UCAS has sold student data to companies like Vodafone, Red Bull, O2 & Microsoft © James Stanley

UCAS has sold student data to companies like Vodafone, Red Bull, O2 & Microsoft © James Stanley

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service controls admissions to UK universities and attracts 700,000 new applicants each year.

Students have the choice of opting out of receiving direct marketing, but at the cost of missing out on course information and career opportunities.

Students at Bournemouth University voiced their concerns and opinions on the matter.

Sammy Jenkins, studying Multimedia Journalism said: “I don’t think it’s right for UCAS to do this considering students pay them when they are applying for university. Students use them as a secure and easy way to apply for university, so to then go on and sell student information is a complete violation.”

Student Sinead Lambe felt the same, adding: “I think it’s disgusting, students shouldn’t have their details sold on by the very outlet that is supposed to monitor the process into university.”

Some students felt differently. Anna Valerie Pujol- Mazzini said: “It’s not surprising, our data is used and sold by so many companies already.”

Similarly, student Katie Pathiaki, 20, said: “I think it’s not that outrageous. The random Windows software salesmen and PPI recovery have to find their customers from somewhere.”

Reanne Waite, 19, a college student, who recently used UCAS to apply to university, was infuriated. She said: “I think it’s ridiculous. They shouldn’t be allowed. Are we not protected by some sort of law?”

“It comes as no surprise, the majority of sites do it. Data mining is the new gold mining,” said Bournemouth student Alex Folkard.

Data campaigners have condemned UCAS’ behaviour as “underhand”.

As the gateway to university, UCAS attracts almost every student applying to a British university from the UK or oversees.

It is alleged that UCAS tells potential advertisers “We help them reach university - we help you to reach them.”

There is no law preventing UCAS in selling access to student data, as it does not sell individuals ‘data’ directly, but instead markets access to it, using its own channels to deliver marketing.

UCAS has since said: “UCAS and UCAS Media comply strictly with all applicable laws and regulations, in the way in which we handle personal data.”