6,500 Wrong E-Mails About Scholarships Sent by UC Davis

Times Staff Writer

UC Davis officials acknowledged Monday that they wrongly notified 6,500 college applicants that they had won academic scholarships worth up to $7,500 a year -- the second admissions foul-up by the University of California system in recent weeks.

Admissions officials said the latest mistake occurred Monday morning when UC Davis sent out batches of e-mails to applicants for this coming fall.

The university intended to notify a group of 6,500 students that they were accepted, while alerting 850 other students that they were also winners of the prestigious regents scholarships.

Both groups of students, however, received e-mails indicating they had won the merit scholarships.

Lisa Lapin, a spokeswoman for the university, noted that this was the first year that UC Davis notified regents scholarship winners by e-mail. "Clearly, we have bugs in that system, and we're working on it," she said.

"It's sort of like when you hit the wrong button on an e-mail and you sometimes send it to a person it wasn't intended to go to. That's a nightmare, but this was 6,500 people it wasn't intended to go to," Lapin added.

Lapin said that follow-up e-mails were sent within three hours to alert the 6,500 wrongly notified students about the error.

Still, the foul-up left some bruised feelings. Bobbie Black of Calabasas, a mother, said that after her son, Trevor, received the initial e-mail, "we called all of our family -- we called the grandparents and told everyone. We were very excited." But now, she said, "how do we know we can even trust that he was accepted? What if we turn down every other [campus] and find out, oops, they goofed?"

UC Davis' foul-up followed Friday's disclosure by UC system officials that a malfunctioning website may have allowed the Social Security numbers, addresses and other personal information of more than 2,000 UC applicants to be viewed by other students during this year's application process.

UC Davis has had admissions office glitches in the past. Two years ago, the campus mistakenly sent acceptance letters to more than 100 rejected students, mainly from foreign high schools.

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