Data Protection

All staff will ensure that data use, retention and storage comply fully with the Data Protection Act 1998. The University’s Office of the University Secretary will make staff aware of their responsibilities in relation to data protection regulations.  The information will also be used to make statutory returns to bodies such as the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The HESA Student Collection Notice provides information to students about what happens to their data when it is sent to HESA.  This information is available online at www.hesa.ac.uk/fpn

1. Introduction

Personal data is processed under the Data Protection Act 1998 which requires the University to ensure that personal data is:

  • processed fairly and lawfully and only if certain conditions are met;
  • obtained only for specified and lawful purposes;
  • adequate, relevant and not excessive;
  • accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date;
  • kept no longer than necessary;
  • processed in accordance with the rights of the individual;
  • kept secure;
  • only transferred outside of the EEA where adequate protection exists.

The University processes data about you for various teaching, research and administrative purposes.

It is a condition of enrolment that you agree to provide the information requested by the University and to the processing of that information.

Examples of how your data is used are as follows:

  • supporting registration and enrolment, recording assessment results, academic progress and awards, and organising graduations;
  • providing student support services, for example in relation to disability, health, counselling;
  • providing facilities such as IT and Library services;
  • setting and payment of fees;
  • administering tenancies of University controlled properties;
  • monitoring equal opportunities and providing management statistics;
  • holding student photographs to assist staff in identifying and recognising students and to produce ID cards;
  • maintaining contact with alumni;
  • fundraising and marketing;
  • processing student academic appeals and student discipline cases.

Personal data is normally collected during admissions, updated by you during enrolment and added to by staff during the academic year.

After graduation some data is passed to the Alumni Office for approved purposes and records are retained or disposed of in line with the University’s Records Retention and Disposal Schedule.

You have access through the Portal to Student Self-Service where you can view some of the data held on you. You have a responsibility to check the accuracy of the data and to inform the University immediately of any errors or omissions.

2. Health Information

Information on your health may be required prior to admission to certain programmes of study and also as supporting evidence where you have been prevented from submitting coursework or taking examinations.

3. Published Data

The details of your academic award and its classification are regarded as public information (but not information on those that have failed).

Names of students who have successfully completed their course are published on the University’s website, in the graduation booklet and in the press; they are also forwarded to your former school.

4. Prevention or Detection of a Criminal Offence

The University is required to release information to the police, the Social Security Agency or other relevant agencies for the purposes of prevention or detection of a criminal offence, or if required by a court in relation to civil proceedings.

5. Placements and Study Abroad

If your course requires study, employment or a placement at another organisation it will be necessary for the University to transfer personal data to the other university or employer, whether this is within the UK or abroad.

6. Partner Institutions

If you are a student of a Partner Institution, the University holds data on you if you are taking a course leading to an award of the University.

The data is held to record your academic progress and to provide you with an award certificate and transcript on completion of your course.

The data is not transferred to any other individuals or organisations other than the institution at which you are registered.

7. Photographs

You will be photographed at enrolment to provide a digital image to be printed on your University ID card which is used for the purpose of identification and, if necessary, to prevent or detect fraud.

The photograph may also be displayed on School notice boards or on Faculty intranets within the University and displayed in your record within Faculty Self-Service where it can be viewed by members of University staff (intranets and Self-Service are password protected).

You may also be required to provide photographs that can be attached to paper student files stored securely in School and/or Faculty offices.

The University may also commission photography on campus or at specific events, such as award ceremonies, for use in published promotional material.

8. Computer Use

The University routinely logs information about use of IT facilities for statistical purposes and to ensure effective systems operation.

The University may also monitor electronic communications to ensure that they are being used in accordance with the University’s Acceptable Use Code of Practice.

9. Criminal Convictions and Criminal Records Checks

The University asks you to disclose information about serious past criminal convictions that are not spent prior to offering a place on its programmes.

The University also undertakes mandatory criminal records checks if you are accepted to a course which involves work with children or vulnerable adults.

If subsequently you obtain a criminal conviction, you are required to disclose this to the University.

10. Ulster University Students’ Union

The University will pass student data to the Students’ Union to enable it to provide services to students, including lists of students for use during elections to posts within the Union.

11. Disclosures to Third Parties

The University has a statutory obligation to disclose your personal data to government departments, to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the Student Loans Company and Education and Library Boards/Local Authorities.

The University will pass your contact details to the organisation contracted to carry out the National Student Survey.

The information provided to HESA is used for statistical purposes and no information will be published that would enable you to be identified personally.

The University will send information from the Destination of Leavers in Higher Education (DLHE) form to HESA. HESA may pass student data to other government departments or statutory bodies that need the data to carry out their functions connected with higher education.

If you have any concerns about the use of your information, you can contact HESA directly:
Telephone: 01242 255577;
Web: Higher education statistics agency

The University may need to disclose your personal data to organisations contracted to work on its behalf such as auditors or consultants.

Your data is also, for example, passed to GradIreland Connect which hosts a database that enables you to access the range of services provided by the University’s Career Development Centre.

In no circumstances will contracted organisations pass on such data to other organisations or individuals.

In certain circumstances the University passes the personal data of student debtors to an external debt collection agency if the University has been unable to recover the debt using its internal processes.

12. Students on Courses Leading to Professional Recognition

The University will pass your data to professional bodies to enable you to be registered with such bodies in order to take up employment within the profession.

For example, data on those taking teacher training courses is passed to the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland as there is a statutory requirement for students completing teacher training courses to be registered with the Council prior to being able to take up a teaching post.

Similarly the University passes data of students on nursing courses to the Nursing and Midwifery Council to enable such students to be registered in order to practice as nurses.

13. Access to Data Held

You may request access to the data that the University holds on you and information about the purposes of processing and the sources, recipients and potential recipients of the data.

Anyone wishing to exercise this right is required to complete a Subject Access Request form which is available upon request to the Office of the University Secretary, Ulster University, Cromore Road, Coleraine BT52 1SA.

The charge for this service is £10.00. References given to the University, and the identity of the referee, will not be disclosed without the consent of the referee.

14. Photography and video at Ulster University

Ulster University occasionally takes photographs and videos of students at events and in various university settings to capture and showcase student life, as well as the wider Ulster experience.

These images and video clips can be shared both internally and externally, across a range of channels and media including the university website, prospectuses, course materials and other marketing materials.

We aim to inform all students involved in photography or filming and obtain the appropriate consents, where possible and practical to do so.

Where this is not feasible, for example at large gatherings and events, or unless you have explicitly requested otherwise, we will assume that you have given your permission to be involved in image or video capture and for its subsequent use in any print or online promotional materials.