Records Schedules

Overview: What is a records schedule?

A records schedule, also known as a records disposition authorization (RDA), is a policy document that provides certain descriptive information about a given set of records. In essence, the records schedule describes your department's information resources, how long they are going to be retained, and what their ultimate disposition will be. State agencies are statutorily required to provide records schedules for all records not already covered by an existing records schedule. By law, RDAs have to be submitted one year after each records series has been received or created. After 10 years, the RDA sunsets, and a new one must be resubmitted for Public Records Board approval. The records schedule is the key document for establishing a records management program for your department. In Wisconsin State government, the records scheduling process is accomplished by completing an RDA and submitting it to the Campus Records Review Group (CRRG) and the Public Records Board (PRB) for approval. There are three types of records schedules for the University: general campus-wide, general system-wide, and department/unit specific.

General and System-wide Records Schedules:

General records schedules codify retention policies for record types which are common to all offices across the organization. Rather than making each office secure its own specific retention schedule (as otherwise required by State Statute), the Archives and Records Management Service develops campus-wide general records retention schedules that set minimum retention policy for certain types of records. In the case of system-wide schedules, ARMS works with other UW campuses and System to create schedules that apply to all universities in the system. Campus units are required to follow the retention and disposition recommendations set out in these schedules for their similar records or submit their own RDA proposal for review and approval.


  • Consistent retention periods
  • Elimination of duplicate schedules
  • Maintenance of fewer series<
  • Reflection of business processes
  • Promotion of standard naming conventions


  • Time intensive to analyze business processes
  • Additional training

Departmental Records Schedules:

Departmental records schedules set retention policies for records types that are specific to a department or unit.


  • Departmental specific
  • Reflects the organization of the department
  • Finer detail


  • Proliferation of records series
  • Duplication across campus
  • Conflicting retention periods
  • Department use only
  • Revision due to reorganization

What University General Records Schedules are Available?

The following General Records Retention Schedules have been approved for UW-Madison campus-wide use.

Click on the link of the appropriate Records Retention Schedule below to open the pdf for the schedule.

Note: Use Ctrl key + F key and then type the word you are looking for in the search box for example "student" or "payroll" and then press enter to find the correct schedule.



UWS Administrative Records Schedule - 2012 Policies and Procedures, Calendars and Schedules, Grant Documentation—Non-Financial, Organizational Charts, Agreements and Contracts, Unit/Department Training/Course Materials, University Publications, University Speeches/Presentations, Agendas/Minutes, Outside Activities. (GLOBAL LEVEL)- Grid

DOA GRS General Mail  - 2006 (Use of inter-agency mail, courier services, private vendors (i.e. FedEx, Airborne, DHL, etc.), UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service for mail, message, and parcel pickup and delivery) (GLOBAL LEVEL)

UWS Business Communication General Records Schedule -2008

(University Communications Records Schedules (E-mail and chat)(GLOBAL LEVEL)- Grid

UW-Madison University Project Management & Project/Planning Records

UW-Madison Voice Mail Retention Policy - DoIT


Academic Planning & Analysis: (Credits Follow Instructor (CFI) Reports, Departmental Planning Files, Academic Program Review Records.)

Office of the Secretary of the Faculty: (Course Proposals - Approved and Denied)



(NEW) GRS UW-Madison Undergraduate and Career Graduate Student Records Excludes the following: UW Professional Schools - Law, School of Medicine and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine,the School of Pharmacy and The Center for Professional and Executive Development.


