UCAS privacy policy

Updated 19 September 2016

How we may use your personal information 

At UCAS, we are committed to protecting your personal information and being clear about what information we collect from you and how we use it. Our privacy policy applies to the personal information we collect if you visit our website or use our services. This could mean applying to university or college, or just browsing our website.

To make this policy clear and easier to use, you can select and view the relevant sections below to see how we use your personal information, depending on the services we are providing to you. If we make any changes to this policy, we will let you know by revising the updated date, placing an alert on the homepage of the website, or corresponding with you directly.

If you are under the age of 13, you are welcome to browse this website, but you should not provide us with personal information. This is because the services we provide are directed at learners aged 13 and over.

  • Who we are and how to contact us

    UCAS stands for the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service – we manage applications to higher and further education in the UK.

    All personal information provided by you through this website is under the control of UCAS and UCAS Media, who are responsible for taking care of your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). This policy may refer to either organisation as ‘UCAS’, ‘our’, ‘us’ or ‘we’. The registered office for both organisations is Rosehill, New Barn Lane, Cheltenham, Glos, GL52 3LZ.

    How to contact us

    You can contact us in any of the following ways. Please note, your call may be recorded for training and quality purposes.

    By phone From the UK From outside the UK
    UCAS Progress 0371 468 2 568 +44 371 468 2 568 
    UCAS Undergraduate 0371 468 0 468 +44 330 3330 230
    UCAS Conservatoires 0371 468 0 470 +44 330 3330 232
    UCAS Postgraduate (UKPASS) 0371 334 4 447 +44 330 3330 235
    UCAS Teacher Training  0371 468 0 469 +44 330 3330 231

    By social media (please read our  Social media etiquette guidance)

    In writing

    UCAS, Rosehill, New Barn Lane, Cheltenham, Glos. GL52 3LZ

  • Terms in this policy explained

    Below are explanations of some of the privacy and other terms you may read in this policy. Further details of UCAS terms can be found by visiting the UCAS terms explained page.

    • Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) legislation that governs the use of personal information.
    • Personal information is information, alone or combined with other information, which may identify you. We do not consider personal information to include information that has been anonymised, so it does not allow you to be identified.
    • Sensitive personal information is personal information considered 'sensitive personal information', as defined by the DPA. This includes: racial or ethnic origin, religious beliefs or beliefs of a similar nature, trade union membership, physical or mental health condition, sexual life, criminal offences or proceedings.
    • UCAS is the abbreviation for the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.
    • Application may refer to your completed and submitted application under any of the following sections listed on the homepage of ucas.com: Undergraduate, Postgraduate, Teacher Training, Conservatoires and 16-18 Choices. These categories may be referred to in this policy as ‘admissions schemes’.
    • Applicant means someone using UCAS’ services to access further or higher education or to seek advice
    • Provider may refer to either your current school, college or training provider, or the university, college, conservatoire or training provider you have applied to.
    • Awarding bodies are those examination boards in the United Kingdom responsible for setting and awarding secondary education level qualifications, such as GCSEs, Standard Grades, A levels, Scottish Highers and vocational qualifications, to students in the United Kingdom. 
    • Awarding bodies for any international applicants are those equivalent organisations in their relevant country, who are authorised to act in the same capacity.
    • Further education (FE) refers to post-GCSE or pre-university education in the UK.
    • Higher education (HE) refers to undergraduate courses taken when you’ve finished further education, or postgraduate courses you can move on to after graduating from an undergraduate degree.
    • Declaration is the information we ask you to read and provide your consent to when you complete and submit an application for your chosen scheme. You can find a copy of the declaration relevant to each higher education application scheme on our website.
    • Referee is someone who may provide a reference for you, if you apply to further or higher education.
    • Nominated representative is the person you name when you apply if you are happy for us to speak to them on your behalf about all aspects of your application.
    • Internet Protocol (IP) address can uniquely identify a computer or network device on the internet. If this device can only be used by you, this can sometimes become your personal information.
    • A cookie is a text file or pixel tag which, when placed on your computer, will provide anonymised statistical data about your website browsing actions.
    • Website refers to our website addresses:

    UCAS – www.ucas.com

    UCAS Undergraduate Apply and Track – www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/login

    UKPASS Apply and Track – www.ucas.com/ucas/postgraduate/login

    UCAS Conservatoires Apply and Track – www.ucas.com/ucas/conservatoires/login

    UCAS Teacher Training Apply and Track – www.ucas.com/ucas/teacher-training/login

  • If you are an adviser at a further or higher education provider, parent, referee, or nominated representative of someone using UCAS’ services

