Skip to main content

Student privacy notice

We collect and retain personal information, in various formats, about our current, past and potential future students for a variety of purposes as set out in Bournemouth University’s registration with the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

We hold this personal information about our students securely, both in hard copy format and electronically, under the requirements of the DPA.

How we use information about our students

The purposes for which we may use personal information (including sensitive personal information) we collect during a student’s association with us include:

  • recruitment and admission
  • academic matters (e.g. registration, assessment, attendance, managing progress, academic misconduct investigations, certification, graduation)
  • maintaining student records
  • administering finance (e.g. fees, scholarships and bursaries)
  • providing student support services (e.g. through askBU, Disability and Additional Learning Support, Careers and Employability Service, Health and Wellbeing Service, Student Medical Centre, personal supervisors and academic departments)
  • providing library, IT and information services
  • managing student accommodation
  • monitoring equal opportunities
  • carrying out research and statistical analysis
  • providing operational information
  • promoting our services
  • safeguarding and promoting the welfare of students
  • ensuring student’s safety and security
  • preventing and detecting crime
  • dealing with grievance and disciplinary actions
  • dealing with complaints
  • carrying out audits
  • providing services to and maintaining contact with alumni
  • fundraising.

Sharing information with others

Unless an opt–out is in place, we may disclose limited personal information to a variety of recipients including:

  • our employees, agents and contractors where there is a legitimate reason for their receiving the information
  • student sponsors (e.g. the Student Loan Company, research sponsors, Research Councils, NHS) in respect of student progress/attendance
  • current or potential employers of our students (to provide references and, where students are sponsored by their employer, to provide details of progress/attendance)
  • professional and regulatory bodies (e.g. NMC, HCPC, BPS, SRA, BSB, ACCA,) in relation to the confirmation of qualifications, professional registration and conduct and the accreditation of courses
  • organisations operating anti–plagiarism software on our behalf (such as Turnitin®, for further details see our Turnitin® UK Information for Students guidance)
  • third parties who work with us to provide student accommodation
  • government departments and agencies where we have a statutory obligation to provide information (e.g. the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the Home Office (in connection with UK visas and immigration), Council Tax and Electoral Registration Officers at relevant local authorities (for the purpose of assessing liability for Council Tax and for electoral registration purposes))
  • current or potential education providers
  • Bournemouth University International College (so they can contact you to offer a pre-sessional or preparatory course relevant to your application to us)
  • third parties who work with us to provide student support services (e.g. counselling)
  • third parties who are contracted to provide out–of–hours IT services for us
  • other higher education providers or employers where the student is taking part in an exchange programme or placement as part of their course
  • crime prevention or detection agencies (e.g. the police, Department for Works and Pensions and trading standards)
  • NHS trusts, NHS foundation trusts and Local Authorities (for the purpose of assessing whether a student is entitled to free NHS hospital treatment)
  • parents/guardians/next of kin (but only where we have the student’s consent or there is a legitimate reason for the disclosure)
  • internal and external auditors.

Students are given the opportunity to opt out of some of these categories when they register with us, but should carefully consider the possible impact of doing this. We cannot provide a University education to a student without processing personal data. In addition, for some categories, the law prevents opt–out, e.g. statutory disclosures.

Students’ Union

We share some of the student information we hold with the Students’ Union at Bournemouth University (SUBU) unless a student notifies us that they wish to opt out of SUBU membership.

SUBU use this information to administer membership of the Union. SUBU will also send some of the student data we provide to the National Union of Students (NUS) to enable them to operate UnionCloud, a system through which SUBU’s website is hosted.

SUBU and NUS will give students the chance to opt out of various categories of processing when they register on the SUBU website, and to update their preferences by amending the privacy options on their profile page.


We will send some of the student information we hold to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). HESA collects and is responsible for the database in which HESA student records are stored. HESA uses that information in its own right – to publish statistics about students in higher education, for example. HESA also processes the information held in the databases for other organisations. The DPA also applies to HESA. Student contact details do not form part of the student record.

If a student provides us with information about disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity or religion, this will be included in the HESA student record. This helps to make sure people are being given equal opportunities and to prevent unlawful discrimination. HESA will not use this information in any way that could be used to identify the student.

For more information about the way HESA use student information please visit the HESA website.

National Student Survey and Leaver Surveys

We may pass student contact details to survey contractors to carry out the National Student Survey and surveys of student finances for the organisations identified by HESA at the HESA site listed above. These organisations and their contractors will use student’s details only for that purpose, and will then delete them.

About six months after graduation, we will contact each student to ask him or her to fill in the HESA “Destination of Leavers from HE” questionnaire. Students may also be contacted as part of an audit to check that we have undertaken this survey properly. We will not give your contact details to HESA.

Students may also be included in surveys that track the progress of leavers in the years after they graduate. If so, we will pass your contact details to the organisation that has been contracted to carry out that survey. The organisation will use your details only for that purpose, and will then delete them.

If you do not want to take part in any of these surveys, please let us know.

Bournemouth University Alumni Association

We pass certain personal information to our alumni team when students graduate. This information will be used for alumni activities, including sending University publications, promotion of alumni benefits, services, events and programmes. Personal information may also be used in fundraising programmes which might include an element of direct marketing. We may also disclose limited personal data to our contractors for analysis in connection with fundraising activities.

If you do not want your personal information to be used for any of these purposes please email


Personal information (including award and classification) will be published in the award ceremony booklet. This information will also be passed to third parties involved in the ceremonies (including our local paper and commemorative clothing suppliers). All published details will be available on our archive and our website following the events. Students can arrange for their personal information not to appear in these by not giving their consent to their name being published when they register online to attend the award ceremony or graduate in absentia.

All award ceremonies are broadcast via a web link and will be available to view online afterwards.

Changes to your personal data

Please tell us promptly about any changes to the information we hold about you. This is particularly important for your contact details. You can do this through the Student Portal Log–in services.

Handling personal data responsibly

Students will, during their studies with us, come into contact with personal information from many sources (including that of their fellow students or interview and questionnaire participants). We expect students to handle information about other people responsibly.

Where students carry out research for university business, and not just for the purposes of private study, they must also comply with the DPA and follow the requirements set out in our Data Protection Policy for Staff and BU Representatives.

We encourage the use of social media as it can be a valuable tool for communication and learning and can assist in the work of students and staff. Students are reminded that the usual standards of behaviour and conduct that we expect on a day–to–day basis apply equally to the use of social media. For further information on this, see our Social Media Policy and Procedures for Students. Misuse of social media can cause significant distress to others, and we may take action against those responsible.