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CMU's admissions director out of job after scholarship error

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Posted at 3:25 PM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 15:29:46-05

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Central Michigan University’s admissions director is out of a job after 58 prospective students were mistakenly told they had won full-ride scholarships.

Central Michigan University confirms that its admissions director Lee Furbeck is no longer employed by the university. The university told FOX 17 that Vice President of Student Recruitment and Retention Jennifer Dehaemers has taken over the responsibilities of the executive director of admissions.

The departure comes just days after the university said 58 prospective students were notified while accessing the school’s portal that they had won the Centralis Scholars Award. The prestigious award covers full tuition, room and board, books and a $5,000 study award.

But on Wednesday, the school said the message had gone out by mistake while testing new technology.

“While testing a new messaging technology over the weekend, CMU staff inadvertently posted a message about the prestigious Centralis Scholar Award that was seen by students who were logged into the system at that time,” said school spokesman Aaron Mills. “CMU deeply regrets the disappointment and frustration this mistake caused for students and their families.”

It was an obvious letdown for the students who received the notice, but on Thursday, CMU told FOX 17 that each student involved in the mistake would receive an annual scholarship worth the full amount of tuition — $12,750 per year.

CMU’s president sent an email to students addressing the situation on Friday.

“Let me be clear: These are outstanding prospective students, and each of them is deserving of scholarship support. Every applicant to the Centralis competition was already eligible to receive other CMU scholarships, including the Maroon and Gold Award. They were chosen to compete for Centralis because they demonstrated exceptional scholarly achievement and a passion for learning, service and leadership. Each will make a wonderful addition to our community of scholars if they choose to attend CMU.

Will this cost us additional money? Yes. As we do every year for a variety of reasons, we will find ways to slightly adjust our budget. I can tell you with confidence that we will award these scholarships from our general fund without using donor dollars or shifting resources away from the budget for any division or department on campus. This will not negatively impact current students or employees, or other future students — including the students who were selected to receive Centralis and Centralis Gold awards.”

CMU would not say whether Furbeck’s departure from the university is related to the scholarship situation, stating that the school “does not discuss personnel issues.