Applicant privacy policy

This privacy notice explains how we use your data in relation to your application

The University of Plymouth is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office Z7546246 and is responsible for the use of the personal data provided to it. You may provide us with information directly but we may also receive it from third parties including but not exclusive to:
  • Cappex
  • Common App
  • GBGroup
  • Hotcourses
  • International agents
  • Prospects
  • ThinkPostgrad
  • UCAS
  • Your attendance at Higher Education fairs
This privacy notice explains how we use your data in relation to your application.

What personal data will be processed?

When you apply to the University of Plymouth, you will be required to provide personal details as well as information about your academic qualifications. You may have submitted this information to a third party such as UCAS who have passed it to the University on your instruction or provided the information yourself. The information is required in order for the University to consider and administer your application to study at the University.
The University seeks to respond in an appropriate, timely, and effective way when dealing with your application and uses a customer relationship management (CRM) system to support this service.
Details we may ask you to provide include:
  • personal details, including but not exclusive to;
  • your name
  • contact details
  • age and date of birth
  • gender
  • nationality
  • country of birth
  • whether you are a care leaver
  • information about your course
  • funding arrangements (for example, your sponsor)
  • immigration and visa information (if you are an international student)
  • your qualifications (awarded or anticipated)
  • information about your previous education and work experience.
We may also require supporting documentation which is provided by you or a third party (such as information from referees, from qualification awarding bodies or results which UCAS provides to us) during the application process.
The Faculty within the University which runs your course will also keep records about your application, including:
  • details of your engagement with and the outcomes of any selection procedures (including interviews, selection tests, and, where relevant, fitness to practice and/or health declarations or other suitability assessments)
  • your interactions with admissions tutors
  • attendance at offer holder days
  • eligibility for scholarships and prizes
  • general correspondence and administration in relation to your application.
In addition to this, the University may need to process some data about you that is classed as ‘special category’ or sensitive personal data. This data includes data about your ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or health/disability data. We use this data to offer you relevant support or reasonable adjustments and for statistical, research and monitoring purposes. Access to, and the sharing of, your special category personal data are controlled very carefully.
For us to assess your suitability to work with patients, children or other vulnerable people and your fitness to practise for entry into some regulated professions, it is necessary to process other special category data, such as data about your health or disability.
Criminal convictions: The University may hold and process data about criminal offences or convictions if you have disclosed this on your application or if it is appropriate given the nature of your programme (for example, if a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is needed for your programme). We will use information about criminal convictions and offences in the following ways:
  • To consider your suitability to become a member of the University or to continue to be a member of the University or to decide if any support or measures need to be put in place;
  • To comply with regulatory requirements to decide your suitability to study on a regulated programme or to practise in a regulated profession;
  • Consideration of safeguarding issues.
We will only use information relating to criminal convictions where the law allows us to do so and in line with our Data Protection Policy. Personal data relating to criminal convictions will be retained confidentially and securely and access to that data will be strictly controlled.

How we use your data

The University seeks to respond in an appropriate, timely, and effective way when dealing with applications and uses a customer relationship management (CRM) system to support this service.
The information you provide will be used to consider the suitability of your application for the programme to which you have applied or, if we cannot make an offer of admission for that programme, for any other programme for which your application is relevant.
We will also process your data for the following purposes:
  • To enable you to take part in events for applicants (for example, offer holder days, interviews or other selection events);
  • To consider your application for accommodation;
  • To communicate effectively with you by post, email, phone or other electronic media;
  • To provide you with information about the programme and accommodation for which you have applied;
  • To provide you with information relating Plymouth and the local area, and the University (including its facilities and services) to help you make an informed decision as to whether accept your place;
  • To notify you of our decision on your application;
  • To allocate accommodation;
  • To compile statistics and conduct research for statutory reporting purposes;
  • To comply with any relevant statutory obligations.
We will also process your data to fulfil and monitor our legal responsibilities, for example, under access and participation, equalities, immigration and public safety legislation. In addition, we will compile statistics and conduct research in relation to enquirers, applicants and students for the purpose of access and participation, planning, reviewing, managing and developing the University’s business, (but not to make any decisions about you).
We may also ask you to provide contact details for your intermediary contact (for example a parent /guardian or spouse) if we need to make contact in an emergency or if you are unavailable. We will ask you to consent to us sharing information with them. We will also ask them for consent to send them additional information they may find useful.
If you have disclosed on your application that you have a disability, our Student Support team will contact you to let you know how you can access the Learning Support, Disability and Mental Health services. You will be provided with further details about how your data will be used for this purpose at the relevant time.
We sometimes use ‘profiling’ software to help us make sure the information we send you is appropriate for you, but we do not use ‘profiling’ software to make any automated decisions about your application to the University.

What is the legal basis of the processing?

