Florida A&M is ranked as one of the top sellers of specialty license plates in the state for 2009. FAMU’s sales greatly outnumbered a series of other Florida schools, including Bethune-Cookman University and the University of North Florida, for overall number sold in the state.
FAMU’s specialty license plate program has been in place since 1987, with steadily increasing sales since 2005. Sales peaked this past year, with the DMV selling a total of 21, 594 tags.
According to a recent report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s Web site, FAMU sold a total of 1,572 license plates in January 2010 alone. FAMU currently has four counties, including Miami-Dade, Orange, Hillsborough and Duval, which have sold over 100 specialty plates in the new year. Leon County currently has the highest record of license plates sold per county, with a total of 337 specialty plates sold in January.
All monies received from the sale of these tags go directly to FAMU. Connie McCaskill, the chief deputy of operations of customer service for the Leon County Tax Collector’s Office, said the department does not have records of the allocation of the funds once the tags are sold.
“What we do is if someone comes in and wants to buy a FAMU tag, we give the form to fill out to order that tag and we sell the tag,” McCaskill said. “We don’t have records of [the monetary distribution from FAMU license tags].”
Carla Willis, vice president of FAMU’s University Relations and executive director of the FAMU Foundation, said that the revenue received from the license plates is an important contributor to the school’s Presidential Scholarship funds.
“We have some private donations that come in to support the presidential scholars, but then we also have some of the funding that comes from the license plate revenue,” said Willis.
According to Willis, 85 percent of the money received goes specifically towards presidential scholarships. Nearly 15 percent of proceeds go toward development and enhancement support, funding trips and events to garner support from private donors. The success of the sales of these tags enabled the school to fund scholarship tours like the one FAMU gave during March of last year, awarding $554,000 in scholarships to students across Florida.
With a laugh, Willis added that she owns two FAMU license plates “on both cars.”