Administrative bungling has cost over 200 prospective students places at Belvedere Technical Teachers' College after the institution failed to enroll them even though they received admission letters.
The students were turned away for the past three days after arriving for the first term studies.
College authorities reportedly told the prospective students that they had surpassed required enrolment figures.
Most of the affected students had been asked to pay US$100 deposit fees.
Some had even paid the required US$520 tuition and boarding fees.
Non-resident students pay US$340.
The college gave the students acceptance letters a few days after the interviews held in September last year
BTTC acting principal Mr Patrick Chinhoro yesterday confirmed the bungling.
He said the college was refunding some of the affected students while others were being re-deployed to other sections.
Mr Chinhoro said the college accommodated 650 students but ended up having more than 800 accepted students.
"Yes, there was some misunderstanding between the students and the school authorities but we have managed to solve the problem and we are refunding those who had paid deposits and some who had paid full fees," he said.
He said there was no option but to refund the affected prospective students.
"We are sorry that some innocent students were affected but we turned the students away after realising that we had over-enrolled.
"Further investigations showed us that most of the people had forged acceptance letters while others had photocopied the fees-structure."
He said they would not report to the police those who forged acceptance letters because the systems at the institution needed tightening.
"It is the system that is faulty and because I am new in the office, I think such a situation has been going on for years and we want to rectify that. Students should come through the principal's office not through anyone else as before."
Mr Chinhoro said those with acceptance letters should have obtained the fees structure from the principal's office.
"After getting the offer letter, we ascertain the number of people we are enrolling that year when the students come to collect the fees structure and in this case they should have done so and paid the deposit by the end of December," he said.
Mr Chinhoro said those in need of refunds should visit the institution with official receipts.
"We have no problems with refunding them and it is only a matter of producing proof of payment. We are doing this in consultation with our parent ministry and we have notified them of the problem.
"As for some who are producing evidence that they attended the interviews, we are taking them on board. There is now normalcy and if you visit the college now you will see that the chaos has disappeared."
Some of the affected students told The Herald that they had secured study leave at their various workplaces only to be told that they no longer had places.
"The fact that they had given us acceptance letters and told us to pay deposits was enough guarantee that we had secured places," said one of the students who declined to be named.
"What am I going to do with the leave days I had secured? They should have stopped us when we went to pay the deposits."
Other students accused college authorities of corruption, saying those who had secured the places had paid "kick-backs".
"They knew the actual number of people they wanted, and what was the purpose of enrolling more students when we had done the interviews?
"It means something is going on in those offices and we urge Government to look into the issue," another student said.
Some of the affected students had come from areas such as Buhera, Chiredzi and Karoi.
Another student added: "Who is going to cover for all the expenses I incurred since the time of the interviews? If you do not pay them anything then you know you do not have a place."
The prospective students said the most affected were those that had applied for Mathematics, Science and Geography. BTTC enrolls students for academic and technical teacher training programmes.