Internal, open access

Students' guidelines

The University collects, holds and processes personal data relating to its students. It is essential for it to do so in order to manage its operations effectively.

These activities are carried out in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, and with the University's  and Data Protection Guidelines. The data held by the University is mainly taken from the details you provide during the application and enrolment process, to which will be added data that accumulates during and after your studies at the University. This may include sensitive personal data and could include photographs.

During your time with the University, in order to deliver your teaching and learning, the University will be required to process your personal data. The University provides this fair processing notice (FPN) which informs you how your personal data will be processed and the purposes for which the data has been collected. This notice also provides information on other areas where we may process your personal data and explains how you can opt out of some aspects of the processing, where applicable.


How your personal data will be used within the University

The official purposes for which the University processes personal data are notified to the Information Commissioner, and can be viewed on the Office of the Information Commissioner's Register. To find the University's registration you can use the search form for the Register. You just need to enter the University's Registration Number, which is Z5668803.

To manage its operations effectively, provide services to you and meet certain legal requirements, the University will process and maintain your personal data. This personal data may include data such as name, address, date of birth, programme studied, fee payments, information about examinations, assessments and results.

In addition to this, the University may process some sensitive personal data about you, such as details about your health in order to provide care, and information concerning ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, domicile and disability for planning and monitoring purposes. Also, for certain programmes of study, information about past criminal convictions will be processed.

Your personal data will be used within the University to provide you with services, such as accommodation, the Library and computer facilities; and support, such as guidance tutors and study advice. Any personal data shared in these ways will not be excessive. For example, the accommodation office will need your name, address, phone number in order to process your accommodation requirements, but it does not need to see your academic results.


Sharing your personal data (third party disclosures)

The University may disclose appropriate personal data, including sensitive personal data, to third parties, where there is legitimate need or obligation, during or after your period of study. Such disclosure is subject to procedures to ensure the identity and legitimacy of such agencies. These third parties may include the following (please note that this is not an exhaustive list):


The University Medical and Dental Practices

The University provides personal data, including sensitive personal data, to the University of Reading Medical Practice (the Medical Practice). The Data Provision Agreement between the University of Reading and the University of Reading Medical Practice (PDF-208KB) governs this provision and explains the purposes for which that data may be used.

The Students' Union

Some students' personal data will be shared with Reading University Student Union (RUSU) for the provision of services. These transfers are governed by the  and your rights to opt out of this sharing are explained therein.

Local Authorities

In order to administer exemptions of properties from council tax students' personal data will be shared with Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell Forest Borough Councils; this is described on the Council Tax page of the Student Essentials Information webpages. A list of currently-enrolled students is sent to these councils once a term (three times a year). The list includes only the following information: academic year, student number, name, start and expected end date, mode of attendance, status, department and programme.

Details of students living in Halls are also passed to the local authority for the purposes of maintaining the electoral roll and administration of housing benefit. Further details are given on the Register of Electors page of the Online Student Handbook.

The Chaplaincy

Staff in the Chaplaincy will be provided with students' personal data. Chaplains work on campus by agreement with the University authorities and have no formal status within statutory, academic or disciplinary structures. They provide pastoral care and support to all members of the University whatever their beliefs or background. Further information about their work can be found on the Chaplaincy Centre website.


The University makes use of the Turnitin® UK system for the purposes of enabling assessors to check students' work for improper citation and potential plagiarism. The system creates a textual similarity review by comparing students' work against a variety of sources. Students are therefore required to provide a limited amount of personal data, for instance name, email address and course details and submissions, to Turnitin® when using the service. On request, the University may share anonymised assignments with other educational institutions in order to meet those purposes. Copyright of your submitted assignments remains with you as the student author.

The University is responsible for ensuring that the transfer and security of the data shared with Turnitin® is fully compliant with UK Data Protection legislation.

Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), HE funding councils and other government bodies

Your personal data will be provided to HE funding councils, government bodies and HESA. Further details about the data shared with HESA can be found in the HESA-Student collection notice on the HESA website.

National Student Survey

The University is required to pass data about its final year undergraduates to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), or their agents, in order for them to carry out the National Student Survey. This survey gives final year students the chance to give feedback on their experiences at the University and so informing the choices of prospective students. It is described in detail on the National Student Survey website.

The University will pass your name and contact details to the agent carrying out the survey. The agent may then contact you to take part. You do not have to take part in the survey and you can opt out at any time by contacting the agent and providing them with verification of your identity by confirming your date of birth.

Higher Education (HE) institutions

Where students are involved in exchange or placement programmes, joint or double programmes, or similar study arrangements, the University may disclose their personal data, including sensitive personal data, to the partner institution (or related organisations) for the purposes of administering the programme, assessment and any further purposes set out in the University's notification with the Information Commissioner. Students that are studying abroad as part of these arrangements should be aware that their personal information may be sent to, stored and used by overseas partner institutions (and related organisations).

