Article Lead Image

zimmytws/Shutterstock @lantie/TikTok (Licensed)

‘I guess I’ll enroll in a payment plan’: Student says university threatened to withhold her diploma if she didn’t pay her balance of 1 cent

'Make sure to ask them to mail you a receipt.'


Vladimir Supica


Posted on Feb 20, 2023

In a viral TikTok video, a student shared her frustration after receiving an email from Washington State University’s bursar’s office about an outstanding balance on her account. The email warned that failure to pay could result in late fees and even a hold on her diploma.


This is so college

♬ original sound – Lantie

The student @lantie expresses her panic in the video, saying, “That’s terrifying! I’m panicking! What charge is this? How much is this? I have like $90 in my bank account, how am I going to pay this?”

However, the situation turned out to be more comical than serious as she revealed that the outstanding balance was just one penny. In a sarcastic tone, she says, “Do you not think you could just let this one go? I mean, I guess I’ll enroll in a payment plan. I have a penny just laying around. I’ll walk in person and give it to them.”

The video sparked a discussion in the comments section, with many users sharing their own stories of being threatened over tiny amounts of money. One user said, “My apartment management threatened me with eviction over $0.07. The ridiculousness of capitalism.”

Another user suggested that the student should sarcastically ask for a receipt after paying the balance, writing, “Make sure to ask them to mail you a receipt.”

A third user added a humorous take explaining the absurdity of the situation, saying, “The energy cost to craft, send, transit, receive, and display that email cost more.”

Another TikTok user, @jo_sif, previously shared a similar experience where he was asked to pay an outstanding balance of just $2 by his university, as reported by this Daily Dot article.

While many found the video humorous, it also highlights the absurdity of institutions threatening students over such minuscule amounts of money. In an era where many students struggle to pay for their education, the notion of a university holding a diploma hostage over one penny seems particularly ridiculous. However, the student’s lighthearted response to the situation serves as a reminder that sometimes, the best way to deal with life’s absurdities is to laugh about them.

The Daily Dot has reached out to @lantie via TikTok direct message and to Washington State Univesity via their press email.

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Share this article
*First Published: Feb 20, 2023, 1:51 pm CST