College Admissions Director Out After 58 Students Mistakenly Offered Full-Ride Scholarship

Central Michigan University (CMU) replaced its executive director of admissions after her department accidentally sent nearly five dozen prospective students a message that they had won a prestigious scholarship to the school.

It is unclear whether Lee Furbeck was fired or resigned, according to the Associated Press. According to a tweet from @CMLife, "When asked if her departure was related to the situation Vice President of Marketing and Communications John Veilleux said, 'we cannot discuss personnel issues.'"

University officials apologized for the mistake and offered all 58 students full tuition to "make it right." The full-tuition scholarship will not cover room and board. Since tuition for all U.S. residents is about $12,750 a year, according to the school's website, it could cost the university more than $2.9 million.

According to The Detroit News, CMU's vice president for recruitment and retention, Jennifer DeHaemers, has taken over Furbeck's responsibilities.

WZZM-TV reported that Furbeck had been the executive director of admissions since January of 2019.

The 58 students received a message that they were awarded the Centralis Scholars Award, which, according to the website, covers full tuition, fees, room and board for all four years and a $5,000 study-away award.

According to a statement released by the university and shared with WZZM, "CMU sincerely regrets this mistake and understands the disappointment and anger these students and their families must be feeling."

Newsweek reported that the message was sent while testing new technology over the weekend, so students logged into the system at that time saw the news.

Speaking to WZZM, Parker Christensen, a high school senior who received the message, said sending out a test form the day the scholarship was set to be announced was "totally wrong."

"They should have tested way before, and second off, testing it through the students was so confusing," he said.

Christensen added to WTAE-TV that learning the scholarship was a mistake was heartbreaking.

"Getting that phone call, my heart sank," Christensen said. "I was second-guessing even going to CMU....I was just angry and disappointed in what they did to me and other 57 other students."

The university describes the program as "a comprehensive, immersive academic program" in which top CMU faculty educate "in a variety of settings from Mt. Pleasant's campus, to the Appalachian Trail, to places like Bermuda, Florence, and Beijing."

The scholarship is awarded to high school seniors who have already been admitted to the university and meet the minimum 3.7 GPA requirement.

Central Michigan University
Fifty-eight prospective Central Michigan University students who were mistakenly told they had won full-ride scholarships that include room and board have received an apology from the school as well as offers of full-tuition scholarships. Above, the campus on August 31, 2005, in Mount Pleasant. Al Goldis/AP Photo