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Funds from Aggie License Plate Sales Set to Nearly Double Legacy Scholarship

Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017

The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman for inclusion in Utah State Today.

By Bobbee RussellUSU Statesman, Monday, Nov. 27, 2017 

The nearly 7,000 Aggie license plates on the road in Utah are more than just a statement of pride — they provide money for current students at Utah State University, as well.

Money from Aggie license plates is used to fund a small scholarship for students whose parent, grandparent or great-great-grandparent graduated from Utah State University.

USU students who are residents of the state of Utah and who qualify for the legacy scholarship received $250 to pay for tuition or other university expenses for the Fall 2017 semester, all paid for by license plates.

And next fall, university officials say that amount will nearly double.

“For fall 2018, it looks like we are going to be able to award each student who applies about $400 for their fall semester that they can use towards tuition or towards their on-campus costs,” said Craig Whyte, the university’s associate director of recruitment and enrollment.

For Whyte and Josh Paulsen, director of strategic partnerships at the USU Alumni Association, the buck doesn’t stop there.

“We would like to see that number increase,” Paulsen said.

The difficult part, Whyte said, is that it’s hard to know the exact amount students will receive for the legacy scholarship because Aggie license plate sales and applicants vary year-to-year.  

Aggie license plates are marketed toward Utah State University alumni who reside in the state of Utah.

Paulsen said recent efforts for more Aggie license plate sales consisted of reaching out to the 50 to 150 alumni moving back to Utah each month by sending them a postcard encouraging them to purchase an Aggie license plate rather than a standard one.

USU alumni pay an annual cost of $25, compared to Brigham Young University alumni, who pay $35 annually, and University of Utah graduates, who pay $40 per year.

Aggie license plates are made possible through a partnership with the Utah Department of Motor Vehicles.

As of February 2016, there are 6,951 Aggie license plates around the state of Utah and many contributing alumni have multiple cars with Aggie license plates, Paulsen said.

Aggie plates are only available in Utah, but Paulsen said alumni in Texas have requested that USU plates be made available there.

“We hear from USU alumni [in Texas] who are going to church or something and see BYU plates,” Paulsen said.  

Paulsen said they tried to bring Aggie license plates to Texas through a private company called MyPlates, but the agreement was too expensive.  

“It would have ended up costing us money to have plates there,” Paulsen said. “It is unfortunate we haven’t been able to do that because it wouldn’t make financial sense yet.”

Students often get confused when discussing alumni scholarships, Whyte said. Money available to students through legacy funds comes in the form of the legacy scholarship — paid for by license plate sales.

That scholarship is for students who are residents of Utah only, he said.

“The legacy scholarship is cash that pays to a student’s account,” Whyte said. “We are not waiving the tuition — there’s money raised or earned that can be payed towards a student’s tuition,” Whyte said.

Separately, out-of-state students whose parent, grandparent or great-great-grandparent graduated from USU can be awarded a legacy tuition waiver if the student applies and if specific criteria are met.

Based on GPA and index score requirements, the legacy waiver takes away 50 to 70 percent of non-Utah resident tuition costs.

Brendon Brady, the USU Student Association Student Alumni Association vice president, said he thinks he’s seen Aggie license plates the most in Cache Valley and Salt Lake.

“A lot of people are really proud to have gone to Utah State,” Brady said. “I’ve heard a lot of stories of people in the airport seeing others with Aggie gear on and bonding over it.”

Alumni may know nothing about each other, but they have the shared experience of going to Utah State, Brady said.  

“I think that’s what license plates do — connect Aggies,” he said.

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