UB sends out roughly 5,000 erroneous acceptance emails

Miscommunication in the applicant database leads to error


Samantha Sherry received an email last Thursday saying that she had been accepted to UB. She was elated to find out that her first choice had admitted her into the university.

After calling UB’s Office of Admissions, Sherry, a Lancaster High School student, quickly found out that the university had mistakenly sent her that email and she had not been officially admitted.

UB received over 25,000 applications this year and mistakenly sent acceptance emails to 5,109 applicants earlier this week. The miscommunication occurred when an incorrect email list was generated from an applicant database, according to UB Spokesperson John Della Contrada.

“I understand that mistakes happen but still, UB was my first choice and I was so excited to find out that I had got in and then that excitement was kind of killed,” Sherry said.

UB’s admissions department will be contacting the students who received the erroneous email to inform them of their application status this week. Applications are still being reviewed and the majority of these students had incomplete applications, according to Della Contrada.

Della Contrada said this type of communication error has never happened before at UB and within three to four hours of discovering the error, UB emailed each student and offered its sincerest apologies.

He said UB’s Office of Enrollment Management has implemented “additional and strengthened internal controls to prevent future miscommunications” including “a multi-layer review of communications before they are sent.”

The university is also retraining all staff on the new controls to “ensure accurate delivery of communications to all new, prospective and returning students,” according to Della Contrada.

UB is not the first school to send erroneous acceptance letters. Johns Hopkins University sent out erroneous acceptance emails to 294 of its applicants in 2014. Carnegie Mellon University did the same thing to 800 students in 2015.

Sherry said when she called the Office of Admissions, the person assisting her was at first confused as to why she had received this email. She was eventually told that it would be another week before UB made a decision on her application.

She has yet to receive an acceptance or rejection letter.

Deanna Tee, a freshman undecided major said the mistake was unfair to the applicants.

“I think it is unfair for the students who had gotten their hopes verified,” she said.

Tee said UB administration should be more organized to ensure that this will not happen again.

Robert Rondinaro, a senior political science major, said he would have felt terrible if he received the email. Both Rondinaro and Tee said it wasn’t the university’s intention and that mistakes happen.

Sherry said she feels sorry for the other students that also received the erroneous email and hopes that UB improves their communication in the future.

“It was a very unfortunate error and the university has apologized to those who were affected,” Della Contrada said in an email. 

Della Contrada said UB’s Office of Financial Aid is adjusting its procedures to ensure this won’t happen ever again.

Ashley Inkumsah contributing reporting to this story.

Hannah Stein is a senior news editor and can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com