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Oakland University Mistakenly Awards Scholarships To More Than 5,000 Students

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Oakland University said Friday it erroneously notified students that they would receive top tuition awards, just days after another school, Central Michigan University, said its prospective students were mistakenly told they had won full-ride scholarships.

Oakland University said in a statement that due to human error its undergraduate student application system sent email notifications to some admitted students that they were entitled to receive the school's Platinum Presidential Scholar Award.

The school said about 5,500 students received the erroneous notification. Those students have qualified for other levels of scholarship awards, according to the school, which learned of the error on Jan. 4.

The award is Oakland University's highest, but the students who received the notification don't meet eligibility requirements for the award. The email was intended for students who had already been sent notice of their Presidential Scholar award through an official scholarship award letter, the university said.

"An immediate correction update was sent within two hours to the students who received the scholarship messages in error," the school said. "Our Undergraduate Admissions team also scheduled phone calls to explain the situation for those who contacted us."

A follow-up apology notice was sent Jan. 5.

The Platinum Presidential Scholar award is worth $12,000 per year for four years. The average tuition for freshman and sophomores is $13,934. Room and board averages about $11,192 per year.

Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant said 58 youths received messages last weekend through the university portal telling them they had won a Centralis Scholars Award, which includes full tuition, room and board, money toward books and supplies and a $5,000 "study away award."

But the university said Wednesday that those contacted hadn't won the prestigious award and the message had gone out "inadvertently" as school staffers were testing new messaging technology.

Central Michigan's admissions director is no longer employed by the school, WZZM-TV and The Detroit News reported Friday, and another employee has taken over her responsibilities. It was not immediately clear if she resigned or was fired.

University officials apologized for the error Wednesday night, and offered all 58 prospective students the equivalent of a full-tuition scholarship.

Tuition for U.S. residents at CMU is estimated to be about $12,750 a year.

The Centralis Scholars Award is considered the premier merit scholarship CMU offers, according to the school's website. The scholarships are awarded to high school seniors and only students who have a minimum 3.7 GPA and have already been admitted to the university are eligible.

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