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Information Compliance


Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA): How we use your personal information

1. What is 'personal information'?

'Personal information' means any information which identifies you as an individual.

2. How does this webpage relate to other information about data protection?

When you applied to become a student you were told how the University and the relevant College(s) would use your personal information to process your application and for related purposes. You were referred to this webpage for a fuller statement. In addition to the information published here, when you use specific services and facilities offered by the University, you will be told about any other uses of your personal information. For example, various privacy policies have been produced for users of the University website (see, and for students who engage with the Counselling Service or the Disability Resource Centre.

3. Who uses my personal information?

The information published here applies to the use, sharing and disclosure of your personal information by the University of Cambridge and by the Cambridge Colleges. Please note that the University and each of the Colleges are separate legal entities in data protection terms. The University and the individual Colleges work together closely and share your personal information for a variety of academic, administrative and statistical purposes in accordance with agreed protocols. Your College may provide you with an additional statement about how it will use, share and disclose your personal information (including any information you provide relating to your medical history).

4. How is my personal information used while I'm a student?

Your personal information is created, stored and transmitted securely in a variety of paper and electronic formats, including databases that are shared between the University and the Colleges (such as the main student records database, CamSIS). Access to your personal information is limited to staff who have a legitimate interest in it for the purpose of carrying out their contractual duties.

Your personal information is used as permitted or required by law and for a range of academic and administrative purposes, including the following:

  • To facilitate your education, record the details of your academic studies (including any placements with external organisations) and determine your examination achievements.
  • To administer the financial aspects of your relationship with us and any funders.
  • To manage your use of facilities and participation at events (e.g. computing, libraries, accommodation, functions, graduation).
  • To enable effective communications with you.
  • To operate security, disciplinary, complaint, and quality assurance processes and arrangements.
  • To support your training, health, safety and welfare requirements.
  • To produce statistics and research for internal and statutory reporting purposes.
  • To monitor our responsibilities under equalities legislation.

Some of the personal information used for the above purposes is classed as 'sensitive personal data' under the DPA, such as information relating to your ethnicity or your medical history. This is collected to monitor our equalities responsibilities and so that staff can be made aware as appropriate of any medical needs. Access to, and the sharing of, this information is controlled very carefully. You will be given more details about our use of any sensitive personal data when we collect it from you.

5. Who is my personal information shared with?

Your personal information is disclosed as permitted or required by law and on a considered and confidential basis to a range of external organisations, including the following:

  • Higher Education Statistics Agency (see the details published at
  • Your funders and/or sponsors.
  • The providers of any external learning or training placements.
  • Relevant Government Departments (e.g. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department of Health, Department for Education).
  • Relevant executive agencies or non-departmental public bodies (e.g. UK Visas and Immigration, HM Revenue and Customs, the Health and Safety Executive).
  • Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
  • Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
  • Office for Fair Access (OFFA).
  • Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).
  • The relevant University student union(s).
  • The organisation(s) running the National Student Survey, the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey and the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey.
  • Providers of anti-plagiarism software.
  • Student Loans Company.
  • Any relevant professional or statutory regulatory bodies (e.g. General Medical Council).
  • Local authorities. (In particular, we pass lists of students to the City Council on an annual basis to assist with the administration of students' exemption from Council Tax.)
  • The police and similar law enforcement agencies.
  • Auditors.
  • Companies or organisations providing specific services on behalf of the University and/or one or more Colleges.

We will make your examination results publicly available and will confirm details of these results and degrees awarded to external enquirers or organisations. Class lists including your name and results will be posted on the Senate House notice boards, published in the Reporter and distributed internally and to the Colleges. There are procedures in place which allow you to opt out of some aspects of the publication and confirmation of your examination results. You should contact the Senior Tutor in your College for further information about these procedures.

Your basic contact details will be made available through our internal online directory, Lookup, unless you opt out of this (see In addition, you may choose to include your email address in our external online directory, Jackdaw (see

We will not normally disclose any other personal information about you to other external enquirers or organisations without your consent unless it is in your vital interests to do so (e.g. in an emergency situation).

6. How is my personal information used after I graduate?

After you graduate a core record of your studies is retained indefinitely so that the details of your academic achievements can be confirmed and for statistical or historical research. Your contact and core personal details are passed to the Development and Alumni Relations office while you are still a student so that you can be added to the alumni database. You will receive more information at the appropriate time (please also see the information for alumni about data protection published at

7. How can I access my personal information?

Under the DPA you have the right, subject to certain exemptions, to access the personal information that is held about you. Details are set out on the University's DPA webpages at

8. Who regulates the use of my personal information?

The University maintains a data protection registration with the Information Commissioner's Office, the independent authority which oversees compliance with the DPA. The University's registration number is Z6641083 and sets out, in very general terms, the full range of purposes for which we use student, staff and all other personal information (see

9. Who do I contact with questions?

If you have any questions about how your personal information is used, please consult the University's DPA webpages at If you need further assistance, please contact the University Data Protection Officer ( or your College as appropriate.

10. Are changes made to this webpage?

This webpage was last updated in March 2017. It is reviewed when necessary and at least annually. Any changes will be published here and you will be notified via this webpage and/or by email.