Montserrat College of Art Record Retention Policy

The objective of this Record Retention Policy (“Policy”) is to ensure that Montserrat College of Art complies with all applicable laws and regulations governing the management, retention, and destruction of the college’s records. Because the college does not have a centralized records management function, each department is responsible for the retention and disposal of the records it generates.

In certain cases, as described below, it is a crime to destroy records.

For purposes of this Policy, the term “record” refers to any recorded information, wherever such information is or may be stored, that has been created by or for the college, or received by the college in connection with the transaction of the college’s business that is in any format (including, without limitation, paper, electronic, and audiovisual materials).

For statute of limitations or other reasons, certain records must be retained for specific periods of time. The attached record retention schedule provides the minimum retention periods under this Policy, for a variety of categories of documents.

Document types that are not listed, but are substantially similar to those listed on the schedule should also be retained for the appropriate minimum retention periods. Records may be retained in print or electronic form. Portable document format (“pdf”), faxed or scanned documents satisfy record retention requirements, provided that the authenticity of the original is not reasonably expected to be called into question.

Email that needs to be retained should be either (a) printed in hard copy and kept in the appropriate file, or (b) downloaded to a computer file and kept electronically or on disk as a separate file.

The Business Office is responsible for overseeing the implementation of, and compliance with, this Policy. Each department may adopt additional record retention policies so long as the minimum retention periods are at least as long as the retention periods set forth on the attached schedule.

Each employee is responsible for maintaining the records that he or she originates or receives in accordance with this Policy. Employees who are unsure about the need to keep a particular document should consult with the Business Office.

Document TypeRequired Retention Period
Academic CatalogsPermanently
Academic RecordsPermanently
Accreditation RecordsPermanently
Admissions Applications3 years for non-enrolling students and five years after graduation for those who do enroll
Alumni RecordsPermanently
Annual Financial StatementsPermanently
Complaints and investigationsWhile active plus 7 years
Construction DrawingsPermanently
Contracts, notes, and leases (expired)7 years
Contracts, notes, and leases (still in effect)Permanently
Copyright registrationsPermanently
Correspondence (general)2 years
Correspondence (legal and important matters)Permanently
Deeds, mortgages, bills of salePermanently
Employee files, including employment applications for individuals hiredWhile active plus 7 years
Employment applications, if not hired3 years
Employment tax records7 years
Financial Aid Records7 years after the end of the enrollment period
General Accounting Records7 years after tax filing
Gift Agreements and Planned GiftsPermanently
Gift Records7 years
Governance: minute books, bylaws, charters, articles of organization, and policiesPermanently
Graduation ListsPermanently
Insurance policies (expired)3 years
Internal Revenue Service exemption application and determination letter, examination rulings, and commentsPermanently
Litigation-related documentsPermanently
State tax exemptionsPermanently
Student Counseling Center recordsPermanently
Student Medical Records7 years after last treatment
Tax returns, worksheets, information returns, and related records20 years
Trademark registrationsPermanently

No records of any type that may be related to an ongoing or imminent college investigation or disciplinary process, lawsuit, or government investigation shall be destroyed and all ordinary disposal or alteration of records pertaining to the subjects of the litigation or investigation shall be immediately suspended.

In certain cases, the Business Office will instruct employees to retain records indefinitely pending an investigation, disciplinary process, or lawsuit. Employees who become aware of a legal matter (whether pending or threatened) involving the college should promptly notify the Business Office so that the college can ensure the preservation of all records relating to that matter. If an employee is uncertain whether documents under his or her control should be preserved because they might relate to a college investigation or disciplinary process, lawsuit, or government investigation, he or she should contact the Business Office.

All records created and maintained pursuant to the Sexual Misconduct Policy must be retained indefinitely by the Title IX Office [in database, digital, and/ or paper form] unless destruction or expungement is authorized by the Title IX Coordinator, who may act under their own discretion, or in accordance with a duly executed and binding settlement of claim, and/or by court order.

Failure to comply with this Policy, including interference with the retention or destruction of the college’s records, may result in civil and criminal liability, as well as disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Failure to maintain certain records may subject the college and/or individuals to penalties and fines and may compromise the college’s position in litigation or an investigation. It is also a federal crime, punishable by a fine and up to 20 years in prison, to knowingly alter, destroy, mutilate, conceal, cover up, falsify or make a false entry in any record with the intent to impede, obstruct or influence the investigation or proper administration of a government investigation or proceeding.

The Registrar’s Office maintains academic records in fire-resistant cabinets. In the event that Montserrat College of Art discontinued operations, arrangements would be made with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, One Ashburton Place, Room 1401, Boston, MA 02108-1696, (617) 994-6950,, for the filing and maintenance of academic records. The college would take reasonable steps to notify current and former students about the arrangements for the filing and maintenance of academic records.