College-wide Record Retention Periods and Practices

Dartmouth tries to keep the number of College-wide retention policies to a minimum, realizing that College departments often have very different access and usage patterns for similar materials. Nevertheless, there are several record types that have a suggested retention period. Contact the Records Manager for more information.

Record Type


Time Cards (except service personnel) 3 years
Payroll Time Sheets (departmental copies) 1 year
Payroll Work Study (departmental copies) 1 year
Purchase Orders (departmental copies) 1 year
Search and Recruitment files (general)
3 years*
Search and Recruitment files (in support of immigration)
5 years*
Purchasing Card Documentation 7 years**
Departmental Personnel Files 1 year***

* In general, Search Files should be kept for no longer than three years from the date of hire.  However, a small number of searches may result in the hiring of a candidate that the College then sponsors for immigration.  In these cases, the search files should be retained for the longer 5 year period.

** Purchasing has specific procedures for maintaining Purchasing Card files. As this program decentralizes much of the current purchasing information, it is important that you follow these guidelines closely. Contact Purchasing for a copy of the Purchasing Card manual.

*** Departmental personnel files on terminated employees (except faculty) are to be disposed no more than one year after the employee's termination date. At the discretion of the supervisor, unique documentation that may not already be a part of the employee's permanent file may be forwarded to the Human Resources office to be considered for inclusion. The remainder should be sent for shredding as per established policies.

Departmental files on terminated staff should not be sent to Records Management. Any terminated staff files received by Records Management will be returned to the originating department.

For further information about the retention and disposition of departmental terminated staff material, contact the College Records Manager via e-mail or at 6-1874.