Why we collect data about you

When you apply for your course or enrol, you will notice that we ask you a lot of  questions that may not obviously relate to your studies.  There are a number of reasons why we do this.


The university will support you to study in an environment that is free from unlawful discrimination and promotes equality of opportunity. To ensure we provide appropriate support and to make sure we are being fair and representative, we have to know some information about you.  Data helps us get our services right to meet your individual needs.

In addition to this, every college and university has to collect specific data to send to a national statistics agency that publicises how we are performing and who our student community is.  This helps people to decide where to study and helps us to identify where we are good at something and where we need to improve.  University student data is returned to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and information on how they use your data can be found on their site.

The questions we ask that are about your personal beliefs or life are those covered under the Equality Act.  These are sometimes referred to as ‘protected characteristics’.   If you would like to learn more about these, you can view information on the Equality and Human Rights Commission webpage.

All data is in a secure location and is never attributed to an individual; it is all numbers, but important ones to make sure your needs are being catered for.  How we store and use this information is strictly controlled by law.

The University of the Highlands and Islands has educational and business requirements to maintain certain personal data about living individuals including employees, students and graduates and others in pursuit of its legitimate activities as a university. The University recognises that the correct and lawful treatment of personal data maintains confidence in the organisation and provides for successful operations and the University is committed to a policy of protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals with respect to the processing of their personal data. The University is registered with the Information Commissioners Office. Our registration number is: Z7137095. 

The University of the Highlands & Islands (UHI), and/or one of the UHI academic partners routinely process information held on students in order to provide educational services. Personal data is also disclosed to third parties with a legitimate interest in an official capacity. This includes bodies funding your studies.  This information is used and stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the General Data Protection Regulation. Students are informed of this processing on their enrolment form.  However, see below some additional circumstances where UHI would like to process your data (as specified in each category).

Your personal data will only be used for the following services if you agree to this on your consent form.


Periodically, throughout your period of study, UHI or its academic partners may send you information about other educational programmes, products or services that may be of interest to you.  Your contact details are held within the university student records system and is in accordance with the university data retention policy.

Photographic Image

Your photographic image will be recorded and used for identification purposes and for providing you with a student ID badge.  Your image will be stored against your electronic student record in the university student records system, and may also be linked to your email account and your electronic college timetable.  Your personal image may be retained for up to two years after completion or withdrawal from studies. 

Out of Hours Password Support

UHI has a data processing agreement in place with an approved external provider, details of the provider are contained within the Service catalogue at www.uhi.ac.uk/lis. This agreement allows the company to provide out of hours support to current UHI students.  For security reasons, when you contact the out of hours support for a password reset, the service will need to verify your identity using certain data fields. This data is securely held as part of your UHI student record and will only be used for verification when you contact the service and require a password reset. Further information can be found at http://www.uhi.ac.uk/servicedesk  The only data fields that the service can view for verification are: student ID, name, next of kin, next of kin relationship, post code, course enrolled on and date of birth. This data is held within the university student records system and is held in accordance with the university data retention policy.

Volunteering to take part in research

Many of our courses require that students conduct research projects. University staff also conduct research projects. These can range from short surveys to in-depth interviews. This research would not be possible without volunteers. Consent is optional, you are not required to volunteer; even if you do decide to volunteer, you do not have to participate in any research. All research projects will have ethical clearance. If you’d like to know more about the university’s ethical framework see the Ethics site.  Students and staff will not be able to contact you directly, requests will be sent to you by authorised university staff who will treat your information in strict confidence. The researcher will send you details of the research project and you decide if you want to contact the student of member of staff to volunteer.

How long we keep your data for

The University will only retain data for as long as it is required by the University to provide its services, or by EU or UK legislation. A summary of the student records retention schedule can be viewed here.

How to request your data

Under the Data Protection Act individuals have a right to know what data is held about them and access that data. You can find more information about this here. If you’d like to make a request for your data, you can do this using this form.

So, in providing us with the information about you, it helps us to make things better, tells us where to direct our services and if there are certain people who are not making the most of their time with us. It helps us make sure that you have the best possible experience as a UHI student. We cannot change things without your help.

If you have any queries about the information we hold about you please contact sro@uhi.ac.uk or push the Red Button.