    Collecting and using your personal information

    If you are an adviser at a further or higher education provider, nominated representative or providing a reference in support of an application, we may collect your personal information, including your name, role and contact details if you:

    • provide support for an applicant who may apply through one of the UCAS application schemes to attend university, college or conservatoire, such as providing a reference or validating their application
    • sign up to receive a newsletter and provide us with your name and contact information
    • make an enquiry to become a UCAS registered centre, so we can contact you to progress your enquiry or keep record of those who are approved
    • are a teacher or adviser supporting learners after GSCEs or equivalent qualifications, so you can log in to the Undergraduate Apply for advisers and Adviser Track service, and provide relevant information about our products and services
    • act as a nominated representative, so we know that an applicant is happy for us to speak to you about their application

    Sharing your personal information

    We may share the personal information we collect about you with:

    • employees of UCAS or UCAS Media, or our service providers, who may need to handle your personal information to progress your request or enquiry
    • universities colleges and conservatoires, if you have provided a reference in support of an application
    • crime prevention or government bodies, if we are required or permitted by law to disclose the information to them for the purposes of preventing or detecting crimes of any nature
  • Browsing our website, contacting us, requesting a newsletter, or entering a competition

    Collecting and using your personal information

    When you visit our website, we may ask for your personal information to allow us to contact you about your request or enquiry. This could include:

    • corresponding with you, including by phone, letter, email or SMS
    • if you complete and submit any free text boxes, and choose to include any personal information
    • if you register to receive a newsletter, your name and contact details
    • if you enter a competition, your name and contact details. If you are one of the competition winners, we may publish your name on our website. If we need to collect more information from you, or share it with anyone, we will tell you when you enter the competition
    • when you access our website: your IP address if you are the only person who has access to your computer or device and it can identify you

    Sharing your personal information

    We may share your personal information with:

    • employees of UCAS or UCAS Media, or our suppliers who provide services to us, who need to handle your personal information to progress your request or enquiry
  • 16-18 choices, such as applying for further education, including training and study (UCAS Progress)

    Collecting and using your personal information

    We collect your personal information so we can manage and support your application to further education. To do this, we collect information detailed below.

    • If you log in and create an account: to save your favourite courses in the search tool, we will ask you for your name, date of birth, National Insurance number, nationality, address covering the last three years and your email address. We will also ask where you have studied and if you need any additional support.
    • If you create or submit an application(s) to a provider, we will collect your name, date of birth, nationality, your address covering the last three years, your email address, where you studied, and any additional support you may need. We collect your National Insurance number as this is required by providers who offer ‘learn while you earn’ schemes. You may be asked to provide additional information, such as your skills, career objectives and personal circumstances if it is relevant to the course you have applied for.
    • If we need to notify you of changes to this website or to invite you to participate in surveys to help us develop our websites and services, we will use your name and contact details, and collect any personal information you provide to us.

    Sensitive personal information

    We ask you to provide the following sensitive personal information:

    • Your ethnicity, to assist providers monitor their compliance with the Equality Act 2010.
    • Details of any disabilities you have, to make sure your chosen provider can meet your needs and support you.

    We may also ask you to provide the following sensitive personal information:

    • If you have an unspent criminal conviction, if you apply for certain courses, such as child care. This will not prevent you applying and is collected to help providers consider the suitability of applicants.
    • Your religious beliefs, if you apply to a provider with a religious ethos.

    Sharing your personal information

    We may share the personal information we collect about you with:

    • employees of UCAS or UCAS Media, or our service providers, who need to handle your personal information to progress your application or enquiry
    • the provider you have applied to, so they can consider your application, and your local authority. If you make an application to a provider outside your local authority area, we will also share the details of your application with that provider’s local authority
    • if you make an application to a provider in Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government and organisations that need your details for certification, funding, registration and examination purposes. Information on student destinations will be shared with Careers Company Wales
    • reputable and reliable third parties. This includes combined statistics about visitors to our website and website traffic patterns, answers to questions, content entered and related website information. The information used for these purposes is aggregated (i.e. combined with other user data) and anonymised, and will not be provided in a way which identifies you 
    • crime prevention or government bodies, if we are required or permitted by law to disclose the information to them for the purposes of preventing or detecting crimes of any nature
  • If you make or track an application to higher education (Undergraduate, conservatoire, teacher training or postgraduate courses)

    Collecting and using your personal information

    We collect your personal information so we can manage and support your application to higher education. To do this, we collect the information detailed below.

