Data Collection Notice - Use of Students' Personal Information

Newcastle University needs to collect and retain certain types of data, in various formats, about its current and past students in order that it can fulfil its functions as an education provider. In complying with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) this statement describes:

  • the purposes for which the information is collected
  • the University’s obligations in processing this data
  • the rights afforded to students under the DPA

Types of information the University may collect

The University may collect:

  • personal data (as defined in the DPA) which includes, for example, names, addresses and other contact details, age, gender and photographic images, academic details, information relating to family, lifestyle and social circumstances, education and training details, employment details, financial details and other information

  • sensitive personal data (which is a particular category of Personal Data which is specifically defined in the DPA) and includes: physical or mental health or condition, racial or ethnic origin,  religious or other beliefs of a similar nature and criminal offences

  • other information which does not comprise of Personal Data about you

This notice relates to the Personal Data and Sensitive Personal Data the University processes about you - these are collectively referred to below as 'Personal Information'.

Purposes for which the University may use information about students

Personal Information held by the University will or may be used for purposes associated with:

  • maintenance of student records (including both personal and academic details) and management of academic progress (eg assessment, examination boards, degree classifications)
  • provision of advice and support to students through the Student Progress Service, Student Wellbeing, Careers Service, personal tutors, etc
  • academic audit and internal research, including monitoring quality and performance
  • management of University residences and non-academic activities
  • institutional directories
  • membership of the Students' Union
  • equal opportunity monitoring
  • production of returns required by government agencies (in particular the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA))
  • alumni operations - When you graduate, the University Advancement Office will use your details to send you news and information about its academic and alumni activities, and to offer opportunities for you to be involved with the University and support its work in a variety of ways, for example attending events, giving, advocacy, volunteering etc. We do not pass control of your data to third parties. Some of what we do is classified as direct marketing (e.g. e-newsletters, fundraising, invitations to some events etc.). You can tailor your communications preferences and opt out of receiving communications at any time by contacting the Advancement Office.

This is a summary rather than an exhaustive list. For a comprehensive list of the purposes for which the University uses Personal Information, see our entry in the Information Commissioner’s register of data controllers or contact our data protection officer.

Obtaining Personal Information about students from other sources

Both the University and the Government (including their respective agents) may check the accuracy of the personal information that you provide. This may include checking as to whether you have been reported on earlier HESA returns, or the individualised learning record (ILR) returns of other institutions. It may also include contacting other institutions to seek confirmation and verification of any qualifications obtained.

Third parties to which the University may transfer your personal information

The University allows employees of the University, and the Students' Union, access to Personal Information where it is necessary for the normal discharge of its operation. Student information may also be disclosed to the following third parties or their agents:

  • students’ sponsors (eg Local Education Authorities, Student Loan Company, funding councils, and embassies). Information related to academic performance and progress will be shared with Sponsors. In addition, for international sponsored students this will include matters concerning attendance and discipline.
  • Relevant government departments to whom the University has a statutory obligation to release information, eg the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), HESA , Council Tax officers, Immigration Authorities
  • Newcastle University Students' Union
  • Local authorities to confirm eligibility for council tax exemptions
  • Local Electoral Registration Officers to assist with the maintenance of a complete and accurate electoral register
  • Any service providers the University may use to help us with the administration or practical day to day running of the University
  • National Student Survey undertaken by HEFCE - for the purposes of this survey your contact details may be released to HEFCE so that their appointed agent may contact you directly to take part in the survey
  • If your education at the University involves you working with children or vulnerable adults then the University may transfer your Personal Information to relevant external bodies such as the Disclosure and Barring Service, to discharge its statutory responsibilities to enable routine vetting to be carried out. Sharing of Personal Information in such circumstances will be kept to a minimum and where this would include the sharing of your Sensitive Personal Data, the University would only do so having asked for and obtained your consent in advance. If you do not wish your Personal Information to be transferred in this way then you may be unable to proceed with your chosen course of study.
  • If your education at the University involves an exchange programme with another institution, your course is either run in collaboration with another institution or organisation or involves work experience or similar, it will be necessary for us to share some of your Personal Information with another institution in order to allow you to be considered for or to participate in the study or work experience programme. Sharing of Personal Information in such circumstances will be kept to a minimum and where this would include the sharing of your Sensitive Personal Data, the University would only do so having asked for and obtained your consent in advance, unless we are required or permitted by law to share your Sensitive Personal Data without your consent. Please see the "Studying Abroad" section below for further information.
  • If either during the admissions procedure or at any point during your studies at the University, you give information to the University concerning a disability which you believe you have, you will be asked to give your explicit consent to the passing of such information to the appropriate employees within the University who require it in order to ensure appropriate arrangements for teaching, examinations and domestic facilities are made for you. Sharing of Personal Information in such circumstances will be kept to a minimum however if you do not consent to such use the University may not be able to provide you with the degree of assistance that it would be able to if you were to consent to such use.

Disclosures to organisations not listed above will be made only where there is legitimate reason.

Studying Abroad

The University offers its students certain options to study abroad.

If you choose one of these options, we will need to share some of your Personal Information with the overseas institution so that you can be considered for, and participate in, your chosen study option. More specifically, we need to share your Personal Information so we can set up or carry out two separate contracts relating to the study option. First, the contract between you and the University for the provision of education services. Secondly, the contract between the University and the overseas institution for your chosen study option, which is in your interests since it will allow you to study abroad.

We will ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place so that your Personal Information is securely transferred to the overseas institution.

The overseas institution will also share your Personal Data with us, which in some cases will include your Sensitive Personal Data. We will handle any Personal Data that we receive from the overseas institution in accordance with the DPA.

Where the overseas institution is in a country that is outside the European Economic Area (i.e. it is neither in an EU member state, nor in Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein), the local laws protecting the Personal Information that we share may be weaker than those in the UK or even non-existent.

Unfortunately, we cannot advise you on the data protection laws that apply to overseas institutions.

However you can find out which countries have data protection laws that are considered to provide equivalent protection to ours on the European Commission's website.

For all other countries, we encourage you to conduct your own research into the country's data protection or privacy laws and to review any privacy policy of the particular overseas institution before you decide to apply to study there. There is no single, official UK or European site with all this information, however there is a range of publicly available information online that can be found relatively easily and quickly. Please note that the absence of an adequacy decision and/or appropriate local privacy safeguards may increase the risk to any Personal Information of yours that we transfer to the overseas institution.

Please bear that data protection risk in mind when deciding whether or not to participate in the study option.

If you do not consent to us transferring your Personal Information to a particular overseas institution, please do not choose the corresponding study option.

The University as data controller

The University has notified its processing of personal information to the Information Commissioner and is registered to collect and retain Personal Information, as described in this notice. The University’s notification document is a public document and can be found on the Information Commissioner’s web site.

The University undertakes to maintain student data in secure conditions and to process and disclose data only in accordance with the terms of the DPA.

Students are reminded that they have a responsibility to ensure that Personal Information provided to the University is accurate and up to date. Under the DPA you have a right to a copy of the current personal information held on you by the University - see How to Access your Personal Data.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Data Protection law in the UK and the EU is changing, and the new GDPR will apply from 25 May 2018. Elements of this page may change after that date to reflect the new law.

HESA - Student Collection Notice

The University is required to send some of the data it holds about you to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). For more information on the data that is shared with HESA, and what they will use it for, see the Collection Notices on HESA's website.