How we use your information

West Highland College UHI and The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) has educational and business requirements to maintain certain personal data about living individuals including employees, students and graduates and others as part of its legitimate activities as a college/university. The College & UHI recognise that the correct and lawful treatment of personal data maintains confidence in the organisation and provides for successful operations. The College & UHI are committed to a policy of protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals with respect to the processing of their personal data. The College is registered with the Information Commissioners Office. Our registration number is Z8275428.


When you apply for your course or enrol as a student, 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.

West Highland College UHI and the University of the Highlands & Islands 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.  Student information of this type is anonymised and amalgamated for analysis. Data helps us to shape our services in order 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. College data is returned to the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). 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 websites.

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.

West Highland College UHI, 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. We also have some legal obligations to meet under the following legislation:

Further & Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005 – We monitor how accessible our educational services are to different groups of people to ensure we are providing equal opportunities.

Post 16 Education (Scotland) Act 2013 – We share data with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) as part of the Government’s guarantee to young people to get them in to education or training if they are not employed.

Children & Young People (Scotland) Act 2008 – We gather statistics, monitor progress and offer support to young people with experience of the care system.  We also share information with the local council with regard to secondary school pupils to assist with their transition between school and college.

We may also share information about your attendance and your progress with your employer or another body if they are funding your studies.

Students are informed of our data processing on their enrolment form.  However, there are some additional circumstances where the College/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 provide your written consent when asked.


Periodically, throughout your period of study, West Highland College UHI, the University of the Highlands and Islands 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 college/university student records system in accordance with the college/university records retention schedule.

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 college/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 This agreement allows the company to provide out of hours support to current college/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 college/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 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 college/university student records system and is held in accordance with the university data retention policy.