Appraisal 101 – Grants

As its name implies, the Functional Schedule for North Carolina State Agencies focuses on an agency’s core functions and the records that document those functions. Finding where records are covered by the schedule requires you to ask, “Why do I have this record?”

Grant records are the exception to this general rule, because all grant records are covered by the Financial Management schedule. So irrespective of whether the grant is funding education, public relations, or whatever else, all records related to the grant can be kept together, and the disposition instructions described in section 5.3, “Grants Management,” applied. This enables all records for a grant to be filed together, making audits and reviews by the awarding organization easier.

The dispositions for Grants Administered by Agency (RC No. 532) and Grants Issued by Agency (RC No. 533) are relatively straightforward: when the agency is merely administering the grant, records will be kept for either 3, 5, or 10 years beyond the submission of the final report, depending on the funding source, although there may be other controls before destruction is approved, such as grant monies passed through DHHS being subject to audits by their Office of the Controller; when the agency has issued the grant from state appropriations or other agency funds, most of the related records have a 5-year retention past submission of the final report, deliverables, or other documentation of disbursement of funds, but the report, deliverable, or documentation itself is considered archival and should be transferred to the State Archives for preservation.

Grants Received by Agency (RC No. 535) are a little bit more complicated: the disposition will be dependent on the purpose of the grant, and some records will require appraisal.

  • Records for major grants for new initiatives or promoting the core functions of an agency are retained permanently, either at the agency or, after an appraisal, at the State Archives. A previous blog post described the “appraisal required” process.

The grant awarded to the State Archives by the Library of Congress for the Geospatial Multistate Archive and Preservation Partnership (GeoMAPP) is an example of a “major grant” as the project involved partners in multiple states working together on a new initiative for preserving geospatial data. The records for this grant  went through the appraisal process and were recommended for accessioning to the State Archives.

  • Routine state and nongovernmental grant records can be destroyed five years after submission of the final report.

A grant awarded by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program to the NC State Highway Patrol (SHP) for the “Booze It and Lose It” campaign is an example of this type of grant. In this example, the SHP could destroy records five years after submission of the final report. However, the final report prepared by the granting agency, in this instance the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, is covered by RC 533.A and would have a disposition of PERMANENT (archival).

  • Records for routine federal grants can be destroyed three years after submission of the final report, or 3 years after the final disposition of property/equipment in instances where real property and equipment are acquired with Federal funds.

A grant that the State Archives received from the National Archives National Historical Publications and Records Commission to arrange, describe, and provide online access to two collections of North Carolina’s early court records is an example of a routine Federal grant.

Please note that some grants may stipulate records be retained for a period longer than that required by the Functional Schedule, or as noted earlier, be subject to additional controls. In such instances, records must be retained for the longer time. Remember, the Functional Schedule describes the minimum period a record should be retained.

Records analysts are available to assist you with all record retention questions, including those about grant records. Their contact information is located on our website at