  1. For Student Evaluations of Tenured Faculty, Academic Staff or TA/PA refer to the UW-System Faculty & Academic Staff & Limited Appt. HR – 2011 (Page 15)
  2. For Course Evaluations refer to DOA GRS Human Resources & Related Records – Classified Employee’s – 2010 on page 13


UW-Madison Alumni Records-Departmental - 2012 (Company Level)

UW- System GRS Financial Aid and Student Employment – 2012 (Financial Aid Student Records, Fiscal Record-Student Accounts, General Institutional Records, Reporting Records, Student Employment and Student Work Study Records) (GLOBAL LEVEL)

UW-System GRS Residential Programs - Housing – 2010 (Housing Policy & Administration, Residence Hall Student Records, University Apartments Community, Housing Marketing & Communications, Conference & Guest Service, Dining Service & Catering)(GLOBAL LEVEL)

UW-System GRS University Health Services – 2010 (Student Health Center, Counseling Center, Student Athletics)(GLOBAL LEVEL)



UW-System Fiscal and Accounting Records – 2012 (Fiscal Administration Records, Internal Control Records, Payments and receipts from all sources EXCEPT Capital Improvement Projects and State Building Commissions Projects, State Banking and Cash Management – Related Records, Collection Related Records, General Ledger Transactions, Capital Asset Inventory Equipment Inventories, Gift/Grant Related Accounting Records)(GLOBAL LEVEL)

UW-Madison Gift Funds – 2013 (This Schedule covers the following record series for management of University of Wisconsin records created during the routing of gift funds processed between the UW- Madison Gift Fund Accounts and the UW-Foundation to maintain proper audit documentation.)

UW-Madison Grant Funding Schedule (Compilation of Fiscal & Accounting, Gift and Financial Aid record series)

UW-System Payroll Records – 2011 (Time and Labor, Absence Management, Benefits, Payroll) (GLOBAL LEVEL)- Grid

UW-Madison University Purchasing Records -2011 (Purchasing Receiving, Inventory, Order Fulfillment, General Warehouse, Surplus, Purchasing Services, Purchase Cards) (Company Level)

DOA GRS for Budget Records - 2012 (General Policies and Procedures, Biennial Budget Development and Implementation, Operating Budget Development – Implementation, Other Budget and Control Related Record Series) (GLOBAL LEVEL)- Grid



DOA GRS Human Resources & Related Records – Classified Employee’s – 2010 (General Policies and Procedures and Related Records, Recruitment and Selection Related Records, Classification and Compensation Related Record, including new series on Workforce Planning, Workforce Management including new series on Workforce Reductions (layoffs and furloughs), Labor Relations and related records, including new series on Labor Management Cooperation Committee records, Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity related records, Medical related records, Employee Assistance (EAP) related records, including new series on Wellness, Training related records, General Human Resources Administration related records) (GLOBAL LEVEL)

UW-System Faculty & Academic Staff & Limited Appt. HR – 2011 (Personnel Record:Tenured, Non-Tenured Faculity, Academic Staff,Graduate Student, Recruitment and Hiring: Search & Screen, Administrative Reporting , Evaluation and Promotion:Student Evaluation and Summaries, Staff Development Documentation, Termination of Employment, Grievances and Complaints Documentation, Other Personnel-Related Documentation) (GLOBAL LEVEL)



DOA GRS for Risk Management and Workers Comp - 2013

Includes General Risk Management & related records; Worker's Compensation Records; Property and Liability Related Records; Property Program Related Records;Liability Program Related Records (GLOBAL LEVEL)

DOA GRS for Fleet Vehicle & Aircraft - 2014 (GLOBAL LEVEL)

Includes Fleet and REalted REcords Maintenance and Operations Records and Aircraft Maintenance and Oeprations Records.


UW-Madison Facility Planning and Related Records - 2010
(Business and Staff Services, Campus Planning and Landscape Architecture, Capital Planning and Development, Environment Health and Safety,Physical Plant, Space Management Office,Transportation Services, Occupational Health Records)(Company Level)



UW-Madison Emergency Management Records - 2013 (Company Level)- Grid

UW-Madison University Police Records - 2011 (Company Level) -Grid



UW-System Information Technology Records - 2012 (Information Technology Business – Project Related,  Computer Ongoing Operations and Technical Support, Network/Data Communications Services, Data Administration, Computer and Information Security, Notes on Back-up and Wisconsin. Administrative Rule 12) (GLOBAL LEVEL)

UW-System Library and Archival Records – 2012 (Administration, Collection Development, Special Collections, Circulation, Information Systems, Publicity, Reference, Security)(GLOBAL LEVEL)



