Justin Reash, Community Editor

Like most other colleges and universities, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) produces vanity plates that bear Miami University’s logo.

Since 1998, Miami-sponsored vanity plates have been available to the public to show off school spirit. Vanity plates seem like a fun way to show pride, but they are also very lucrative for the university.

According to the BMV, there is a $35 annual fee for anyone who owns a vanity plate. In Miami’s case, $25 of that annual fee goes to the university’s general scholarship fund, according to Director of Annual Giving Emily Berry.

The general scholarship fund is run through the financial aid office and is used to distribute aid to various university-sanctioned scholarships, according to Berry.

Unlike other schools, however, Miami provides two types of vanity plates with various designs and layouts.

“A couple of years ago, we were notified by the Ohio BMV that they would allow more than one logo choice, and we took full advantage of that,” Berry said.

With the annual fee being charged to every owner of a Miami plate, the university has accumulated more than half a million dollars since the inception of the program.

“Since 1998 through 2010, the university has accrued $539,225 through this program,” Berry said.

Add about another expected $55,000 from more than 2,000 plates sold in 2011 and the university has a windfall of surprising revenue. In fact, since 1998, the BMV has sold 22,951 Miami vanity plates.

School pride goes farther than just showing it on your plate, according to Berry.

“Several years ago, we were given the numbers of license plates sold from each school across the state and Miami consistently came in second to only Ohio State University,” Berry said.

The number of plates sold has increased every year, and this source of school pride and university revenue has students excited.

“I never really knew there were Miami vanity plates available to buy,” Senior Andy Solalda said. “However, I do think it is a great way to show your school spirit and if the fees only go to the general scholarship fund then I totally support it.”