The University of Kentucky mistakenly emailed 500,000 high school seniors an acceptance letter to the school’s clinical leadership and management program in the College of Health Sciences, which typically admits only 35 to 40 students a year. 

According to WLEX-TV, the phony acceptance email was sent to prospective students on March 15 saying, “We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the selective Clinical and Management program in the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences for the Fall 2021.”

Less than 24 hours later, UK apologized in another email, citing its error as a “technical issue.”

“Only a handful of those on the prospect list had been admitted to UK,” Jay Blanton, the university’s Chief Communications Officer, told the Herald-Leader. “The vast majority had not, nor had the vast majority of these students expressed an interest in the program. Nevertheless, we regret the communication error and have sent correspondence to all those who were contacted, offering our apologies.”

Blanton explained that the emails were sent using the school’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool.

“Think of it as a much more sophisticated tool than say MailChimp to send a newsletter. There has to be a platform for distribution – whether a current student or one we may be recruiting. It is a common practice in higher education,” Blanton said. “So, the student could have indicated they were interested in UK at some point or they may have sent an application. There are a number of ways we would have their contact information.”

UK has maintained that all students who should have been admitted received their acceptance letters.