§ 74.53Retention and access requirements for records.
(a) This section establishes requirements for record retention and access to records for awards to recipients. The Secretary does not impose any other record retention or access requirements upon recipients.
(b) Financial records, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other records pertinent to an award shall be retained for a period of three years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report or, for awards that are renewed quarterly or annually, from the date of the submission of the quarterly or annual financial report, as authorized by the Secretary. The only exceptions are the following:
(1) If any litigation, claim, or audit is started before the expiration of the 3-year period, the records shall be retained until all litigation, claims, or audit findings involving the records have been resolved and final action taken.
(2) Records for real property and equipment acquired with Federal funds shall be retained for 3 years after final disposition.
(3) When records are transferred to or maintained by the Secretary, the 3-year retention requirement is not applicable to the recipient.
(4) Indirect cost rate proposals, cost allocations plans, etc. as specified in § 74.53(g).
(c) Copies of original records may be substituted for the original records if authorized by the Secretary.
(d) The Secretary requests transfer of certain records to its custody from recipients when it determines that the records possess long term retention value. However, in order to avoid duplicate recordkeeping, the Secretary may make arrangements for recipients to retain any records that are continuously needed for joint use.
(e) The Secretary, the Inspector General, Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, have the right of timely and unrestricted access to any books, documents, papers, or other records of recipients that are pertinent to the awards, in order to make audits, examinations, excerpts, transcripts, and copies of documents. This right also includes timely and reasonable access to a recipient's personnel for the purpose of interview and discussion related to these documents. The rights of access in this paragraph are not limited to the required retention period, but shall last as long as records are retained.
(f) Unless required by statute, the Secretary does not place restrictions on recipients that limit public access to the records of recipients that are pertinent to an award, except when the Secretary can demonstrate that the records must be kept confidential and would have been exempted from disclosure pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) if the records had belonged to ED.
(g) The starting date for retention of the following types of documents (including supporting records) is specified in paragraphs (g)(1) and (2) of this section: indirect cost rate computations or proposals; cost allocation plans; and any similar accounting computations of the rate at which a particular group of costs is chargeable (such as computer usage chargeback rates or composite fringe benefit rates).
(1)If submitted for negotiation. If the recipient submits to the Secretary or the subrecipient submits to the recipient the proposal, plan, or other computation to form the basis for negotiation of the rate, then the 3-year retention period for its supporting records starts on the date of submission.
(2)If not submitted for negotiation. If the recipient is not required to submit to the Secretary or the subrecipient is not required to submit to the recipient the proposal, plan, or other computation for negotiation purposes, then the 3-year retention period for the proposal, plan, or other computation and its supporting records starts at the end of the fiscal year (or other accounting period) covered by the proposal, plan, or other computation.
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 1880-0513)