Student Records - Information

Why is it necessary to capture Student Records?

Students are the main client group for the University. It not only makes sound business sense to capture all official correspondence with students (including email) in a central location, but good records also protect the interests of students, staff and the University.

The University is obliged to meet the requirements of the State Records Act, 1998 (NSW) and other recordkeeping and privacy legislation. The State Archives and Records Authority (opens in a new window), the regulatory body for the State Records Act, issues mandatory standards, policies, retention schedules and other documents. Compliance with these standards is achieved by placing student records on the appropriate files in TRIM.

Staff responsibilities

It is the responsibility of all Western Sydney University  employees to maintain accurate student records relating to the processes of their business unit. Effective student recordkeeping reflects an accurate footprint of the experience and status of each student studying at Western Sydney University. This information is regularly requested by the University Office of Legal Counsel as it can be used as evidence in legal proceedings. Please note a student can request to access the contents of all files kept on them by the University. This includes all emails and documented correspondence about them that is saved in their student file in TRIM.

All student files at Western Sydney University are electronic only. If you have paper records these should be scanned in accordance with the Scanning Standards and placed on the student file electronically. If you need to have paper records that belong on student files scanned, contact the EDM team at edm@lists.westermsydney.edu.au.

When are student files created?

An official file is created and maintained in the TRIM system for every student at the University. The student file is automatically created in TRIM from the point at which an offer is generated (based on data from Callista).

Record types for student files

The key record types for student files are:

Student Document: SD - Academic
For academic administrative documents including but not limited to student advice, notifications of awards and prizes and peer mentoring.

Student Document - OAR
Used by the Student Experience Office (SEO) staff for administrative documents including but not limited to: Cross Institutional Studies, Completion Letters, Student Advice, Change of Grade Approvals

Student Document - Restricted
Used to save documents with sensitive information. This may include medical reports, doctor's certificates, counselling and police reports etc. Please note that due to the restrictions on this record type, only a limited number of University staff members are able to view the contents once it has been saved to TRIM

Student Document: SD - Residency
Used by a small SEO group who deal with residency issues. Please note that due to the restrictions on this record type only a limited number of University staff members are able to view the contents once it has been saved to TRIM.

How long are student records kept?

There are a range of retention periods depending on the information the records document. These can be anything from one year to 99 years and some can never be destroyed. However, some of the basic requirements include:

  • Records that are placed on student files in TRIM are kept for 8 years after the student leaves the University, then destroyed.
  • Academic Transcripts (ie the data kept in Callista for this purpose) are required as State Archives and are never to be destroyed.
  • Misconduct Records are kept for 8 years (except where the misconduct involves suspected or proven abuse or neglect of children, which have a minimum 99 year retention).
  • Unclaimed student works for assessment are kept for a period of one month after the end of session. Examination papers and final major assessments are kept for a period of twelve months following the end of the relevant teaching session (except where they have been required as part of a review of grade process - these may not be destroyed until at least 12 months after the review process has been finalised).

If you are unsure how long student records need to be kept contact RAMS at rams@uws.edu.au for advice.

Capturing Emails to Student Files

To have an email captured to a student file just add  trim@westernsydney.edu.au to the CC or BCC field when sending an email to a student's University email account.

This function must be used with good judgement. Ensure that the information within the email or email chain being captured is not derogatory towards any University student or staff member, and does not contain personal identification information about any other student. If there is mention of another student, or the situation/outcome of another student, then this information will need to be redacted before adding trim@westernsydney.edu.au into the CC or BCC field.

Refer to the guidelines for FAQs regarding student email capture.

Titling

Proper titling will help you and your colleagues efficiently find what you need in a student file.

When saving a document or email to a student file in TRIM, give it a meaningful title that allows users to know the contents of the document 'at a glance'.

Exceptions

Under no circumstances should a Tax File Number be put on a student file in TRIM.

Records of the following activities should not be placed on student files but should be placed on separate 'case files' in TRIM within the relevant school or organisational unit:

  • Complaints
  • Counselling
  • Student Misconduct

* See the TRIM User Guide - Misconduct Rule - Record keeping attached to the Student Misconduct Rule.

Additionally, as outlined above, identification documents, documents/emails which include photos of students and sensitive information need to be dealt with appropriately.

A document/email saved to a student file in TRIM cannot contain personal identification information about any other student. If there is mention of another student, or the situation/outcome of another student, then this information will need to be redacted.

Privacy (how to handle sensitive and identification documents)

It is not a breach of privacy to place records containing personal information on a student file. However, please be cautious when filing particularly sensitive material. If a document (eg an email or a form) contains material such as medical reports, doctor's certificates, counselling or police reports, it should be placed on the student TRIM file using the record type Student Document – Restricted. Please Note: If you CC or BCC trim@westernsydney.edu.au in an email, this will not place the content into the Restricted record type.

If an application or document contains what is considered to be 'residency' information, (eg Birth Certificate, Driver's License, Passport, VISA information) these items should be removed from the application and then placed separately on the student TRIM file under the 'Student Document - Residency' file type.

If a document contains a photo of a student, the image of the student should be redacted from the document before it is saved to their student file in TRIM.

Consider if you supplied sensitive documentation to a large organisation. You would want to know that only the necessary parties were able to access that information, rather than then entire organisation.

The Student Document – Restricted record type has been set up to comply with legal requirements under privacy legislation to ensure privacy to students who disclose information of a sensitive nature to the University. Sensitive information is disclosed for a variety of administrative processes such as applying for special consideration or for withdrawal from units after census date. Forms, correspondence and other documentation that contain sensitive material such as medical reports, doctor's certificates, counselling and police reports need to be saved under this record type. When a document is saved as a restricted record type, the metadata (basic information about the document) will be visible to all staff, however only relevant ARO units, Office of Legal Counsel, Complaints Unit, Records and Archive Management Services, the Academic Misconduct Group and the Student Records Group will be able to view the contents. On limited occasions additional privacy measures may need to be taken. If you are concerned that any student documentation may require additional security please contact EDM at edm@lists.westernsydney.edu.au

If you do not treat sensitive and identification documents with additional security you could be in breach of privacy legislation or create a risk of identity theft. It can also be detrimental to the University should it be audited. An audit will also identify if documentation that needs to be recorded, has not been recorded. Therefore it is essential that any information that supports a decision made about a student be recorded on their student file.

Who to contact about student records?

The Electronic Document Management (EDM) team within the Records and Archives Management Services manage student files in TRIM.

If you have any questions about student records, please email the EDM team at edm@lists.westernsydney.edu.au

You can also find more information about student records in the Quick guide to TRIM – Student records (PDF, 1280.45 KB) (opens in a new window).

EDM can also help if you have paper records that belong on student files that need to be scanned.