Want to Get Rid of Documents?

Retention and Disposition of Records

Records should be maintained only for the minimum periods required to serve the basic official functions of the office involved. At the end of those periods, records should follow the NMSU Disposition and Destruction Process.

Regardless of whether something is a record or a non-record it can be Confidential or Non-Confidential.  This affects how they must be destroyed.  How do you identify if something is Confidential?  Confidential Records contain information that is exempt from release under state or federal laws (NMAC  For example, Confidential information is protected by laws such as FERPA and HIPPA.

1. Identify Your Records (and Non-Records)

A.   To simplify the inventory, filter out Non-Records in your office.


Bookstore Charges
Blank Forms & Templates Publications (brochures, books/textbooks, catalogs, flyers, handbooks, journals, magazines, newsletters, periodicals, teaching aids, technical reports/studies)
Budget Reconciliation files Reports (that can be reproduced/printed from database)
Correspondence (Announcements, cc’d to you (no action required of you) Sample Forms/Letters
Drafts Telephone Bills
Financial files sent to designated central office for final processing UNLESS THEY ARE RELATED TO A GRANT Time Sheets
Handouts (for conferences/trainings attended) Transitory/temporary notes used to complete a task

B.  About Non-records

  • Non-records come in different formats and media (paper, electronic, etc.).
  • Non-records do not require prior approval from the state to destroy non-records and do not follow the NMSU RMR Destruction process.
  • Non-records can be destroyed when no longer needed for reference.
  • Destruction of non-records can be performed by department staff or by a vendor for a cost.
    • If they are confidential, please shred.
    • If they are non-confidential, shred or place in the blue recycling bins.

Note:  Aggie Recycling offers pick-up of high volumes of non-confidential non-records, contact (575) 646-8159 or artl@nmsu.edu for scheduling and costs.

  • If you are unsure whether something is a record or not, place it on the records inventory in the next step.

C.  After filtering out the Non-Records, start your records inventory.

  • Use our Document Inventory Worksheet. (For an example, see a Completed Worksheet.)  If you prefer, you may create your own list or spreadsheet.
  • Complete the first six columns of the inventory worksheet (File Type, Location, Primary/Copy, Confidentiality, Medium, and Record (Y/N)) as you are reviewing files.
  • If the records are no longer active, you may wish to put them in labelled boxes or move them to another location.
  • Inventory the active records in cabinets, desk drawers, etc. looking at each file as a whole.
  • If you are unable to determine a record type or need a visit from the RMR Office , please ask RMR  or send an email to rmroffice@nmsu.edu.
2. Determine How Long You Should Keep the Records

A. When a record has met its retention requirement, it is eligible for disposition.

B. Check the resources below to determine the retention requirements for your records:

Audit Report Release Dates

Fiscal Year Audit Report Release Date Date Eligible for Disposition (if retention is 6 years) Fiscal Year Audit Report Release Date Date Eligible for Disposition
(if retention is 6 years)
2021 12/14/2021 12/14/2027 2014 11/25/2014 11/25/2020
2020 4/2/2020 4/2/2027 2013 12/12/2013 12/12/2019
2019 12/19/2019 12/19/2025 2012 12/14/2012 12/14/2018
2018 12/17/2018 12/17/2024 2011 12/9/2011 12/9/2017
2017 1/9/2018 1/9/2024 2010 12/10/2010 12/10/2016
2016 1/9/2017 1/9/2023 2009 12/11/2009 12/11/2015
2015 2/25/2016 2/25/2022 2008 2/2/2009 2/2/2015
2007 1/28/2008 1/28/2014

C.  Keeping records longer than the retention requirement puts the University at risk. 

The department must have a valid business or operational need to retain records past the retention requirement in order to obtain approval through the FSA-RMR office.

3. Follow the NMSU RMR Disposition and Destruction Process

A. Complete a Request for Disposition form

Watch this video for guidance on how to complete the form and read the instructions on page 1 of the form.

If your records are for a central office, verify the Custodian here and then obtain that person’s signature.

B.  Enter the retention schedules

Copy the retention information from your Documents Inventory Worksheet on the disposition log of the Request for Disposition form.

C.  Box Paper records

Follow the boxing requirements in order to obtain a box count for the Request for Disposition form.

Properly Labelled Box

Note:  If paper records are smaller than 8.5 X 11 inches, such as add/drop slips, place a rubber-band around a batch to keep them together, and place them flat in the box. Continue placing a second and third layer if needed and avoid overfilling.

D. If applicable, count electronic files

For Electronic records, count the electronic files in the folders and enter on Request for Disposition form in ## e-files format (e.g. 2,000 e-files).

  • Enter the e-files (e-records) locations on the “Remarks” section of the form. (e.g. Enterprise System/Server Name)
  • Depending on the e-records location, an IT Ticket may need to be submitted to obtain the records count.

E.  Submit completed Request for Disposition form

  • Email the form to the RMR Office at rmroffice@nmsu.edu.
  • RMR Office will review the form.
  • For requests of confidential paper records, the RMR Office will contact you to schedule a Condition Assessment (CA) and then work with you to schedule a time for you to deliver the boxes to the staging area, the F.A.T.E. Warehouse.
    • If you require assistance to deliver the boxes, schedule an appointment at least 48 hours in advance with Facilities & Services, through the AiM system, to have the movers pick-up and deliver the boxes on date of delivery.  There is no charge for moving the boxes.
    • After the paper records are delivered, the RMR Office will ask you to sign the Transfer of Custody.  The RMR Office will handle approval and destruction on your behalf.
  • For requests of non-confidential paper records, the RMR Office will request permission from the state to destroy records and notify you once approved.
    • You may then shred the records using department staff or a vendor (at a cost to your department)
    • After destroying the records, you complete the Certificate of Destruction (CoD) and email it to the RMR Office.
  • For electronic records, destruction scheduling is dependent on the confidentiality and location of the records. The RMR Office will advise.

The timeframe for the Disposition & Destruction process can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months depending on destruction scheduling. Unforeseen events and litigation issues can cause freezes of disposition and destruction.