Requesting help

Units with questions about their retention schedules should contact University Archives & Historical Collections staff at or (517) 355-2330 for assistance.

Retention Schedules

What is a retention schedule?

A retention schedule is a document defining the retention period and disposition of the records created by an organization or academic unit. Retention schedules are designed to meet the requirements of:

  • Federal statutes, laws, regulations, and legal decisions
  • State laws
  • MSU regulations and policies

The retention schedule will typically identify the records series, records description, retention period, disposition of the record, office of record, and any additional information or notes.

Please note that all records pertaining to ongoing or pending audits, lawsuits or even reasonably anticipated lawsuits, and public disclosure proceedings may not be destroyed, damaged, or altered until the issue is resolved and an office or unit has been specifically advised that such records may be destroyed. Any of these conditions supersedes the retention period listed in the records retention schedule, and records destruction will be suspended.

University Archives accepts transfer both temporary and permanent paper records once the records have been deemed inactive by offices.

Temporary records will be stored in the University's records management program. These records will be held until they have reached the end of their retention period; then, Archives will contact the appropriate office to approve records destruction. Temporary records may only be viewed by the office that sent them to the Archives; they are not publicly available.

Permanent records will be processed by Archivists and become part of the University's archival collections. These records will be publicly available once processing is complete.

Our current version of the general records retention schedules are available here. Please note that our general retention schedules are undergoing revision and may be subject to change. For questions or concerns, please contact the Archives at or 5-2330.

*Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to read PDF documents.