Freedom of information requests about university rejection Watch

Anonymous #1
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So I got rejected by my number one uni and it doesn't look like they're going to give me any real feedback. Can I put a freedom of information request to find out why the rejected me? How would I go about doing this?
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TheRealSquiddy
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(Original post by Anonymous)
So I got rejected by my number one uni and it doesn't look like they're going to give me any real feedback. Can I put a freedom of information request to find out why the rejected me? How would I go about doing this?
No, you can't. FOI requests only apply to public services, your university is a private entity. You could try speaking to an admissions officer at the university, just call them. But there is a high chance they will just say "You didn't meet what we are looking for"
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BigheadLondon
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No, FOI requests for your own information is exempt as you would need to make a data protection/subject access request

Like the poster before me, i would speak with the admin / admissions staff but i would not expect anything too comprehensive
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Last edited by BigheadLondon; 4 weeks ago
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by TheRealSquiddy)
No, you can't. FOI requests only apply to public services, your university is a private entity. You could try speaking to an admissions officer at the university, just call them. But there is a high chance they will just say "You didn't meet what we are looking for"
Universities (except private and/or for-profit universities, such as the AA or University of Law) are subsidised and funded by the UK government, and you can submit FOI requests to them - if you look on whatdotheyknow, there are innumerable requests, ranging from admissions information to examiners reports to past examination papers.

(Original post by Anonymous)
So I got rejected by my number one uni and it doesn't look like they're going to give me any real feedback. Can I put a freedom of information request to find out why the rejected me? How would I go about doing this?
However, you can't request information on an individual for data protection reasons - no personally identifiable information can be included in a response to a FOI request. As such, you wouldn't be able to request individual feedback this way anyway.

Best option is to contact them directly, but often feedback ends up being, as above, "there were many highly qualified applicants this year and you didn't make the cut".
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TheRealSquiddy
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Universities (except private and/or for-profit universities, such as the AA or University of Law) are subsidised and funded by the UK government, and you can submit FOI requests to them - if you look on whatdotheyknow, there are innumerable requests, ranging from admissions information to examiners reports to past examination papers.



However, you can't request information on an individual for data protection reasons - no personally identifiable information can be included in a response to a FOI request. As such, you wouldn't be able to request individual feedback this way anyway.

Best option is to contact them directly, but often feedback ends up being, as above, "there were many highly qualified applicants this year and you didn't make the cut".
I apologise for false info. I thought that unis generally fell under private ownership so you couldn't do that.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by TheRealSquiddy)
I apologise for false info. I thought that unis generally fell under private ownership so you couldn't do that.
In the UK basically all universities are as would be "state universities" in for example the US, as they're at least partially funded by public finance (i.e. tax money). There are only a handful of "private" universities in the UK, as opposed to the US where they are numerous (I'm referencing the US because there aren't really many examples in the UK other than the ones I mentioned, and more for-profit places; there are very few private not-for-profit universities in the UK, if any).

I believe the Oxbridge colleges might actually be private entities, but they are also I believe all registered charities, and given their relationship with the universities of Oxford and Cambridge they certainly seem to fall under the definition in spirit at least (and consequently they do seem to respond to FOI requests, especially as most undergraduate admissions at those unis is done via the colleges).

There might be room for interpretation there, but at the very least the precedent seems to be for universities to be considered public authorities and respond to FOI requests as such, and there doesn't seem to be any major push against this that I'm aware of so it seems likely to remain the case for the time being...I am not a lawyer however so I'm mainly going on what I have experienced and seen though
Last edited by artful_lounger; 4 weeks ago
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Joinedup
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(Original post by Anonymous)
So I got rejected by my number one uni and it doesn't look like they're going to give me any real feedback. Can I put a freedom of information request to find out why the rejected me? How would I go about doing this?
FoI requests aren't suitable as other posters have stated. To find what information a body holds on you as an individual you need to make a subject access request under GDPR
instead... but TBH I don't think the answer will be very interesting.
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Admit-One
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Even if the Uni involved released every bit of information they held about the application, it’s very unlikely to give the OP the insight they’re after.

Unless they were interviewed, at best they might be able to see the following:

- A broad rejection code / category relating to quals, personal statement or some combination thereof.
- Possibly an overall application score, which would be meaningless out of context.
- Possibly some dialogue between course selectors and various administrators.

I would approach the Uni again, mention that I was considering an access request to obtain feedback, but was wondering what the best route was. They’ll probably oblige at that stage as it’s much less hassle than dealing with a formal subject access request.

Re-reading the OP’s post makes it seem that they have already had some feedback, but didn’t consider it in depth enough. They might need to accept that beyond telling them their quals or personal statement were not good enough, the Uni can’t elaborate further.
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PQ
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(Original post by Anonymous)
So I got rejected by my number one uni and it doesn't look like they're going to give me any real feedback. Can I put a freedom of information request to find out why the rejected me? How would I go about doing this?
Which university/course is involved?

and what feedback has been provided so far? Have you requested more and how did you request it?
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