We process your data to ensure we take all relevant and necessary steps to determine whether to make an offer to study at the University. This includes any conditions or terms of that offer.
Once you have applied to study at the University we have a legitimate interest to tell you about the University, its courses and other information you will need to make an informed decision about whether to attend the University. You can opt out of further communications from us at any time but by doing so you may miss out on key information about your course and student life at the University.
If you choose not to receive this information, we will only correspond with you to keep you updated about the progress of your application and to request any further information required to process your application. Including but not exclusive to:
  • interview notifications
  • criminal conviction checks
  • occupation Health checks
  • DBS checks
  • support services (such as Disability Inclusion Services)
  • student funding
  • accommodation opening for applications.
We have a legal requirement to report back to the government based on a legitimate interest and public task to widen participation for underrepresented groups in higher education (for example, equal opportunities monitoring) or regulatory obligation (for example, reporting to Government or governmental bodies).
We carry out some tasks in the public interest (for example, teaching and research, statistical purposes). 
If we require your consent for any specific use of your personal data, it will be collected at the appropriate time by us or another relevant organisation (for example, UCAS), explaining why we are collecting the data and how we will use it, and you can withdraw your consent at any time.

Who will your personal data be shared with?

Within the University, your data is shared with only those University staff who need access for the processing purposes set out above.
We may also need to share your data with:
  • relevant government departments (for example, the Home Office or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office);
  • relevant executive agencies or non-departmental public bodies (for example, UK Visas and Immigration);
  • Plymouth University International College who we are in partnership with to ensure applicants are offered the relevant level of programme.
  • Ecctis for verification purposes
  • an overseas representative formally recognised by the University through whom you have submitted your application or who is supporting your application. This may include an agent or prospective sponsor who has submitted an application on your behalf;
  • relevant higher education bodies (for example, the Office for Students, UK Research and Innovation, Universities and Colleges Admissions Service);
  • any relevant professional or statutory regulatory bodies (for example, General Medical Council); we will tell you in what circumstances we share information with these organisations;
  • occasionally and when necessary, the police and other law enforcement agencies, for the prevention or detection of crime;
  • occasionally and when necessary internal and external auditors or regulators.
Your personal data is shared as is necessary, on a considered and confidential basis, with several external organisations which assist the University with handling student applications and with sending you information about studying here. These organisations act on our behalf in accordance with our instructions and do not process your data for any purpose over and above what we have asked them to do. These include:
  • mailing houses
  • external research agencies
  • external media agencies to send you targeted messaging via social media. If you do not wish to receive these, you can amend your settings or preferences on the relevant social media platform.
We always have appropriate contracts in place before sharing your data with any other data controllers or contractors.
We may also share your personal information with third parties for the same purposes as listed above, and also for storage. These include; your school/college, partner(s) with whom we may have collaborated to organise and/or evaluate events, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the Department for Education, the Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT), any third parties managing HEAT’s database, and HEAT service subscribers and approved researchers. Please note that only certain events/initiatives involve sharing your personal information with HEAT and related parties.
We use Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT) and Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) to manage our data. They each have their own privacy notices that you can refer to.  Your data will be retained on these platforms to track and monitor so as to enable statistical aggregation and analysis.  Applicant data will be shared between HEAT and HESA (the Designated Data Body for England under the Higher Education Research Act 2017) and their respective policies can be seen here.
Privacy notice for HEAT
Privacy notice for HESA
Sometimes your personal data is processed by these organisations outside the European Economic Area (e.g. because they use a cloud-based system with servers based outside the EEA), and if so, appropriate safeguards are in place to ensure the confidentiality and security of your personal data.
We do not share your data with external organisations for marketing their products or services. We do not sell your personal data to third parties under any circumstances or permit third parties to sell on the data we have shared with them.

How long is your data kept?

Your personal details will be held within a secure database for up to six years after you graduate if your application is successful, or for one year after your application year if your application is unsuccessful in line with our Records Retention Schedule. If we process someone’s data on HEAT then for individuals we first work with under the age of 21 years old, it will be kept until they are 30 years old and for those over 21, information will be kept for 10 years. If they enter university within this time, the data will be kept for 15 years after graduation.

Your rights in relation to your data

If you no longer wish to receive information about studying with the University of Plymouth you may opt out at any time. We will still continue to send you transactional information about your application unless you decline your place with us or cancel your application.
To opt-out or change how you would like to hear from us you can write to us or email us using the following contact details
Mailing address: Student Recruitment and Admissions University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA
You will also be able to update how you hear from us via an online preference centre. You will find a link to your online preference centre in every email communication we send to you.
You have the following rights in relation to your personal data:
  • The right to request your personal data is rectified if inaccurate.
  • The right to request erasure of your personal data.
  • The right to request that the processing of your personal data is restricted.
  • The right of portability in relation to your personal data.
  • The right to withdraw your details and if you wish to do this, all your personal information will be destroyed, unless it has already been used within reports.
  • The right to object to the processing of your personal data.
  • The right to object to processing which involves automated decision making or profiling.
For enquiries about Subject Access Requests or if you have a Data Protection query or complaint, please email You also have the right to lodge a complaint about the processing of your personal data with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
This document is effective from 25 May 2018. It is reviewed when necessary and updated on this page.
This document was last reviewed August 2023.

Applicant privacy policy PDF