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Registrar glitch incorrectly made some students academically ineligible

The program that the Office of the University Registrar runs to correct academic eligibility when changes are made in students’ records had a glitch that caused some students to be incorrectly listed as academically ineligible.

On Dec. 19, the program ran at midnight, but the registrar’s office did not notice the mistake until the morning of Dec. 20.

“We know a general idea of how many updates we should see from these nightly jobs, and once we saw that number not in alignment, I simply reached out to ITS,” said University Registrar Chris Derickson.

Derickson said he was informed about the problem and worked with Information Technology Services, who identified the exact bug, to confirm the issue of inaccurate information on ConnectCarolina.

By noon on Dec. 20, all students’ academic eligibilities were corrected.

Derickson emailed more than 900 students who had logged onto ConnectCarolina in the 12 hour time period to ensure all students who might have seen incorrect information were contacted.

Freshman Marcus Wallace said he was listed as ineligible but had met all the requirements and felt it had to be a glitch.

“My heart dropped,” he said. “I was really scared.”

Freshman Nishanth Shah said he checked his academic eligibility on Dec. 18 and was in good standing, but he was ineligible when he looked again.

“I asked a bunch of my friends their GPA, and they’re like, ‘4.0,’ and they’re all ineligible, so I was like, ‘all right something’s wrong,’” Shah said.

Shah sent an email to Chancellor Carol Folt, but he received an email from Derickson shortly after explaining the issue and error in the system.

Starting in fall 2014, students must have at least a 2.0 grade point average and a set minimum number of credit hours completed after each semester to maintain good academic standing.

“This semester I wasn’t suspect to be ineligible or on probation, but if someone were to be really close, that’s definitely really scary,” Wallace said. “It’s a giant glitch.”

Because of the new factor when calculating academic eligibility, the committee that discusses academic eligibility was responsible for implementing the changes in the programming, Derickson said.

Derickson said more tests could have been done to prevent the error from happening and that they will not run that specific nightly job until they know it’s working correctly.

“The good news is it’s a learning experience with a minimal impact on our students,” he said.

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