Michigan’s Oakland University mistakenly told 5,500 students they had won a $48,000 scholarship

By Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN

(CNN) – A University of Michigan sent email notifications to thousands of students informing them of a scholarship worth $48,000, but the email was sent in error.

It’s the second university in Michigan to make such a mistake in January.

On Jan. 4, Oakland University in Rochester Hills, 28 miles from Detroit, Michigan, learned that due to “human error” its undergraduate application system had sent to 5,500 admitted students email notifications that they had received one of the university’s highest awards. the Platinum Presidential Scholar Award worth $12,000 per year for four years.

“Unfortunately, the students who received the message do not meet the eligibility requirements for this award, but have qualified for different levels of OU scholarships,” Brian Bierley, director of student relations, told CNN on Monday. media at Oakland University. “Although the emails were sent in error, OU notifies students of scholarships through official scholarship award letters sent to students by mail in the United States.”

The Platinum Presidential Scholarship at Oakland University is not application-based, according to Bierley. All students are considered for this and assigned to freshmen with a high school GPA of 3.90 or higher and an SAT score of 1450 or higher (ACT composite score of 33 or higher).

“These 5,500 students, made up of freshmen and transfer students, were offered different levels of scholarships, but were not eligible for the Platinum Presidential Scholarship and had not yet accepted their scholarship on their student portal,” Bierley said. “They were meant to receive a different message about the awards they qualified for.”

A student, who wasn’t even eligible, also received the accidental notification, according to CNN affiliate WXYZ.

Charmaine Brown said she was thrilled when she received the email from the school.

“When they sent that email, I was like, ‘Wow, this is my escape, this is all I ever wanted,'” Brown said.

According to the Oakland University website, the average tuition for freshmen and sophomores in the state is $13,934, with room and board averaging $10,000. $11,192 per year.

Similar mistakes, two different schools

Following the error in Oakland, just 30 miles down the road from Central Michigan University, university officials found themselves apologizing for a similar incident two weeks later.

A notification was mistakenly sent to 58 students informing them that they had received the university’s prestigious Centralis Scholar Award, which includes admission to the CMU Honors Program, full tuition, tuition, housing and meals for four years and a $5,000 scholarship.

Now the university says it is reaching out to affected students “to make it right” and awarding them an amount equivalent to a full scholarship.

This is not the case at Oakland University, however, officials say.

“Oakland University plans to honor the various scholarships students have qualified for and has encouraged them to submit updated transcripts and new test scores by the fall semester to see s ‘they might be eligible for additional scholarships,’ Bierely said.

Within two hours of the error, OU said it sent an immediate correction and the undergraduate admissions team scheduled phone calls to explain the situation to students who contacted them, Bierley said.

“We have reviewed our email data extraction procedures to ensure this does not happen again,” the university said in a follow-up apology email Jan. 5. “We feel very bad that you received this incorrect communication, and we hope that you will still consider attending Oakland University.”

For Fall 2021, Oakland University offered 223 Platinum Presidential Scholar Awards; 47 of those students chose to enroll, he said. Currently, 162 students have qualified for the scholarship and been offered for Fall 2022, 62 have accepted so far. Final numbers will be determined in September after registration opens.

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