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17 Pitt students learned after graduation they did not meet graduation requirements

17 Pitt students learned after graduation that they did not meet graduation requirements
17 Pitt students learned after graduation that they did not meet graduation requirements 03:07

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — More than a dozen University of Pittsburgh students walked across the stage this spring only to learn they didn't meet graduation requirements months later.

Jennifer Espinoza is one of 17 students in Pitt's Combined Accelerated Studies in Education program, or CASE, who walked across the stage at graduation to find out two months later that was incorrect. 

"I felt a lot of betrayal in that moment thinking I put my trust in the School of Education," Espinoza said.

The students were notified by email that the university was withholding their diplomas because they didn't meet graduation requirements.

How did this happen?

The students say a university advisor mistakenly told them they could waive or substitute numerous prerequisite general education courses to enter the CASE program. CASE is a teacher preparation program that allows students to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees in education in five years.

"We followed up many, many times over the years just making sure we were on track," student Emma Morganstein said. "Most recently, I met with her back in March just because I wanted to make absolutely sure I was OK to graduate, and she assured me that I was."

Pitt is requiring those students to complete the missing undergraduate courses in order to get their diplomas. Not only does this mean some students will have to move back to Pittsburgh to take, in many cases, four or more classes, some students will have to quit the teaching position they just got.

"They should just let it go and move on and give us our diplomas," Espinoza said. "We worked hard for those diplomas no matter what went on with the advising."

A Pitt spokesperson said, in part:

"The University deeply regrets the situation and is in the process of investigating how this occurred and the steps to take to ensure it does not happen again. The School of Education proactively identified the issue recently and since that time has worked diligently to ensure that all impact students are properly prepared for the certificates they are pursuing. The university will cover the cost of any additional coursework required to remedy the situation." 

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