Published Friday, 17 August 2012
Almost 400 students were offered places at the University of Ulster Jordanstown. (© Pacemaker)
The 370 applicants affected applied for places within the School of Engineering at the university.
The university issued an apology on Thursday and blamed a "computer error".
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."
An earlier statement from the university read: "Due to a computer error, an email was mistakenly sent out informing applicants they had secured a place at the University in the School of Engineering, when in reality no decision had been taken on their applications."
It continued: "When a decision is made it will be communicated to UCAS and you will be able to see the update in the UCAS Track website.
"If you have not received an update in Track by August 24, you should get in touch with us directly by emailing: email@example.com.
"The University has contacted those applicants who received the email to advise them of the situation."
Minister for Employment and Learning Dr Stephen Farry said the error is "a matter of huge concern and considerable distress".
"I have spoken to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ulster, Richard Barnett, to express my concerns and to discuss how the problem can be most effectively addressed.
"I have also commissioned an urgent report from my own officials and will continue to monitor this situation closely."
The Alliance minister said that his department will do all they can to assist.
SDLP Education spokesperson Sean Rogers said the mistake could jeopardise the future career prospects of hundreds of students.
"This is a totally shambolic situation which has left many students and their families upset and uncertain," the South Down MLA said.
"Not only have students had the places they were offered withdrawn, but they have also missed a day of clearing to attempt to get into other courses.
"This is a stressful enough time for teenagers and their families without these kinds of mess-ups."
Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff urged the University of Ulster to immediately clarify to individual students whether or not they have secured a place on their course of choice.
"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 as to which offer is genuine and make sure this will not be allowed to happen again."
© UTV News