Text Size: A A A

HEA Student Collection Notice

Who we are (controller)

The Higher Education Authority, Statistics Unit, Manager Mr. Victor Pigott, email: statistics@hea.ie
National College of Ireland, Office of the Registrar, studentservices@ncirl.ie

What we’re doing and why we’re doing it

We share student record and survey data that we collect from you with the Higher Education Authority (HEA) so they can perform their statutory functions under the Higher Education Authority Act, 1971. This data may come from the following sources:

  • Student record data (SRS) based on institution’s registration data
  • Data from the voluntary Equal Access Survey
  • About nine months after you graduate, we may contact you to ask you to fill in the HEA Graduate Outcomes Survey. This is voluntary, and we will not give your phone or email contact details used for this survey to the HEA.
  • During your studies, you will be invited to participate in the Irish National Survey of Student Engagement. Some of your information may be sent to the HEA to ensure that the survey is offered only to relevant target groups. Your information may be matched to your survey responses in order to allow for anonymous analysis of results, for example, by gender or full-time / part-time. Your responses will be treated confidentially and no individual student will be identifiable in any reports or results generated as a result of this survey.

What the HEA does with your data

The HEA uses this data for fact-based statistical analysis to help understand the real needs that higher education should meet, to promote equality of opportunity in higher education and to assist the government in developing future higher education policies and investment. The HEA does this by linking data from the Student Records System, information from the Equal Access Survey and information from the Graduate Outcomes Survey through student ID number and/or PPSN for more accurate statistical analysis to help improve education services and policies.

The HEA use student records to produce anonymised aggregate data in annual statistical publications.

Who the HEA shares your data with:

The HEA shares records with other official bodies such as The Department of Education and Skills, CDETB and the Central Statistics Office for the following purposes:

1. Student Grant Application Verification
The HEA will provide your student record to CDETB (SUSI), an agent of the Department of Education and Skills. This record will include data on any previous enrolment in higher education in the Republic of Ireland. The HEA record is provided to CDETB (SUSI) for the purposes of verifying data supplied as part of grant applications, verifying that a student is enrolled or registered in accordance with the rules of an approved institution, assisting in the processing of applications for grants and determining an applicant’s eligibility for grant support under the education progression requirements of the Student Grant Scheme and the Student Support Act 2011.

2. Statutory Statistical functions
The HEA record may also be used by the Central Statistics Office in order to carry out their statutory functions of measuring population levels and monitoring public expenditure.

3. Research, equal opportunity, journalism, other legitimate interest/public function
HEA student microdata is provided to the Department of Education and Skills to allow for research and analysis using this data within the Department, for instance for transition rate analysis and third level demand projections.

HEA student data (PPSN, name, address, date of birth) may be sent to the Department of Social Protection Client Identity Services to verify PPSN.
HEA administrative graduate data is linked via PPSN to Revenue administrative employment data in the Central Statistics Office to analyse graduate outcomes in terms of sector and salary etc.

Anonymised aggregate (non-personal) data to third parties.

The HEA will also supply anonymised aggregate data to third parties for the purposes of equal opportunities monitoring, Freedom of Information, research and journalism in the public interest. This data does not on its own identify any individual:

  • Equal opportunities monitoring - the HEA student record may contain details of ethnic group and disability. This data is only used where it is needed to promote or maintain equality of opportunity or treatment between persons of different racial or ethnic origins, or different states of physical or mental conditions
  • Research. This may be academic research, commercial research or other statistical research into education where this is of benefit to the public interest.
  • Journalism, where the relevant publication would be in the public interest

Anonymised aggregate data for the above purposes is supplied by HEA to the following types of user:

  • Local, regional and national government bodies who have an interest in higher education
  • Higher education sector bodies
  • Higher education institutions
  • Academic researchers and students
  • Commercial organisations (e.g. recruitment firms, graduate employers)
  • Unions
  • Non-governmental organisations and charities
  • Journalists

Individuals cannot be identified from this anonymised aggregate data.

What kinds of data we collect

Student Records: The data we send to the HEA, if available, includes:
Date of Birth
CAO Number
CAO Points
Leaving Certificate Year
Leaving Certificate Exam Results
Post Primary School Number
Student Grant Status
Institution Code
Student ID
Enrol Status
Return Year
Academic Year
Programme Type
NFQ Level
Course Code
Course Name
Course Year
Mode of Study
Grade (for graduates)

This data forms part of the HEA Student Record System (SRS) database.

Equal Access Survey:

Data collected as part of the Equal Access Survey is also returned to the HEA. Data sent to the HEA as part of this process includes:

Disability Indicators:

Blind or Deaf
Physical Disability
Learning Disability
Psychological, Emotional or Mental Health
Other Condition
Support Requirement

Socio-economic Background:

Father Principal Economic Status
Father Occupation
Father Employment Status
Father Socio-economic Group
Father Socio-economic Class
Mother Principal Economic Status
Mother Occupation
Mother Employment Status
Mother Socio-economic Group
Mother Socio-economic Class
Farm Size

Ethnicity Indicator:

Ethnic/Cultural Background

Status of Non-EU Students:

Student Visa Holder
Work Permit Holder
Leave to Remain
Other Status

Graduate Outcomes Survey:

The following Graduate Outcomes Survey data will be given to the HEA:

  • Data on graduate qualifications and employment both within Ireland and overseas
  • Data on relevance of employment to area of study
  • Data on graduate further study
  • Data on graduate unemployment and unavailability for work
  • Longitudinal data to track career progression of graduates
  • Graduate perceptions of the quality and relevance of their higher education experience

HEA SRS data, Equal Access Survey data and Graduate Outcomes Survey data are linked in the HEA for analysis purposes via Student ID and/or PPSN (one or both are collected and given to the HEA as part of all three data collection processes).

Your Data Rights

Under the General Data Protection Regulation, you have a right to access the data the HEA holds about you, to have incorrect information about you corrected, and to object to the processing of data that violates your human rights. You may contact The Higher Education Authority, Statistics Unit, Manager Mr. Victor Pigott, email: statistics@hea.ie to exercise these rights. To ensure your privacy and to protect the integrity of your data, the HEA will require you verify your identity with a photographic ID before releasing or correcting your information.

If you believe your right to privacy or the protection of your personal data have been infringed, you have the right to bring a complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner at info@dataprotection.ie. You can find more information about your rights at www.dataprotection.ie

Updated November 2017

get in touch

Online Enquiry