SFU Records Retention Schedule and Disposal Authority (RRSDA)
Student Files - Graduates

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

RRSDA number


Record series

Student Files - Graduates

Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR)

All University Departments (General Records Series)

Retention periods

Records Active retention (in office) Semi-active (records centre) Total retention Final disposition
Paper Case Files CY student graduates or withdraws + 1 year 2 years CY student graduates or withdraws + 3 years Destruction
Departmental Database Records CY student graduates or withdraws + 1 year 2 years CY student graduates or withdraws + 3 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CY = Current calendar year; CFY = Current fiscal year; CS = Current semester; S/O = Superseded or obsolete; OPR = Office of Primary Responsibility; Non-OPR = All other departments.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

This RRSDA covers records made and received by academic departments, documenting graduate students' academic histories from admission to graduation. It also includes records documenting graduate students enrolled in the Co-operative Education Program.

Paper records are maintained by departments as case files for each student.

Electronic records may be maintained in departmental databases designed to track frequently accessed student information. Departmental databases vary in scope and in the level of detail documented but usually include contact information, student numbers, and application biographic/demographic data.

Records may include but are not limited to correspondence, application forms, transcripts, reference letters, CV's, TOEFL, GRE, IELTS scores, scholarship application forms, course add/drop forms, progress reports, supervisory and examining committee forms and reports, course and research plans, Western Deans' Agreement forms, Co-operative Education records, visa letters, grade appeals, change of grade forms, on-leave application forms, withdrawal forms, comprehensive scheduling forms and exams, defense advertisements, external examiner reports, copies of theses frontmatter and abstracts, and recommendation for award of degree forms.

The official graduate student academic record is stored in the Student Information Management System (SIMS). The Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies is the Office of Primary Responsibility for the graduate data stored in SIMS. SIMS is not covered by this RRSDA.

This record series is a Personal Information Bank (PIB). Click here for the PIB description.

See also:

RRSDA 1995-018, Examination Papers and Course Assignments RRSDA 1999-006, Instructor/Course Evaluations: Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) Employees RRSDA 1999-045, Personnel Files: Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) Employment Files RRSDA 1999-019, Scholarship, Award and Bursary Application Files RRSDA 1999-016, Student Files - Undergraduates RRSDA 2003-008, Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) Work Performance Reports RRSDA 1999-007, Unsuccessful/Withdrawn Admission Applications

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

A total retention period of "CY student graduates or withdraws + 3 years" allows sufficient passage of time for addressing anomalies to a student's academic record; re-admitting withdrawn students; and for consultation of files when providing letters of reference for graduates.

Retention and filing guidelines

Keep undergraduate student files separate from graduate student files. Maintain separate undergraduate and graduate files for students who go through both programs.

Faculty supervisors should file original records documenting their supervisory relationships (i.e. records falling within categories listed below) on departmental student files. This measure ensures that all records relating to a student's academic history are located in one place, supporting consistent planning, evaluation and decision-making. It also means that personal information about a student can more easily be located and retrieved in the case of an information access request, dispute, or some other emergency. Faculty supervisors can open duplicate student files for their own personal reference and convenience, containing copies of the original records described above. However, these files also should be disposed of in accordance with the retention periods outlined in this RRSDA.

Use student files only for records relating to academic performance. Do not file student employment records here; create a personnel file for these records - see RRSDA 1999-045, Personnel Files: Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) Employment Files.

Because of the large volume of records on file, graduate secretaries may find it useful to break down individual student files into a number of standard categories (e.g. use dividers to structure file folders). The following divisions are recommended.

ADMISSION Use for records relating to admission to a graduate program, including application forms and submitted evidence of the applicant's ability to undertake work in the area of interest.

Records may include application forms, transcripts, reference letters, curricula vitae, statements of interest, writing samples, proof of landed immigrant status, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, IELTS scores, admission evaluation checklists, and offer and admission letters.

AWARDS, SCHOLARSHIPS AND FEES Use for records relating to awards, scholarships, financial aid, and registration fees.

Records may include scholarship application forms and award and rejection letters.

COURSEWORK, SUPERVISION AND EVALUATION Use for records relating to a student's course of study, including supervision and performance evaluations.

Records many include advising transcripts, transfer credit and waiver requests, course add/drop forms, change of grade forms, Western Dean's Agreement forms, course plans, and research plans, directed reading forms, breadth evaluations, depth evaluations, oral evaluations, progress reports, approval of supervisory forms, approval of examining committee forms, scheduling masters degree forms, comprehensive exam forms, comprehensive exams, recommendation for award of degree forms, external examiner curricula vitae, and external examiner reports.

CO-OP Use for records relating to a student's participation in the graduate co-op program.

Records may include intake forms, departmental approval forms, work-term application forms, student contracts, job application packages, site visit forms, work reports, supervisor evaluations, co-op placement student evaluations.

INTERNATIONAL Use for records relating to the needs and requirements of international students. File foreign transcripts and proof of landed immigrant status with admission related-records.

Records may include visa and immigration letters.

LEAVES AND WITHDRAWALS Use for records relating to semester leaves and course or program withdrawals.

Records may include on-leave application forms, supporting medical documentation, and withdrawal forms.

APPEALS Use for records relating to all types of student appeals, including grade, progress evaluation, registration, graduation, re-entry to a program or any other matter relating to academic standing.

Records may include student appeals and documented outcomes.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION Use for records relating to student academic dishonesty and misconduct and disciplinary measures imposed.

Records may include penalty reports.

THESIS Use for records relating to thesis defense, submission and approval.

Records may include defense advertisements and posters, theses approval pages and abstracts, partial copyright licenses, ethics approval forms, and library approval letters.

OTHER Use for records relating to a student's academic history in general, but that do not fall under any other more specific category.

Records may include general correspondence and inquiries.

At the end of the active retention period, box and transfer paper files to the University Records Centre (URC). For each box prepare a box contents listing, itemizing all files contained in the box. Always include ONE copy of the file list inside the box sent to the URC taped to the underside of the lid; keep ONE copy for your own records; and send ONE copy (paper or electronic) to the Archives (see Procedures for Transferring Records to the University Records Centre).

Graduate program assistants and secretaries are responsible for deleting student data stored in departmental databases at the expiry of the total recommended retention period.


RRSDA is in force.

Approved by the University Archivist: 29 Sep 2006

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