Student With ‘Cinderella-Like Transformation’ Discovered To Have Received Million Dollar Student Aid Mistake

Talk about a bank error in your favor. An economically disadvantaged student, that was supposed to get a modest monthly university financial aid stipend of $100 for books and food, was accidentally given $1 million.

According to CNN News, the money was sent to the student’s school debit card. By the time the university discovered the mistake, the South African student had already spent around $60,000 on a life-changing makeover.

Identified as Sibongile Mani by the Daily Mail, the 27-year-old university student at Walter Sisulu University in Eastern Cape province, went on a 72-day spending splurge — and she brought along her close, personal friends for the ride.

Her new look started out with her attire. She went from drab to fab with a new wardrobe of expensive designer duds. Then, she went high-end with a spendy transformation of her hair. She exchanged her usual cornrows for Peruvian weaves that cost over $240 for each salon visit.

Mani was not about to to ruin her new look with an old school flip phone. She purchased a brand new iPhone 7, to complete her transformation.

Yet, the spending spree did not end here. Mani generously gave her pals new clothes as well.

Now, all living the high life, the beautifully attired group enjoyed $64 bottles of whiskey. Mani took the party all over the country, as she paid for all of her pals to attend “wild parties,” paying for flights and other expenses.

Clearly, other students noticed the transformation. One student explained how sudden Mani’s transformation occurred. She went from struggling, to a bottomless pit of excess money.

“She went from a hard up, humdrum run-of-the-mill student to one who was leading a lavish lifestyle and seemed to have no bottom to her purse and lived the high life.”

Clearly, the new millionaire got the attention of others, as well as their ire, when students discovered where the money actually came from.

“She became very glamorous in beautiful dresses with all the accessories and we thought she must have won the Lottery. She must have thought she had won it too when she got that cash.”

It could be assumed that authorities realized their mistake when they noticed that they were a million dollars short. That was not the case. It was another student that alerted authorities when she noticed the “Cinderella-like transformation” of Mani. Suspicious, the astute student contacted the school that something appeared to be amiss.

Should Mani, who, ironically, is studying accounting, have realized that this would end badly? There was a clear paper trail from the mistake of the transfer of funds, to where she spent the money.

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Sibongile Mani insists she is innocent. She went to social media to tell her side of the story.

“Today my personal life has become a social media scandal. I have been named and shamed in public. Today, I am a bad person, a person who stole the money of students. With that being said, and being named a thief, but as we all know in every story there is truth and there are lies with the very same story.”

She insists that she is not a thief, and that she reported the mistake to the Student Representative Councils (SRC). Yet, she states that the SRC, who were made aware of the situation when it first occurred, now remain silent on this matter for “political” reasons.

Although Mani has now gone into hiding and has left Facebook, her troubles remain. She is under full investigation, and there will be legal action taken against her. As of now, she is required to pay back every penny she spent. She may have to face other expenses or penalties when this is all over with.

Do you think the school should make the student return the $60,000 that she spent? Do you think that because the student said she contacted the school that she should not be charged with anything? What would you have done if you received a million dollars too much? Please share your thoughts below.

[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]