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UB admits a quarter of applicants involved in email gaffe

University at Buffalo officials, looking to move past an embarrassing email gaffe that garnered national and international media attention earlier this week, granted admission to about a quarter of the 5,109 high school students who had received congratulatory acceptance notices in error.

But more than 3,700 students who had been told in an April 13 email that they were accepted into UB did not end up making the cut.

A university spokesman issued a statement Friday confirming the admissions numbers.

“The university again apologizes for the emails sent in error by our Office of Financial Aid and we offer best wishes to all of the applicants in their future pursuits,” the statement reads.

The mishap at UB was one of the largest among a slew of similar admissions incidents that have happened at colleges and universities around the country over the past two decades.

The errant email message opened with the words: “Congratulations on your acceptance to the University at Buffalo!” But the students who received the notice were still under review for admission at the time, and within three to four hours, they were told the initial email was a mistake.

Lee H. Melvin, UB vice provost for enrollment management, apologized at that time for the error and explained that the email was supposed to encourage applicants to fill out their financial aid forms.

“In fact, we are still reviewing your application for admission and haven’t made a final decision on your acceptance to the university,” wrote Melvin, who also said the prospective students would learn the status of their applications by Friday.

The UB statement on Friday stated that the Office of Enrollment Management has strengthened its internal controls and added new ones to prevent future miscommunications.

“This includes multi-layered review of all email communications before they are sent. The office is also retraining all staff on the new and existing controls to ensure accurate delivery of email communications,” the statement said.

A total of 1,368 high school students who received the errant emails ended up getting accepted into UB after all – although some of them will have to wait until next spring to start their studies.

UB offered admission for the fall semester to 226 students. It offered another 770 students admission for the spring 2017 semester or wait-list status for the fall. And another 372 students were accepted into the university’s Educational Opportunity Program, pending a final review of their finances to make sure they qualify.

Of the 3,741 prospective students who did not get admitted, 3,302 students did not submit all of the material required by the university to be considered for admission. Of the remaining applicants, 424 were denied admission after careful review of their applications and 15 withdrew their applications.

UB has received 25,270 applications for admission this year, up 10 percent from last year. The university anticipates enrolling 3,700 freshmen and 1,750 transfer students for the fall semester. Application for undergraduate admission remains open until May 1.