The University of Queensland has withdrawn scholarships it offered to 400 prospective students from low-income families, saying it was a mistake.

Hundreds of students from poor backgrounds who were offered scholarships with the University of Queensland on Christmas Eve have been told it’s all a mistake and they won’t get any financial help after all.

The university has apologised for incorrectly offering 399 prospective students from low-income families UQ-Link Access scholarships valued at $3000 a year for up to four years.

UQ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Joanne Wright blamed an administrative error.

“The university regrets any disappointment or distress caused by this error,” Prof Wright said in a written statement.

“Only a limited number of scholarships are available each year and these are awarded in order of academic merit to approved UQ-Link Access students.”

The Courier-Mail newspaper says the wrong students were sent emails offering the scholarship.

Those affected were notified of the error last week and were sent an apology.

Parents, students and friends posted comments on UQ’s Facebook site, including one woman who said a friend’s daughter was affected by the bungle.

“This has left this young lady extremely upset understandably and has left her future dreams in tatters,” she wrote.

The university promised a review into the error and said it has put in place additional checks and balances to guard against human error.