College to honour course offer error

Sun, Aug 19, 2012, 01:00

A university which emailed hundreds of course offers to students in error has decided to allow the majority of those affected to take a place.

The University of Ulster’s School of Engineering mistakenly responded to 370 applications with congratulatory offers, when there were only 194 places in the school.

Some students had applied to two courses within the school so emails were sent to almost 300 individuals. The error was blamed on a computer glitch.

The university said it had now reviewed the cases of students who were emailed an offer despite not attaining the marks required and had decided to honour the offers.

A further 20 students are still waiting for some exam results - such as college diplomas - and the UU said their cases will be looked at as soon as possible.

Not all students affected will necessarily accept the offer.

The university said it will have to provide more teaching support and may face a financial penalty for exceeding a cap on numbers.

Professor Richard Millar, dean of the Faculty of Computing and Engineering, said: “For all students for whom we have a complete set of examination results, we are able to honour the offer made.

“These decisions are being communicated to the individual students through UCAS and we expect them to be confirmed on UCAS Track by Sunday evening. The university wishes to reassure applicants that the information recorded on UCAS Track is, and has always been, accurate.

“There remain 20 students for whom the school has not yet received the full set of examination results. Decisions on these students will be taken as soon as this information is available.

“In the light of the extra student numbers we are now admitting, the university will put in place additional teaching and pastoral support. As a consequence of this decision the university is likely to overshoot its MaSN (maximum student number) cap and may face a financial penalty.

“This means that all applicants that received the congratulatory email in error from the faculty, and for whom the university has a full set of examination results, are now having their place in the university confirmed.”

University of Ulster vice-chancellor Prof Richard Barnett thanked Stormont’s Department of Employment and Learning minister Dr Stephen Farry for his “understanding” on the issue.

He said the university would be holding further discussions with the minister and his officials.

“Once again, the university apologises for the anxiety and distress that has been caused to any of our applicants and their families,” said Prof Barnett.

PA

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