    • If you register to use Apply or Track: your username and chosen password, your answers to security questions and your name and email address.
    • If you complete and submit an application: your name, date of birth, contact details, nationality and permanent residence. We ask for details of the school(s) or college(s) you have attended and qualifications you have or are likely to achieve. We also request details of your previous employment, including paid, unpaid or voluntary work. You will be asked to complete a personal statement to support your application. If you submit your application and pay a fee, we will collect your chosen payment details. We may also collect sensitive personal information as described in the 'Sensitive personal information' section below.
    • To support your application: information about you provided by your referee(s).
    • If you complete and submit an application and live outside of the European Union (EU): your visa and passport details, so the providers where you apply can check your identity and confirm you are able to study in the UK.
    • When we correspond with you: any personal information you may provide as a result.
    • Telling you about any changes to your application, our services or this privacy policy: your name and preferred contact details.
    • To confirm your subject grades: educational qualifications provided to us by third party examining and awarding bodies.
    • If you nominate a representative to speak to UCAS on your behalf: any information about you that your representative provides us with.
    • If we ask your opinion about our products or services, including study areas: your preferred contact details and whether you are happy to receive mailings.
    • If you choose to opt-in or opt-out of receiving marketing or mailings: your name, contact details and selected preferences.

    Sensitive personal information

    To support your application, we may ask you to provide the following sensitive personal information as detailed below, which may be shared with the providers you have applied to.

    • To assist providers in monitoring their compliance with the Equality Act 2010, we collect details of your ethnicity and give you the option to tell us your sexual orientation, gender identity and religious belief. This information is provided to your chosen provider after you have secured a place, or at the end of the application cycle.
    • For the purposes of making sure that your chosen providers can meet any specific needs you may have, we ask you to provide information about whether you have a disability, special needs or a medical condition, and if you have been in care.
    • We ask you to declare if you have any relevant unspent criminal convictions or punishments.

    The sensitive information we collect varies depending on which admissions scheme you apply through. Please make sure you read and understand the relevant declaration when you submit your application. This will confirm the sensitive personal information we need to collect and why.

    Sharing your personal information

    We may share the personal information we collect about you with the organisations or individuals listed below.                                                                                                   

    • Employees of UCAS or UCAS Media, or our service providers who may need to handle your personal information to progress your application or enquiry.
    • The providers you have applied to who participate in UCAS’ admissions schemes, so they can consider and process your application. This means we share the personal information within your application and the results provided by the examination and awarding bodies at any point during the application cycle with those providers. In addition, if you take the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT) to support your medical school application, we share your results with the medical schools you’ve applied to who use these tests.
    • Where you apply to study at providers within the Republic of Ireland, we will share your details with the higher education admissions body for Ireland, the Central Applications Office Ltd, to enable UCAS to process your examination results.
    • Where you apply or link your application through your school, college or UCAS-registered centre, they will be able to see the content of your application. This will allow your school or college to support you in submitting your application. They will not be able to amend your application or see any information you provide about your sexual orientation, gender identity or religious belief. Within your application, you can choose to stop your school, college or UCAS registered centre being able to track the progress of your application, however, they will be provided with information about its final outcome, including your acceptance to a university or college, or if you are ultimately unplaced.
    • Awarding bodies – your results or results of any survey they may commission us to perform on their behalf.
    • Relevant professional and regulatory bodies – any enquiries relating to your fitness to practise, if this is appropriate to the course you have applied to study.
    • Your nominated representative, where you have appointed one.
    • Your referee(s) – we provide personal information to your referee to allow them to identify you and provide the reference. You will be notified of any additional access to your application which may be required by your referee when you nominate them.
    • Your appointed agent, if you have one, to assist you with your application.
    • Any organisation which may undertake surveys or gather your opinions on our behalf, if the survey responses are not anonymous and you choose to provide your personal information.
    • Organisations who provide services to UCAS, such as our information technology providers. Some of these services are located in countries outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and we have taken steps to ensure that any personal information they handle is treated in a manner consistent with the requirements of the DPA.
    • If you have requested in Apply to communicate with us in Welsh, we may provide your details to an external language provider to provide this service to you, which will include the content of communications with you.
    • If you have applied through our UCAS Undergraduate scheme, we share personal information with the University of Essex for use through the secure Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) to enable research about higher education, where there is potential public benefit. Data are only available to accredited researchers for non-commercial purposes and information which could identify individuals is removed. Further information explaining how the ADRN protects personal information can be found here.
    • Government organisations or other bodies, that develop or monitor the effectiveness of government policies for higher education, have responsibilities for ensuring the effective operation of the higher education sector, or have statutory responsibilities for learners. These organisations include:
      • the Higher Education Statistics Agency, that is responsible for providing information about placements in higher education to Government, to validate the information provided by providers
      • bodies responsible for the distribution of funding to providers, including the higher education funding bodies for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
      • The National College for Teaching and Leadership – to enable them to undertake their responsibilities for allocating places to providers in the UCAS Teacher Training scheme, and ensuring that recruitment targets are met (if you apply through UCAS Teacher Training)
    • We only supply personal information that identifies you for these purposes if the provision of statistical analysis is not suitable and is made between UCAS and those organisations under contractual terms.
    • Crime prevention or government bodies, if we are required or permitted by law to disclose the information to them for the purposes of preventing or detecting crimes of any nature​
  • Marketing, confirming your status as an accepted UCAS applicant, and how to stop us contacting you

