(CNN) - It was an exciting moment when Torrean Johnson heard from his teacher that he'd won a major scholarship through the Gates Millennium Scholars Program administered by the United Negro College Fund.
The excitement was short-lived, though.
Johnson, a student at Southwest High School in Fort Worth, Texas, received notification he hadn't won. The teacher was one of hundreds who received erroneous letters saying their students would receive full-ride scholarships, CNN affiliate WFAA reported.
A statement on the Gates Millennium Scholar website said: "UNCF deeply regrets that an error by a staff member resulted in a miscommunication to some nominators and/or recommenders for students who were not selected to receive scholarships under the 2013 Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program....we recognize the incorrect update sent to their nominators and/or recommenders created stress and disappointment for everyone involved."
In any case, Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program is not an equal opportunity or merit based process. It does not consider all students in the USA equally or on merit. GMS Program picks and chooses on criteria that are not transparent and openly admits that it services only a select group of students. So, a large number of students who face severe financial hardships and bright are ineligible, and therefore are extremely disappointed at the outset. And, the irony is that another large number of students, inclusive of those who get the scholarship are shocked, because they didn't have the promise through their performance. Nobody bothers to criticize the process, because it is after all the personal generosity of the private foundation. They can do what they please, irrespective of its credibility or fairness. However, in the interest of understanding of the effectiveness of the intended purpose, it might be interesting to study the college retention of GMS Scholars beyond the 3rd year of undergraduate studies, and the dropout rate overall. A system that does not consider a student who gets above 4.0 GPA, financially struggling, extremely committed, high teacher recommendations, several APs' and very active in sports & extracurricular activities, is not much of a credible one. Just an academic input... this!
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