CHEYENNE - Sales of the brown and gold University of Wyoming license plate have topped $280,000 since the special plate became available a year ago.
Nearly 3,000 of the plates have been sold. Proceeds go to the university for scholarships. Besides the $30 charge for a special license plate, the fee for the UW plate is $100.
"We had to sell 1,000 or be discontinued. We sold that many in the first month and a half, or maybe even the first month," said Rep. James Slater, R-Laramie, primary sponsor of the specialty UW plate bill.
Slater said he'd like to see 5,000 plates sold to raise $500,000 for scholarships.
The program is funding nine, four-year scholarships this semester. Two scholarships are going to nontraditional students and one to the grandchild of a UW graduate. Also, scholarships are being awarded to a student seeking a second bachelor's degree and to a student enrolled in an off-campus degree program.
The university and UW alumni board plan to look at whether money will be available to expand the scholarship programs, according to Robbie Darnall, director of the UW Alumni Association.
"We know things will slow down a little bit. We're just trying to get a feel on how much money we'll have to last us until license plates renewals will be due in 2016," Darnall said.
Slater's specialty UW plate bill failed twice before the Legislature passed it. One year, the bill failed because it directed proceeds to the alumni association.
The state constitution requires that license fee proceeds go to a state agency. Slater said that by the time the legal snag was pointed out, it was too late to change the bill.
"The next time around we checked with the attorney general and had our ducks in order and we were able to get it through," Slater said.
The bill directs all proceeds to the UW Board of Trustees.