No, getting hit by a car won’t pay your tuition


Photo by Alyssa Smith

Maddie Nolan, Staff Writer

It might be time to start looking both ways when crossing the street on campus.

Walk through any college campus and you will hear students say things like, “Hit me, pay for my tuition,” and “Maybe I’ll just get hit by a car and get my tuition paid for.”

While most students are probably not serious when they say they would rather be hit by a car than go to class, this urban legend has been around universities for a many years now. Some students actually say that they would get hit by a car to pay for their thousand of dollars debts. 

Legend has it that if a student is struck on campus by a car or bus, their tuition will be paid for by the university. This rumor has made its way across college campuses since the 1990s, but for the most part, is completely false.

“While we hope no students (faculty or staff) is ever hit by vehicles on campus, it would not result having tuition paid,” Dean of Students Jennifer Hammat said. 

Although USI doesn’t have anything in their handbook specifically stating what would happen if a student was struck on campus, some colleges do offer a small refund if a student is hit by a bus on campus and are unable to attend classes for the rest of the year.

It is stated in the Student Rights and Responsibilities that “USI bears no responsibility for the financial obligations of individual students or student organizations. Any debts incurred, either on or off campus by students or student groups, will be the responsibility of the student or the organization and its leadership.”

The truth is  many campuses don’t have any policies regarding these circumstances.

This legend falls under the term “pass by catastrophe.” This is an academic urban legend idea that says if a particular catastrophic event happens, students that could be affected are automatically compensated for their trouble. This could either be an automatic award of passing grades or eliminated tuition costs.

“If I was hit in the crosswalk by a university bus I would expect USI to at least reimburse me for the current semester if I was in the hospital and unable to attend classes,” Freshman Natalie Schimp said. 

 Other myths of this issue include students  receiving a bachelor’s degree if the campus burns down or if a roommate suddenly dies, the other will receive all A’s.

Since the growth of social media, These myths have been popularized along with a general disposition that encourages students to believe in anything less than studying and has only been amplified by the growth of social media.

USI, as well as universities such as the University of Wisoncsin – Madison,Rutgers University, Cornell University, and more do not have policies confirming these, much to students’ dismay. 

“I think that people should watch where they are walking, but bus drivers are also responsible for safe driving,” Sophomore Noah Floyd said.

Floyd, like many other students, believed that this myth of free tuition was true.

“If there is a non-serious injury, I think that some compensation should be awarded, say maybe one year’s tuition,” he said. “Serious injury that will affect them later in life should be awarded full tuition. If there is little to no injury, they should receive at least a formal apology.”