    When you register on our website, ask to receive a newsletter or further information, register to attend a UCAS event, or make an application, we will ask you if you wish to receive further information from UCAS, including information about other products and services.

    • We may provide you with a newsletter (if you have subscribed) and ask you for your feedback about our services.
    • We may also ask you if you would like to provide an anonymous quickask response to questions about global issues or current affairs, or invite you to enter our competitions or surveys.
    • If you make an application through our UCAS Undergraduate scheme, we will ask you if you want to receive course information from UCAS on behalf of providers, if you find yourself without a place.
    • You may be asked if you want to subscribe to our Clearing direct contact service where, if you find yourself without a place, we will send your application to universities or colleges, who may contact you with information about courses or places they think may be of interest.
    • If you make an application through any of our admissions schemes or attend a UCAS event, we will ask you to confirm if you are happy to receive information about such things as other providers, forthcoming UCAS events, workshops, training, career opportunities, funding or sponsorship opportunities, and health information.
    • If you make an application through our UCAS Progress or UCAS Undergraduate schemes, or attend a UCAS event, we will also ask you if you are happy to receive information about commercial products and services, such as student discounts, travel, banking, high-street fashion and student accommodation options.

    So we can deliver this information to you, we may use the services of a supplier, who is providing a service to us, such as:

    • applications that enable us to deliver information to you, such as sending you an email, or SMS or text
    • mailing companies, where the information is delivered to you by post

    We will not share your personal information with third parties who may wish to provide you with information about their products and services, unless we have told you about it and we have your explicit consent.

    How to stop us contacting you for marketing purposes

    You can stop us contacting you for marketing purposes at any time. If you no longer want to receive marketing information from us, please either respond to the opt-out instructions that are contained in the communication sent to you, update your preferences in Track, or use one of the ways detailed on the Contact us page.

    Display marketing and how to switch it off

    We use AdTech to support display advertising content on our website, according to the demographics (such as age, gender or interests) of the visitors to particular pages. You can opt out of AdTech for display advertising by clicking this link: http://adinfo.aol.com/about-our-ads/

    We also use Google, Twitter and Facebook remarketing features which supports promotion of our services you have shown an interest in, if you have subscribed to Google, Twitter or Facebook. This may be based on anonymous information collected by cookies when you visit our website. This includes things like your mobile device location (if location features are turned on), browser cookie ID, mobile device identifier, hashed (anonymous) email address, and IP addresses. This helps us provide you with relevant adverts relating to UCAS if you have a Twitter, Facebook or Google account. You can opt out of audience advertising by:

    • unchecking the box in your Twitter or Facebook account settings that says, Tailor ads based on information shared by ad partners, and opting out of Google’s use of cookies by visiting Google’s Ads Settings. This will not then match your account to information with us to tailor adverts for you
    • turning on the Do Not Track setting in your web browser so that Twitter or Facebook do not match your account to browser-related information to tailor our ads for you
    • enabling the Limit Ad Tracking setting (on iOS devices) or the setting to Opt out of Interest-Based Ads (on Android), so that Twitter or Facebook do not tailor our adverts for you by matching your device to information from partners

    Further details about cookies which are set when you use this website, including how to disable them can be found in our Cookies policy.

    Confirming your status as an applicant to any UCAS application scheme

    We may provide confirmation of your status as a UCAS applicant or accepted applicant to commercial organisations if you have applied to them for products and services that are only available to students, or they wish to notify existing customers of products or services they offer to students. We will only do this where you have given us your permission to do so.

  • Social media

    How we collect your personal information

    If we engage with each other through social media, we may collect information contained in your posts or blogs, comments, likes, voting, web chat, video uploads or private messaging functions from any of the social media links available to you within this website.

    How we share your personal information

    Any personal information you choose to share could be accessed by the public worldwide if you choose to share any content on this site, or on any of our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, LinkedIn or Google+). This includes disclosing personal information if you engage with UCAS social media, such as posting comments on our UCAS Facebook page, voting for your favourite blogger, sending us a private message, uploading a video or tweeting us.

