Frequently Asked Questions

Who can file an Access to Public Records Act (“APRA”) request?

Anyone is free to file an APRA request.

Are requesters required to identify themselves or the reason(s) for their requests?

No. Public bodies may ask for this information as their regular course of business, but requesters are not required to provide identification or the reasons they seek the information, and the right to access public records will not depend upon providing identification or reasons.

What fees can a public body charge when responding to an APRA request?

Public bodies may charge up to $0.15 per page for copies on business or legal-size paper, for any fee associated with retrieving records from storage, and for the actual cost of delivery (if any). Public bodies may also charge a reasonable fee for the search or retrieval of documents, up to $15.00 per hour with the first hour free.

When is an APRA request considered “received”?

Requests submitted through this webpage are considered received on the date submitted if submitted during the regular business hours of the University (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), excluding holidays. Any requests made after business hours are considered received on the next business day.

Can a public body ask a requester for clarification concerning a request?

Yes. Public bodies may request clarification concerning which public record(s) are being requested.

How quickly must a public body provide access to, or copies of, public records?

APRA allows public bodies 10 business days from the receipt of a request to provide copies, or allow the inspection, of the requested public records. However, a public body may have up to an additional 20 business days for good cause particularized to the specific request made and upon written explanation to the requester of the need for additional time.

Is a public body required to answer questions under APRA?

No. APRA does not require public bodies to answer questions, render opinions, or provide subjective evaluations. Public records requests must be for existing, identifiable records.

Can a public body be required to create new records to respond to an APRA request?

No. APRA does not require public bodies to reorganize, consolidate, or compile data not maintained in the form requested at the time of the request.

When may a public body refuse to release the requested records?

APRA includes 27 specifically enumerated exemptions that carve certain types of records out of the definition of a public record, including any categories of records protected by other federal and state laws. In assessing whether an exemption applies, the public body must conduct an individualized assessment of each record, and any “reasonably segregable portion” of a record must still be made available.

How can a requester challenge URI’s response to or denial of an APRA request?

If a requester disagrees with a determination made by a URI office responsible for responding to APRA requests, the requester may petition the president of the University for a review of the determination. Requesters may also appeal to the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General or the Rhode Island Superior Court for the county in which the records are maintained.