Share This Page

Glitch informs high schoolers of Utah scholarships they didn't qualify for

| Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 10:18 p.m.

OREM, Utah — The offer seemed too good to be true: A four-year scholarship at Utah Valley University just for the asking.

Turns out, it was a mistake that disappointed hundreds of parents and students.

“I told my parents that I have this free ride to UVU, and even though it's not my top option, they're like, ‘Well, you're going to UVU,'” recalled Sarah Payne, a high school senior.

Administrators at Utah Valley University apologized and blamed the confusion on a clerical error discovered after they had alerted 300 high school seniors they were eligible for a full tuition award worth $4,122 a year.

“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 told the Deseret News in a story published Thursday.

She responded to the Jan. 11 offer from UVU President Matthew Holland by paying a $35 application fee.

“I put it on Facebook, of course, and on Twitter,” Schneider said.

University officials said the scholarship is actually based on grades and academic achievement testing, but only the test scores were considered while sending the scholarship notices.

“This is an extremely rare occurrence, but due to an unfortunate, technical glitch in our system, some individuals received scholarship offer letters who did not qualify for the scholarship,” university spokesman Chris Taylor said.

Schneider is now applying to nearby Brigham Young University in Provo but won't rule out UVU, which is offering all the disappointed students a chance at winning other scholarships and waiving a Feb. 1 deadline to apply for the awards.

Utah Valley University has more than 28,000 students, making it Utah's second-largest after the University of Utah. UVU boasts that its tuition is a bargain — “little more than half of the national average,” according to the school's website.

Payne, however, said the school wasn't her top choice.

She has since been accepted at Utah State University with a scholarship, and BYU — the private school of choice for members of the Mormon church — remains near the top of her list.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.