University chaos after IT glitch hits computing places

 

Nearly 400 students face an agonising wait after they were given places at a university in Northern Ireland, only to be later told the offers were made in error.

The University of Ulster's Faculty of Computing and Engineering blamed the gaffe on an IT glitch which saw all those who had applied for a place being told that they were accepted.

The plans of the 370 students have now been thrown into chaos as the university reviews the applications, though some said they had already turned down other opportunities.

Vice Chancellor Professor Richard Barnett said: " I deeply regret that this mistake has been made and apologise on behalf of the University of Ulster to all those affected.

"We are working to rectify the situation as quickly as possible, and when the immediate issue is resolved, we will be reviewing our procedures to ensure that a similar incident cannot occur in the future."

Professor Richard Millar, Dean of the faculty at the centre of the episode, said: "Due to a computer error, an email was mistakenly sent out informing 370 applicants to courses in the School of Engineering that they had secured a place at the university - when in reality no decision had been taken on their applications.

"The error only affects applicants to the School of Engineering at our Jordanstown campus: no other schools, faculties or campuses are affected.

"The university deeply regrets this happened and has apologised to those who received the erroneous email at this most stressful time.

"The university has contacted those applicants who received the email to advise them of our regrettable mistake, and we will also be making personal contact to offer our most sincere apologies."

The university said that the Ucas system was unaffected by the error, and advised applicants to monitor their status via Ucas until they receive a final decision. They can also contact the university admissions helpline on 02870 287028.

Northern Ireland Assembly members were critical of the mistake and said it would cause great stress to students and their families.

Sean Rogers, the SDLP's education spokesman, said: "This is a totally shambolic situation which has left many students and their families upset and uncertain.

"Not only have students had the places they were offered withdrawn but they have also missed a day of clearing to attempt to get into other courses."

He said the mistake could "have a domino effect on other students hoping to get other university places and could jeopardise the future career prospects of hundreds of young people".

Mr Rogers added: "This is a stressful enough time for teenagers and their families without these kinds of mess-ups."

Sinn Fein's Barry McElduff called on the University of Ulster to immediately clarify to individual students whether they have or have not been offered places at the campus.

"Not only has this caused immense disappointment amongst the students but also created uncertainty and confusion as to who is actually going to be offered a place at the university," he said.

"The University of Ulster needs to clarify to the students immediately at to which offer is genuine and make sure this will not be allowed to happen again."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: We are currently looking for a Geog...

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links