4.13. Terminology

4.13.1 Copy Types:

Official Copy

The single official copy of a document maintained by an administrative office.

Record Copy

The record copy is usually, but not always, the original and may be held by either the creating office or another office of record. Record Copies are identified in the Record Retention Schedules, and these materials must be maintained in accordance with existing Record Retention Schedules.

Unofficial Copy

A duplicate copy of an official record created for ease of access and use. Also called “convenience copy” or “working copy,” these materials may be destroyed when no longer needed by the office that holds them.

Directory Information

Information contained in an education record that that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.

Disposition of Records

The terminal treatment of records, either through destruction or permanent storage with the institutional archives.

Legitimate Education Interest

An interest in student records for the purpose of performing stated job duties.


These informational materials possess a solely operational value for the office which holds them and should not be maintained by that office after the active use of them has ceased. Such items may be destroyed at any time when no longer needed by the office that holds them. Examples include:

  • All duplicate/convenience copies of “Official Records”
  • Information (whether produced by the institution or not) used for reference purposes only
  • Notes or working drafts of a completed project (unless they provide more complete information than the final report


Information reflecting academic, business, and related activities, and transactions. Records may exist in any format (paper, electronic, information management system, photographic, recordings, etc.). Records are created, received, used, and/or maintained during typical business operations and may hold operational, legal, fiscal, vital and/or historical value.

​​​​​​​4.13.2 Types of Records​​​​​​​Active Records

Records that are referred to regularly and/or are needed to support current or ongoing business activities of a department or office. Unless these records have been defined as permanent or archival, they should be destroyed in accordance with the Student Records Retention Schedule.

​​​​​​​Critical /Vital Records

Records determined to contain information essential for the operational continuity of the institution following a catastrophic event. The Deanship of Student Affairs, Admissions, and Registration will work with senior staff and administration to identify vital records and to develop procedures to ensure their accessibility after such an event.

​​​​​​​Inactive Records

Records that have not been referenced for at least one year or for which the designated active period has passed. Unless these records have been defined as permanent or archival, they should be destroyed in accordance with the Student Records Retention Schedule. If needed, inactive records may be placed in storage until the end of their defined retention period.

​​​​​​​Permanent /Archival Record

Records which are determined to contain historical, administrative, and/or research value to the institution and which the institution maintains indefinitely. The institution is responsible for the identification and transfer of these records, provides for their secure long-term storage, and ensures their accessibility in accordance to established access policies.

​​​​​​​Record Custodian

Everyone who creates records is responsible for managing those records while they are using them. Maintaining records in a safe, secure, and retrievable way is the primary responsibility of the creator while the record is serving its useful purpose. Sometimes the creator of the record will also be the official custodian.

​​​​​​​Retention Period

Minimum length of time for which an office or department within the institution is responsible for maintaining records. Retention periods are determined through consultation with state and federal law and industry best practices and are to be adhered to by all institutional employees during their general business activities.

​​​​​​​Retention Schedule

An internal document describing categories of records, stating their retention period, and providing instructions for their disposition. The Records Retention Schedule lists the most common records at the institution and provides retention and disposition guidelines.

​​​​​​​University Officials

University officials are those members of the institution whose responsibilities reasonably require access to student records for educational, administrative, or research functions and may include faculty, administration, clerical and professional employees, and other persons who manage student record information. ​​​​​​​

Student Education Records

Records, files, documents, and other materials which contain information directly related to a student; and are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.