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Thousands Of UCLA Students Get A Sudden Windfall In Financial Aid Mix-Up

WESTWOOD (CBS) — What would you do if someone accidentally gave you thousands of dollars?

On Friday night, thousands of students at the University of California, Los Angeles were faced with that dilemma after a financial aid mix-up.

Cristy Fajardo, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, says the mistake happened earlier this week when Student Financial Services at UCLA made what it calls a "duplicate error" -- depositing financial aid payments into thousands of student bank accounts... twice.

Now the university wants its money back.

"When I went on it, I had like $10,000 and I go, 'whoa, that's a lot of money.'," said sophomore Juan Espinoza.

Espinoza, who waiting for his payment for spring quarter, noticed the error right away.

UCLA spokesman Steve Ritea declined to go on camera but tells us, "approximately 7,000 students were affected. We've notified all of them and we're working to rectify the situation."

"In all fairness, I think it should be given back because as it is, we're in like such a financial crisis with the whole UC system so this would only make it worse," said student Amer Chaterjee.

Many students, like Espinoza, have done just that. He even received an email thanking him for returning the funds.

As for those who kept it, the university warns that it will reverse the deposits.

"A lot of people got confused and I'm pretty sure a lot of people are gonna be spending that money," Espinoza said.

Fajardo reports that the university emailed all of the affected students to apologize and notify them of the mistaken deposits.

Those who already spent the money will have to wait and see what happens Monday when administrative offices open.

It's still unclear how the error happened.

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