Some 300 high school seniors received letters last month announcing that Utah Valley University was generously offering them four-year scholarships.
But the students’ excitement was short -lived as it was revealed two weeks later that the mailer was sent out by mistake.
University President Matthew Holland apologized for the confusion and disappointment, telling Desert News that a technical glitch was to blame for the mix-up.
He went on to say the college in Orem is waiving a February 1 scholarship deadline so that students who got the letter in error can apply for other scholarships.
UVU officials said the scholarship is based on a combination of ACT scores and grade point averages. The error happened when only ACT results were factored in.
University spokesman Chris Taylor said that as soon as officials realized the mistake, they notified recipients and sent a letter of apology.
But that did little to appease seniors Sarah Payne and Lisa Schneider, who were among the recipients of the erroneous communique.
The letter they had received addressed the students by name and read: ‘I want to extend a personal invitation to you to consider Utah Valley University as your higher education destination of choice.
‘As a result of your stellar academic performance in high school, I’m thrilled to extend the offer of an Exemplary Scholarship, a four-year full tuition award.’
The missive went on to encourage the scholarship recipients to also apply for the Presidential Scholarship, which covers other college expenses like books and fees, and the students were also invited to attend a banqueting honoring their achievements.
‘I honestly was shocked because I hadn’t even applied to UVU and I was like, “Oh my gosh, they’re offering me this scholarship to go to school for free,”’ Lisa Schneider said.
The senior and her friend Sarah Payne, who also received the letter from UVU, immediately spread the good news among their family and friends, and settled on UVU as their college of choice.
Both girls wasted no time applying for UVU, only to receive a second letter from the school two weeks later notifying them that a mistake had occurred.
Reluctant to give up on the opportunity, Schneider called the school and asked if someone could assist her in applying for a scholarship, but she was told the administration cannot help her.
In the aftermath of the snafu, both girls set their sights to other schools. Payne said Utah State University and Brigham Young University are her top choices. She has already been accepted at Utah State University, but she is not ruling out UVU.
Schneider, meanwhile, is hoping to get into BYU, but UVU also remains on her list.
James Gilbert | Elite.