UW-System Legal Affairs Records  - 2012 (Matter Case Files, Legal Affairs Case Files – Historically significant, Legal Trademark and Intellectual Property – Formal Legal Documents, Client Consultation Records, Administrative Rule Development – Official File)(GLOBAL LEVEL)



UW-Madison Research Data and Records (Company Level)

UW-Madison Research Policy and Compliance - 2013 (Company Level)- Grid

UW-Madison Insitutional Review Records - 2014 (Company Level)



UW-Madison Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) & Radiology Records Schedule  (Company Level)

UW-Madison (RARC) Animal Health Records Schedule - 2013(Company Level)

UW-Madison (RARC) Animal Records Schedule - 2013 (Company Level)

UW-Madison Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory - 2014 (Company Level)



Once record series or RDA number is located from the schedules above locate them in Versatile.

  • DOA = Department of Administration – Can be found in the (GLOBAL LEVEL) in Versatile
  • UW-System Schedule – Can be found on the (GLOBAL LEVEL) in Versatile
  • UW-Madison campus wide schedule – Can be found in the (Company Level) in Versatile
  • Departmental Schedules are kept by the University Records Officer and can be located in Versatile under (Department Level).

To log in to versatile with your password and login: Versatile


WARNING: Conditions Affecting Final Disposition All recommended dispositions stated within these schedules may be carried out by the office without further consultation or approval from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives, Administrative Legal Services or Internal Audit with the following exceptions:

  • Records Request. If an open records request has been made with an office for any item or items in this schedule, the Open Records Law (Sec.19.35 (5) Wis. Stats.) forbids the destruction of any record until the request is granted or until at least sixty days after the date that the request is denied. Court orders may extend this time period. The University's legal records custodian can advise offices on specific requests for access (Sec. 19.33 and 19.34, Wis. Stats.)

  • Pending Litigation or Audit. It is the department's responsibility to determine if an audit or pending litigation will involve any records listed in a Records Disposition Authorization, and to suspend any disposition until such time as the audit or litigation is completed.

  • Duplicate records. Duplicates may be destroyed when their administrative usefulness has ceased. A separate records schedule is not required to dispose of such duplicates.



How do I

How do Retention Schedules get approved?

The approval process for records schedules involves not only the department but also the Campus Records Review Group (CRRG) and the Public Records Board (PRB). The Records Officer coordinates the campus review of the proposed RDA as well as making sure that it is forwarded to the PRB. The PRB is a statutory body with the responsibility for approving agency records schedules.

A simple timeline of the RDA process is as follows:
  • Department or Records Officer contact regarding schedule.
  • Records officer reviews and sends back for either signature or additions, corrections, and/or clarifications.
  • Department signs off on the final document and mails the original to Records Management.
  • Records Officer reviews the proposed schedule with the Campus Records Review Group (CRRG) at their meeting. When applicable, any corrections or questions are relayed to the department following the meeting; otherwise, group members approve and sign the schedules.
  • Records Officer forwards the schedule to the PRB at the designated times. (4 times a year) The PRB reviews and approves the schedule on a quarterly basis according to their meeting schedule. As a general rule, the deadline for submitting agenda items for Board review is two months in advance of their meeting date. Recognizing that the PRB only meets quarterly, offices desiring to have schedule approved need to be mindful of the 6-8 week minimum lead time that is required for schedule proposals to meet PRB deadlines. The deadline for schedule submissions are typically in January, March, June, and September and are approved at their board meeting in February, May, August, and November.

When can I begin using my records schedule?

Upon approval by the PRB, an approved copy of the schedule will be returned to the office of origin electronically. Offices are advised to keep all schedules together in the main administrative office for their department along with all records inventory and transfer information. No further approval is needed to implement provisions of the schedule. At this time you may begin sending records to the State Records Center for storage if needed.

NOTE: Approved records retention policy schedules are valid for a 10 year period from the date of PRB approval. The sunset date is noted on the RDA. The sunset provision was added to Wisconsin's records law to make sure that agency retention policies (RDAs) adequately describe the records they govern, and that they are kept current.