities Management to make arrangements.


International student services maintains an email account where all international student advising questions are maintained. The email inbox and sent box are organized by year with sub-folders by topic (to facilitate future reference).

Records creators should note that this RRSDA applies equally to paper and electronic records and that they are responsible for deleting any records maintained in electronic form at the expiration of the total retention period (e.g. PDF versions, spreadsheets, database records, e-mail correspondence, etc.). Maintaining electronic copies of records with personal information after the recommended retention period places an undue burden on the University to continue to protect against unauthorized access, use and disclosure of that personal information in accordance with the FOI/ POP Act and the records series status as a PIB.


RRSDA is in force.

Approved by the University Archivist: 27 Aug 2021

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