Dear Sher,

How long do we need to keep our self-help program files after we’ve completed a building group? And can we keep them electronically?

Keep or Toss

Dear Keep or Toss,

I found language on file retention in 1944-I, in the actual Grant Agreement. Grantees need to keep their self-help records for at least three years after the grant closes, but if you have other funding sources, keep in mind their requirements may be different (especially if they are related to other funding sources given directly to the participant). As far as keeping them electronically, I don’t see why not. I looked through the handbook and CFR and don’t see anything specific about how they keep records. I did find a 2018 PN to the national, state and local offices on “Management of Rural Development Records” and it does specifically state that records that are “maintained in paper and electronic formats” need to be properly stored. I’d say that means it doesn’t matter how they are kept.

Here’s the language in 1944-I:

RD Instruction 1944-I
Exhibit A

Terms of agreement:

(h) As requested and in the manner specified by Rural Development, the grantee must make quarterly reports, Exhibit C of this subpart (on 1/15, 4/15, 7/15 and 10/15 of each year), and a financial status report at the end of the grant period, and permit on-site inspections of program progress by Rural Development representatives. Rural Development may require progress reports more frequently if it deems necessary. Grantee must also comply with the audit requirements found in ½1944.422 of Subpart I of 7 CFR Part 1944, if applicable. Grantee will maintain records and accounts, including property, personnel and financial records, to assure a proper accounting of all grant funds. These records will be made available to Rural Development for auditing purposes and will be retained by grantee for three years after the termination or completion of this grant.


Dear Sher


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