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How Long do Schools Keep Student Records?

Academic records are important for institutions as well as for students. Additionally, student transcripts can be quite important for a variety of reasons, so schools and universities keep them on file for a very long period, long after the student has graduated.

These student records could list a variety of accomplishments and activities, from co-curriculars and extracurriculars to strictly academic ones. Additionally, from the time of enrollment to graduation, these records cover a student’s complete college career.

Typically, transcripts that may be conveniently retrieved online are used to keep student records. Students get access to these reports whenever they need them as a result.

But how long do schools keep student records? Understanding how high school transcripts are handled after graduation is crucial because this is a crucial question.

In this article, we’ll examine several aspects of high school record retention periods and why they matter to certain people.

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How Long do Schools Keep Student Records
How Long do Schools Keep Student Records?

What Does “Permanent” Storage Mean for School Records?

The majority of institutions assert that student records are kept forever or permanently. Federal law does not limit institutions to a set time of record-keeping, hence the concept of what constitutes “permanent” storage varies from state to state.

As a result, your academic record could be kept for up to 60 years after you graduate. It is preferable to speak with the school administration if you want to discover the precise amount of years.

What kinds of Student Records do Schools Keep?

Depending on the sort of instruction and extracurricular activities offered, schools keep a variety of student records.

Typically, the majority of schools keep student records like:

  • Records of attendance
  • Test results
  • Student recognition and prizes
  • Sanctions imposed on the student throughout their academic career
  • Records of suspensions and expulsions
  • High school transcripts
  • Sports and extracsurricular activities certification

These papers and student records are often kept in CA-60 file folders by schools.

Consultation of Student Records

Although your school records are always available, not everyone has access to them at all times. In general, schools keep this data in case they have to share it with different parties including security agencies, parents, employers, and others.

Students typically lose direct access to some of this information when they leave school. Students may only verify their academic records going forward with express permission from the school administration.

In general, your school system is likely to restrict access to your records in order to protect them from misuse and for security concerns.

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Is there a Federal Law Regulating the Storage of Student Records?

The retention of student academic records for any particular amount of time is not covered by any specific government rules. High schools are therefore not required to maintain student records. Such choices are often made within each school district.

Here is a brief overview of some of the laws governing the retention of student records in several states.

Duration: Indefinite

The only state that retains records indefinitely is Alaska. The choice of when to discard student records is ultimately left up to each institution. Typically, schools include information about these times in their official records to better enlighten pupils about these topics.

However, it is definitely better to get copies of all of your academic records as soon as you graduate if you are a student in Alaska. When you require recommendations or official documentation of your educational activities later on in your job, this could be crucial.

Duration: Permanent Record Storage

In the US, just a few states permit schools to keep records permanently. Among the states that permit perpetual record-keeping are California, Maine, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. No matter when you graduate, you may still get in touch with the institution for records and other pertinent information in these states.

Duration: Five Years Storage

Educational institutions must keep student records on file for at least five years in Arizona, Maryland, Mississippi, Louisiana, Wisconsin, and New Jersey. When a student leaves the institution by graduation, transfer, or withdrawal, the five-year period starts.

Storage Period: 50 to 100 Years

Schools must maintain student records for at least 50 years in Minnesota. Before schools in Illinois and Massachusetts are allowed to throw away student records, they must wait at least 60 years. In Pennsylvania, records go back at least a century.

Permanent records storage is preferred in other states. Students have access anytime a need to give a document with educational value may emerge. Records may occasionally be removed once the student reaches the age of 23.

Additionally, two years after graduation, some states erase records. In these situations, it depends on the storage facilities and resources that are available, and schools with greater access to services generally keep their records for longer.

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Destruction of Data Notification

Some states will let students know before erasing their records if they don’t preserve permanent recordings. Therefore, before their data is irreversibly lost, students have time to gather any important information.

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How Long do Schools Keep Student Records
How Long do Schools Keep Student Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act on Students Record

After a kid completes high school, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) will govern their access to student records.

Who is an eligible student and who else has access to educational records after graduation is determined by FERPA. The following people are permitted access to educational records under the act:

  • Students who qualify or their parents
  • School authorities with a genuine interest in education
  • The institution of higher learning that the student will transfer to
  • Individuals and parties who specifically want it for evaluation purposes
  • Accrediting organizations
  • Parties involved in acquiring support services and providing financial aid to students
  • Emergency state officials for health and safety
  • Local and state authorities in the juvenile justice system

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The Need to Access Student Records

It is abundantly evident from the qualifying requirements above that student records may apply to anybody other than graduate students or their parents. As a result, there are many different situations where you would need to demonstrate your academic record, even though you might need your high school transcript to apply for a program.

There is no better record to show your performance throughout high school than your transcript, which is a summary of your academic career.

The following is a brief list of scenarios in which you might be asked to present your academic record:

Monitoring Academic Development:

For tracking progress, a student record is necessary. Record tracking enables organizations to determine your eligibility for admissions, scholarships, and other benefits for your parents or educational agencies.

Local Laws:

Some states demand that schools keep track of their students’ development and preserve student records. This enables the school district to keep track of educational data at the local and state levels.

Security Motives:

Keeping records makes it easier for security agents to locate people. For instance, they might wish to confirm someone’s identification, and their academic history may be crucial to these investigations.

Offering Educational Opportunities:

States frequently offer scholarships and educational opportunities to eligible students, and they might need access to student information to help them make better choices. Likewise, having access to their records enables students to make more informed decisions about their alternatives for further education.

Research and Evaluation Purposes:

In order to perform surveys for state or local authorities, third-party research and evaluation programs and educational organizations may need access to student records. In this situation, the schools are compelled to follow state regulations and give the necessary information to these authorities.

Student records may be used for a variety of research projects in addition to questionnaires. Additionally, in order to evaluate high schools and other similar educational institutions, accreditation councils or the Department of Education also want records for education and student services.

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How Long do Schools Keep Student Records
How Long do Schools Keep Student Records?

Frequently Asked Questions

How long are records kept in Virginia schools?

After graduation in Virginia, the academic progress record is promptly deleted, however alumni transcripts are kept on file for up to a year.

How long are student records kept in California schools?

According to California state law, schools must keep student files and information for at least five years. Records are, however, frequently retained for a very long time at schools.

How long do schools in Massachusetts keep students record?

After a student graduates, leaves school, or transfers to another one, Massachusetts schools are required to keep their records on file for at least five years. Special education records may be kept around for a while longer.

How long are student records kept in Florida schools?

Student educational records must be kept for a minimum of five years in accordance with Florida state law.


In some regions of the nation, student records can be kept intact for up to 100 years. After a kid leaves school, several states only keep data for two years. There are several justifications for maintaining records.

It is crucial to understand how long your student record will be kept on file at your school, but it is also crucial to recover all pertinent data as soon as possible after graduation to prevent any issues in the future.



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