    We cannot be held responsible for any damaging actions or behaviours which may result, following your use of this or any other related social media activity.

    Social media acceptable use

    When you engage with UCAS social media, such as our Facebook page or Twitter feed, comments you may post are live as soon as you publish them. We do not check and approve them beforehand. We will remove inappropriate posts. So you know what that means to us, please read our  UCAS social media acceptable usage guide (373.73 KB)

     

  • How we use cookies and how to delete them

    All about cookies

    We want to make sure we provide you with very clear information about the cookies we collect, how we use them and how to disable them. You can read our Cookies policy on the UCAS website. We use cookies to provide users with the functionality contained within our website, and produce anonymous information to help analyse website traffic, usage and behaviour, so we can improve the visitor experience to our website.

  • Keeping your personal information up-to-date and retaining it

    Keeping it up-to-date

    If any of your personal or contact details change, it is important you tell us straight away so we have the most up-to-date information to communicate with you about your application. To do this, please update your information in your Track account, or use any of the methods set out on the Contact us page.

    Retaining your personal information

    We retain personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998. This involves only retaining the personal information we need for business, regulatory or legal reasons. Once personal information is no longer needed, it is securely destroyed.

    If you apply through the UCAS Progress scheme, we will retain the details of your application for seven years. This will enable us to provide better support to you, if you go on to apply through our higher education application schemes.

    If you apply through one of our higher education application schemes, we will permanently retain a copy of your application and use it for producing statistical analysis and research in admissions schemes managed by UCAS, and trends in higher education. Any statistical analysis reports we publish will not identify any individuals.

  • Applying for a job at UCAS

    Collecting and using your personal information

    If you apply for a job at UCAS through our website we will collect your name, contact details and details of the vacancies you are interested in. We will receive a copy of your CV if you upload it.

    Sharing your personal information

    So we can consider you for any vacancies you apply for, or contact you about any others we feel may be of interest, we will share your personal information with:

    • relevant employees of UCAS or UCAS Media, such as those handling applications, line managers who have a vacancy, or our service providers
    • the police, Home Office and any other authorised authority who has a legal right to that information if we are required to do so by law – such as for the purposes of crime or fraud prevention
  • How we keep your information secure, including passwords

    We take steps to make sure we hold your personal information securely and share it with people or organisations who need to access it. This includes maintaining Information Security standards in line with the international standard ISO 27001:2013.

    We also make sure any personal information we need to transfer to other organisations to provide our services commit to keeping your personal information secure.

    Some of our suppliers or services are located in countries outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). In all cases, we have taken steps to ensure that any personal information they handle is treated in a manner consistent with the requirements of the DPA.

    Passwords

    To keep your application secure, we will provide you with a login ID and password. If you nominate a representative who can act on your behalf, they will need to correctly answer our security questions to confirm their identity.

    You must take care not to disclose your Personal ID to anyone other than your nominated representative, if you choose to. You password or security answers must not be disclosed to anyone, even your nominated representative. We will not be liable to you for loss or damage suffered by you as a result of any unauthorised third party having accessed your application or UCAS events account.

  • To request access to your personal information, change, delete, or stop using it

    You have the right, under the DPA, to either request a copy of your personal information we hold, to have it corrected, deleted, or to ask us to stop using it.

    • To request a copy of the personal information we hold about you – please send your request in writing to: Company Secretary at UCAS, Rosehill, New Barn Lane, Cheltenham, Glos. GL52 3LZ. There is a fee of £10 for this service: make your cheque payable to UCAS, and include it with your letter. Once you have received your response, please read this  Subject access request document (216.21 KB)
    • To ask us to change, delete or stop using the personal information we hold about you – please put your request in writing to UCAS, Rosehill, New Barn Lane, Cheltenham, Glos. GL52 3LZ. We will always consider your request to make changes to your personal information and write back to confirm the action we have taken.

    Once you have paid and submitted your application, it will not be possible to make changes to your personal statement or referee details. It may be possible to make changes to your qualifications if you have applied through our Undergraduate or UCAS Conservatoires admissions schemes. To request to make changes, get in touch via the contact us section. 

  • Other websites you can access from this one

    Our website and privacy policy may contain links to other websites operated by other organisations or other websites operated by UCAS Media (such as: UCAS Events, Living at Uni or UCAS Media). When you click any of these links and leave our site you will see an external link image. We cannot be held responsible for the protection and privacy of any information you provide whilst visiting other sites. This privacy policy applies to this website only. Please make sure you read the privacy policy of the website you are visiting.