Students Staff

Privacy notice for students

Privacy notices explain what personal information or “data” an organisation holds about you, and how that data is stored, used and kept safe. Personal data is any information, held in any form, that relates to you as an identifiable individual.

In this notice “we” means the University of Essex and “you” means students taking our courses.

We have separate privacy notices for student applicants (people applying to study with us), staff and employees, and staff applicants. We also have a notice for visitors to our website.

Who we are

The University of Essex is an exempt charity, and our registered address is Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ.

Our Data Protection Officer can be contacted at, by calling 01206 74853 or by writing to:

Data Protection Officer
University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park

  • Why we use your data – and our legal basis for doing so

    When we collect data we need both a purpose (i.e. a reason) and a legal basis. There are several legal bases allowed, and we rely on four of those when looking after your information.

    Contractual obligations

    Contract is the main reason we use for collecting and using your information. As a student you have a contract with us, and in order for that to function we need certain information about you.

    For example, we need to know what qualifications you had before you joined us, and to keep records of your academic progress as you study with us.

    Legal compliance

    As a higher education provider we have various legal obligations that we need to comply with, and we may need to collect, use, or share your personal information as part of that.

    For example, if you have an accident on campus we may need to report the details to the Health and Safety Executive. If you are an overseas student then we are obliged to collect and report information about your visa and right to student here.

    Legitimate interests

    From time to time, we may need to use your data to pursue our legitimate interests. For example, in order to provide our IT services and operate our IT network, we collect your IP address. We also hold limited personal information of our alumni.


    Consent and special category data

    Some personal data is considered to require particular care – this is known as “special category data”. We ask your consent to share some special category data with us. You do not need to declare any disability to us, or any health or sexuality issues that may affect your study, but we are unable to support you fully and to comply with our obligations under the Equality Act 2010 if you do not share this information with us.

    We use data about individual's ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and gender in order to ensure that we are supporting the specific needs of individual students and providing a fair and equal environment for all, and for reporting externally to HESA. You can read HESA's Collection Notice online which sets out information about HESA and other controllers of your data, how and why they process your data, the legal bases for this processing, and your rights under data protection legislation.

    Consent and marketing

    We also ask your consent or some types of communication with you.

    The University uses several email lists so that we can quickly and easily contact students on a range of topics. Only a few staff are allowed to send messages to these lists.

    There are two types of lists and as a registered student you are automatically a member of both of them.

    1. The first type of list is used to send vital information about to your studies, regulatory procedures, and health, safety and security issues. All students have to belong to this list type of list. This is the list we will use if we need to contact all students quickly.
    2. The second type of list is for more general information about University life and University-related activities and events. You are automatically a member of this sort of list, but you can chose to opt out.

    You can manage your list membership for the relevant lists through the University webpage.

  • What type of information we collect about you

    Your identity, including your right to study, your contact details, and those of next of kin in case of emergency.

    Your application details, whether from UCAS, an agent, or received directly from you, including your previous study and qualifications.

    Details about which course of study you are on, your level and stage of study, and your chosen modules.

    Information about your progress, including submission of work, marks etc. This also includes information about your attendance and engagement with teaching events, and teaching materials, such as library resources and Moodle, and other university resources. Some of this information is made available to some students through LEAP, our Learner Engagement Portal. This access will be rolled out more widely in future. We also collect information about any breaks you take from study (intermission), any repeated study periods, and time spent studying abroad or on placement as part of your course.

    Information about your health and wellbeing.

    Information about any complaints against you, such as academic offences or breaches of our code of student conduct complaints.

  • Where the data we hold comes from

    We collect data directly from you, or through an agent or UCAS, when you apply to study with us, and at the point of offering you a contract (Registration).

    We continue to collect data about you, such as attendance or exam marks, while you study with us.

  • Who we share your data with

    Internally, access to information about students is restricted to those who need it in order to carry out their role. This will include your personal tutor and other staff who teach you, as well as the professional services staff in your department who support activity such as exams, attendance monitoring and coursework submission.

    There are other central professional services staff who will need access to some information about you, including the timetabling office, the exams office, the library and the central progress team.

    Information held by the Proctor (relating to any breach, or alleged breach of our code of student conduct), and by our student support and wellbeing teams (relating to your health and wellbeing) will not normally be shared outside those teams other than in line with any consent you have given.

    We share data about your identity and course with the Students’ Union, so that they know you are a student and eligible for membership.

    If you are studying on a course that includes a practical professional placement then, under the terms of our Fitness to Practise procedure we may share your information with the relevant professional body.

    We may share your data when an external company provides us with a software system that holds or uses your data. Such sharing will always be carried out under contract, as part of which we will specify that your data must be kept safely, used only under our instructions, and not be used for the contracting company’s own purposes.

    We send the name, registration number and award title of students who are eligible to graduate each year to the Graduate Gowning Company to ensure that they are able to supply the correct robes for graduation.

    If you live in accommodation at one of our campuses then we will share your name, address and the fact that you are studying with use with the relevant local council, to ensure that you receive the Council Tax rebate to which you are entitled.

    If you are based on our Colchester Campus then we give your contact details to the Health Centre at the start of each academic year so that they can check that their records are accurate and up to date. You do not have to register with the Health Centre. If you have not registered with them then when we send your contact details they will simply destroy them.

    We will collect from you the contact details of a person nominated by you for us to contact in case of emergency. We may also pass those contact details to the emergency services. With your consent, we will also contact that person if we have concerns for your wellbeing, particularly if we have good reason to believe that you are at risk.

    We will share some of your information if we are asked for a reference from a prospective employer.

    We share data with HESA. You can read HESA's Collection Notice online.

    We may share some information if required to do so by the police or other law enforcement authorities, including the Home Office.

    If you have a financial sponsor then, if asked, we may tell them some limited information about you, such as confirming that you are still registered with us. If possible we will ask your permission first. If you have signed an agreement with your sponsor that they can see information about you then we will follow that agreement.

    We do not share information about you with your parents, friend and family unless you have given us consent to do so.

    We collect data directly from you, or through an agent or UCAS, when you apply to study with us, and at the point of offering you a contract (Registration).

    We continue to collect data about you, such as attendance or exam marks, while you study with us.

  • Where we keep your data, and how long we keep it for

    We do not generally transfer your data outside of the UK. Data is retained primarily within our own student record and student file systems, but may be held elsewhere on our network, including within the email system, and on paper within our faculties and departments.

    We have retention schedules that set out how long we keep information of all types, including personal data of students.

  • Your personal data and your rights

    The law gives you a right to:

    • ask us to provide you with copies of information we hold about you
    • have your data be corrected if it is inaccurate, out of date or incomplete
    • have your personal data deleted, in some circumstances
    • withdraw any consent you have given us to use your data
    • lodge a complaint with the Office of the Information Commissioner

    You can see some of the data we keep about you, including some of your special category data, through MyEssex.

    If you wish to exercise any of your rights, please speak to your departmental office, personal tutor, or the student services hub in the first instance.

    If you have questions about your rights, please contact the Data Protection Officer at This is also the contact for any complaints you may have about the way we use your personal data. You do have a right to complain to the Office of the Information Commissioner, but do please talk to us first as it is often the fastest way to fix things for you.

    May 2018