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Success of UW License Plate Program Means More Scholarships

January 16, 2015
license plate with gold background and brown bucking horse and numbers
The new UW license plates, featuring a gold background and brown lettering, will be available starting in 2017.

Since the program started in 2008, more than 6,200 brown-and-gold license plates have been sold to Wyoming motorists, generating $624,000 for scholarships that have helped dozens of students attend the University of Wyoming.

The program is so successful that the UW Board of Trustees today (Friday) approved a change in UW regulations to award 10 new scholarships annually with brown-and-gold license plate revenues.

“By all measures, the UW license plate program has been successful. UW students have benefited significantly from the financial aid, and the university has benefited from the pride that over 6,000 UW alumni and friends display by putting these plates on their automobiles,” says Keener Fry, executive director of the UW Alumni Association (UWAA), which administers the program. “It’s exciting to be able to provide additional scholarship opportunities as a result of the program’s success.”

The 10 newly created scholarships are $1,500 annual awards for three years for students transferring from Wyoming community colleges to UW. The intent is to award one scholarship to at least one student from each community college every year.

"These scholarships for transfer students are but the latest demonstration of the tangible commitments that UW is making to ensuring Wyoming community college students can seamlessly transfer to UW and find the support and guidance they need to be successful,” says Jim Rose, executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission.

The scholarships for community college transfers to UW are in addition to nine existing four-year scholarships of $1,500 each awarded annually to first-year UW students; and three scholarships of $1,500 awarded annually to nontraditional students. By the end of 2016, more than 90 students will have received these scholarships.

In addition, license plate revenues provide one award of $3,000 for a recognized UW student organization each year. By the end of 2016, a total of $24,000 will have been distributed to multiple student organizations.

After initially authorizing the program to run through 2016, the Wyoming State Legislature in 2012 changed state statutes to automatically renew it on Jan. 1, 2017. The UWAA has been given the authority to manage the program, including marketing and sales of the license plates, depositing the funds in an authorized account, and overseeing the scholarship application and student selection process.

The new scholarships are possible because of a growing balance in the program’s scholarship account. The UWAA projects the balance will reach over $323,000 by June 30, 2016.

“Given the financial success of the program with the surplus from the first cycle and the expected enthusiasm from UW alumni and friends in the state to continue the program, we believe there is the financial capacity to support additional new scholarships for UW students,” Fry says.

Owners of vehicles who want to register or renew their registration for the brown-and-gold plates may submit applications available at A one-time fee of $130 is required with the plate application; $100 of that goes to student scholarships and programming expenditures, with the other $30 going to the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

WYDOT officials have indicated that a new plate design is in the works with a gold background and brown lettering.

The current plates featuring a brown background with gold lettering will expire on Dec. 31, 2016. License plate holders will have the opportunity to retain their current numbers and receive the new plates by paying a one-time $100 fee, plus the $30 registration fee. All of the proceeds from the $100 fee will go into the scholarship account.

For more information or to purchase license plates, call the UWAA at (307) 766-4166.

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