CMU to offer full-tuition scholarships to students who were mistakenly told they won them

Hayley Harding
The Detroit News

Central Michigan University is upping scholarships for nearly five dozen prospective students after news spread that the school had mistakenly notified them over the weekend that they'd won full-ride scholarships that included room and board, officials confirmed Wednesday. 

CMU said 58 prospective students received messages while accessing the university portal informing them that they had won the Centralis Scholars Award, which gives students full tuition, room and board, money toward books and supplies, and a $5,000 "study away award." Students who receive the scholarship also are able to participate in special honors classes.

But those contacted hadn't won the prestigious award, the university said in a Wednesday statement. The message, officials said, went out "inadvertently" when university staffers were "testing a new messaging technology over the weekend." 

"CMU sincerely regrets this mistake and understands the disappointment and anger these students and their families must be feeling," Aaron Mills, university spokesperson, said in the statement. "CMU’s executive director of admissions personally contacted the families of students who were identified as being in the portal during testing on Sunday to apologize for this miscommunication."

Mills added late Wednesday that the university "will be reaching out to each of the 58 students who saw the congratulatory message regarding the Centralis Scholarship and offering to increase their award amount to the equivalent of a full-tuition scholarship."

It is not clear how much more money that means for the affected prospective students, but tuition for U.S. residents at CMU is estimated to be about $12,750 a year. 

Mills said the university was unable to answer further questions. On the university's website for the scholarship, the school notes that recipients would be notified on Jan. 21. 

The Centralis Scholars Award is considered the premier merit scholarship CMU offers, according to its website. It is only open to students who have a minimum 3.7 GPA and who have already been admitted to the university.

Twitter: @Hayley__Harding