Student services privacy notice

This privacy notice should be read in conjunction with the University of Plymouth student privacy notice

This privacy notice explains how student services uses and shares your personal data. This notice outlines your rights in relation to the personal data we hold. For the purpose of this notice, student services includes:

  • student wellbeing services
  • student advice (disability services, international students’ advice, and student funding)
  • the Student Hub
  • student learning services
  • student conduct.

Why do we collect your data?

Student services holds personal data and special category data of applicants and students in order to manage our processes and services. The University also has a statutory obligation to report data on its activities to the UK government and other bodies. Only information required for these purposes is obtained and processed, and without it, Student services may not be able to provide its services to you or meet its statutory obligations. Information is utilised by various sections of student services as is necessary and proportionate for our operational purposes.

What type of data do we collect?

The personal data we collect might include: 

  • personal details 
  • family and social circumstances 
  • education and training records 
  • employment information 
  • financial data 
  • immigration status.

The special category data we collect might include:

  • disability data, whether regarding physical or mental health or specific learning difficulty 
  • health data 
  • racial or ethnic origin information 
  • data about your sex life and sexual orientation 
  • data about criminal allegations, proceedings or convictions.

How do we collect your data?

It is often the case that student services obtains this information from applicants or students directly. Alternatively the data may be obtained from a third party involving the services provided by the University, e.g. UCAS, Student Finance England, Home Office, the NHS or the Police.

How do we use your data?

Student services uses personal data, including special category data, to administer your support, deliver services and meet statutory obligations including, but not limited to: 

  • providing you support to assist your academic, physical, mental, emotional and/or financial wellbeing, such as: 
  • providing support and advice via student services 
  • reasonable adjustments as required by the Equality Act 2010 in relation to your academic course, and its assessment (including examinations)
  • maintaining student records in relation to updating information such as disability information 
  • financial assessments and administration (e.g. financial hardship funds) 
  • safeguarding and promoting student welfare 
  • monitoring equality of opportunity and eliminating unlawful discrimination 
  • ensuring safety and security.

We may also use your data for other administrative purposes, such as undertaking statistical analysis, carrying out compliance audits, promotion of services, detection or prevention of crime, and dealing with grievances, disciplinary action, complaints or other enquiries.

What is the lawful basis for processing your data?

The University must have a lawful basis in order to process personal data. Student services processes your personal data: 

  • where it is necessary to perform the contract we have entered into with you, and/or
  • where it is necessary for the performance of a task in the public interest, and/or 
  • where it is necessary to comply with a legal obligation, and/or 
  • where it is necessary for our legitimate interests (or those of a third party) and your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests. 

Processing special category* data is done so with one of the following conditions being met: 

  • where we need to carry out our legal obligation 
  • where you have made the data public 
  • where it is necessary to protect your vital interests or those of another person and where you/they are physically or legally incapable of giving consent (this would be an emergency situation where your health, wellbeing or welfare was at risk) 
  • where processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims 
  • where we have your consent to do so.

*Special category data includes personal data revealing or inferring: racial or ethnic origin; political beliefs; religious or philosophical beliefs; health (including any disability information); sex life and sexual orientation.

If consent is required for any additional uses of your personal information, including your image and more sensitive personal information we will collect it at the appropriate time and explain this to you. Where the University is processing your data on the basis of your consent, you can withdraw your consent at any time. We will not use your personal information to carry out any wholly automated decision-making that affects you.

Who is your data shared with?

Student services will not generally share personal information about you or your use of our services with anyone outside of student services, this includes academic or administrative staff or external agencies without one of the conditions in this privacy notice being met (see ‘What is the lawful basis for processing your data’), subject to the following exceptions: 

  • if the University has a legal obligation, for example we may share information with the Student Loans Company, Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, Research Councils, the Home Office and potentially other such organisations for defined purposes. We may also disclose information to legal representatives, police or security agencies, suppliers or service providers engaged by the University and regulatory authorities assuming there is a legal reason to do so 
  • where other employees, partners, agents and contractors have a legitimate reason for receiving your information (e.g. departmental staff, providers of student accommodation, software providers, auditors, etc) 
  • where the University has a statutory obligation to provide information to government departments or other agencies, e.g. the Office for Students or the Higher Education Statistics Agency 
  • where your information may help in the prevention and detection of a crime, it may be shared, e.g. with the police 
  • if we have a significant concern about your welfare, we may share your information with parents, guardians, emergency contact person next of kin (as described in the student contract) or emergency services 
  • if you have consented to us doing so e.g. with your personal tutor.

 For more information see the student privacy notice.

Information for students with specific learning difficulties, disabilities and mental health difficulties.

Students with specific learning difficulties (SpLD), a mental health difficulty, a disability or long-term health condition are legally entitled to have reasonable adjustments made to facilitate their studies. The provision of such adjustments relies on students providing evidence of their health, to allow assessment of possible reasonable adjustments. 

Information about reasonable adjustments is shared with university staff outside of student services only with the student’s consent; students who do not give consent for information to be shared, e.g. with their academic department, may find that any reasonable adjustments the university could make on their behalf will be restricted.

How long do we keep your data?

Details of the time frames for the University to keep your personal data are available in the University Records Retention Schedule.

What rights do I have?

As a data subject you have a number of rights in relation to your personal data. These are all outlined on our central student privacy notice.

June 2020

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