Students were told the next day that the error would not "jeopardise your place to study with us"Louis Ashworth

The University’s Graduate Admission Office mistakenly withdrew postgraduate offers last weekend (22/08) as a result of technical issues regarding the upload of documents by offer holders.

The technical fault affected graduate applicants who had uploaded documents before the deadline of the 21th of August, but had not yet had their documents processed by the admissions office.

The applicants were emailed by the Graduate Admissions service at 12:30AM on August 22nd, being informed that their applications had been withdrawn because “we [the admissions office] did not receive the documents we needed in order to complete your offer conditions”. 

The email concluded with the information that students need not “worry” as they could apply again for the 2021-22 academic year.

Applicants were left with few avenues to respond to this email: Covid-19 meant that the Graduate admissions office were not taking calls, and emails were met with a bounce back informing offer-holders that they would have to wait 7-10 days for a response. 

Additionally, applicants’ Graduate Admission portal was inaccessible. When logging on applicants were met with a single page which read “your application has been withdrawn because the start date for this course has now passed.” 

Following the technical malfunction, at midday on August 22nd, the Graduate Admissions Office sent out an email informing the affected students that the withdrawal of offers had been a result of a technical mistake in their system, and that the error would not “jeopardise your place to study with us”. 


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Last Monday (24/08) the affected students’ Graduate Admissions portals had been reinstated, and the admissions service informed students that the deadline for uploading documents had been extended to September 8th. 

Multiple offer holders who were affected by the confusion spoke out over the emotional toll of having their offers temporarily removed. One prospective student told Varsity that “I broke down” upon seeing the email, while another explored retaining legal counsel over the matter. 

The withdrawal of offers particularly impacted those students who had been delaying uploading their financial liability forms until they were certain they had funding for their masters programme, a particularly problematic issue as Covid-19 has seen many university and college grants curtailed (for example Trinity, Cambridge’s richest college, emailed its students warning that future funding would be curtailed as a result of rent holidays caused by Covid-19, as rent makes up around 75% of its annual income) . One applicant stated to Varsity  that  “having worked so hard to make the MPhil financially viable, it was horrible to have that taken away.”  

When contacted for comment a University spokesperson apologised for “any distress” the error caused and continued by highlighting that “applications for all affected applicants were reinstated” and “any documents these applicants have provided to confirm their admission have continued to be processed in the normal way."

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