Sponsors, loan organisations and scholarship schemes

Where students have a sponsor, scholarship scheme or a loan provider, the University may disclose student personal data to these organisations to determine whether support should continue. Personal data about students may be disclosed to third parties attempting to recover debt on behalf of the University where internal procedures have failed.

Parents, guardians and other relatives

Other than in the most exceptional of circumstances, the University will not to disclose a student's personal data to parents, guardians and any other relative. If students have provided a nominated contact in the event of a medical problem or emergency then some personal data may be provided. Further details can be found in the section Releasing information to parents, other relatives and third parties.

Published information

Examination results may be displayed on notice boards within the University, and any award (such as a degree) made by the University is a matter of public record rather than personal data, and as such will be publicly available and publicised at, for instance, graduation ceremonies.

Photographs of students during the course of their study may also be taken. If you do not wish your photograph to be taken, then simply absent yourself from any pictures. Group photographs taken will assume the permission of individuals pictured for use in University publications and publicity materials, and publications produced by third parties authorised by the University. Attendance at graduation ceremonies will assume the permission of the attendees and photographs and recordings taken one the day may be publicised on the University's website.

The University estate, halls and accommodation

The University shares information with third parties managing the University's estate, halls and accommodation. The section Information shared with UPP gives details of the nature and purposes of the sharing.

Employment agencies, prospective employers and third parties requesting confirmation of awards

The University will routinely require the consent of students before disclosing details of any award. However in the absence of consent it may confirm the awards it has made including the date of the award and its classification without notifying the student, although such a disclosure would be subject to a basic check on the origin of the request.

Police, crime and taxation

The University may be informed by the Police when students are convicted or cautioned, or if they receive a section 27 or fixed penalty fine.

The University may also be obliged to provide information to the Police or other organisations that have a crime prevention or law enforcement function, such as Benefit Fraud Sections within Local Authorities, about students if it is necessary for the prevention or detection of a crime or the collection of taxes.

The Little Learners Day Nursery

Some Nursery staff are provided with limited access to some student information for the purposes of billing and administration.

CCTV and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR)

The University has a comprehensive, image-only CCTV surveillance system across its campuses. Cameras located on and within buildings are monitored by trained staff from the building or School whose areas the cameras are designed to protect, and Security Control. All staff operating the CCTV system do so in compliance with the University's Data Protection Policy (PDF-100KB) and Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations Policy (PDF-114KB).

Full details of the purposes of the monitoring, access to images and staff training are given in the University's CCTV Code of Practice (PDF-134KB).

Every vehicular entrance to the Whiteknights campus has an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) camera that monitors cars entering and leaving the campus 24 hours a day. Data gathered via ANPR will be used in the review of traffic and parking on campus. It is planned to introduce ANPR to the London Road campus in due course.


How your personal data will be used after you have finished your studies

As well as maintaining student records during and after periods of study, and supplying operational services as part of providing a comprehensive student experience, the University processes personal data in connection with external relations and development. The University may also wish to send you information about products or services which may be relevant to you, and to keep you informed about University activities. If you do not wish the University to use your personal data in any of these ways, you should write to the Data Protection Officer (email ).

When you have completed your programme of study your full student record will be kept for six years on last contact, after which a core record containing five identifiers will be retained.

Some of your details will be passed to the Development and Alumni Relations office; their privacy policy explains how they will use your personal data and how you can opt out of this. You can choose whether to join our Alumni Online Community which keeps you in touch with the University and alumni from all over the world.

You may wish to use the University to provide a reference for you when you are applying to other institutions or for employment. If you provide the name of a member of staff for a reference, you should inform them of this so that they know you have given your consent for them to disclose your personal data.

Your rights

You have certain rights and responsibilities around your personal data including:

  • to be informed what personal data about you the University holds and what they are used for
  • to access this personal data
  • to update the personal data the University holds
  • to be informed how the University is complying with its obligations under the Act
  • to complain to the Data Protection Officer if you believe that the Data Protection policy has not been followed.

If you want to look at and check the accuracy of your personal data held centrally, you can call into Helpdesk in the Student Services Centre, Carrington Building, phone (0118) 378 5555 or log a call to the Helpdesk via the RISIS web portal.

If you wish to access your personal data under the provisions of the Data Protection Act, you should make a Subject Access Request.


Your responsibilities

Providing personal data to the University

Students must ensure that all personal information provided to the University is accurate and up to date. You should notify any changes of address, corrections to contact details etc. to the Helpdesk in the Student Services Centre, Carrington Building, phone (0118) 378 5555 or via the RISIS web portal.

Processing personal data

Under the Data Protection Act and the University's Data Protection Policy students have responsibilities when processing personal data. These include:

  • if you are considering processing personal data as part of your studies you must notify and seek approval from your supervisor before any processing takes place

  • if you are processing personal data other than as part of your studies you should contact the Information Commissioner to ensure that you are doing so in compliance with the Data Protection Act as you will not be covered under the University's registration.

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