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Central Michigan University apologizes for giving students full-ride scholarships by mistake

The University claimed there was an error in their messaging technology testing.

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — UPDATE: After a 13 ON YOUR SIDE investigation, Central Michigan University is awarding 58 students an amount equal to a full-tuition scholarship. 

RELATED: Central Michigan gives students full-ride scholarships after 13OYS reported on error

See the original story below: 


Central Michigan University is apologizing for giving a full-ride scholarship to hopeful students by mistake.

The University claimed there was a messaging technology testing error.

A full-ride scholarship sounded like a dream for Parker Christensen, 17, who is currently a student at Newaygo High School. He was accepted to CMU's fall 2022 to 2023 undergraduate program and applied for the prestigious Centralis Scholar Award in November.

"It would have been amazing because undergraduate pre-med is pretty expensive," he said. 

When he checked the student portal on Friday night, Jan. 21, to see if he was selected for the scholarship, he was thrilled to learn he was.

"I was proud of myself. I was happy that what I worked for; I got something in return from it and it was amazing. I couldn't believe it."

But his excitement quickly faded when on Saturday, the message disappeared mysteriously from the portal. Then on Sunday morning, he received another message from University admissions letting him know his selection was a mistake.

"That literally just tore me apart," Christensen said. "I told family members and  friends and everyone's congratulating me and I have to go back and tell them something actually happened. I didn't get it." 

CMU claims while testing their new messaging technology over the weekend, staff inadvertently posted a message about the award that was seen by students who were logged into the system at that time. The message appeared to show the student had received the scholarship, when in fact, they had not. 

Christensen believes CMU should've done things differently.

"Sending out a test form the day of when the Centralis results were posted, that was wrong. I think they should've tested it way before then and testing it through the students is confusing to me."

In a statement to 13 ON YOUR SIDE, CMU wrote it sincerely regrets this mistake and understands the disappointment and anger these students and their families must be feeling. 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.  

Because of this mistake, CMU did increase Christensen's Maroon and Gold Scholarship Award by a few thousand dollars, however, Christensen said it's nothing like a full-ride offer.

When asked, CMU wouldn't say how many students were affected by this mistake, nor did they say how they would prevent this incident from happening again in the future.

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