Battle of the plates: Which university reps the most school spirit on license plates?

The Cosmobile has a special group license plate with a BYU logo. BYU ranks third for the most collegiate license plates in the state. (Kate Parrish)

The minivan stereotype is frequently applied to BYU students and alumni due to the number of large families that live in Utah. However, data shows trucks are where the majority of BYU fans rep their pride for their school. 

According to the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles, 2,168 BYU fans have collegiate license plates on their trucks compared to the 1,872 BYU plates on standard cars, the minivan category.

In 2006, The Daily Universe did a story on special group plates and presented the figures of which Utah-based schools have the most collegiate plates. The University of Utah had the most collegiate plates in the state followed by Utah State University, and in third was BYU.

Since 2006, BYU has seen a 62% increase in its number of collegiate plates with a total of 4,078. Despite BYU’s significant jump, it was not enough to surpass either of the schools ahead of them.

The updated data from September 2021 revealed the same rankings seen in 2006. However, all three schools have increased their number of collegiate plates. University of Utah had a 57.6% increase and now has 13,923 collegiate plates.

The Transportation Interim Committee met at the Utah legislature on Oct. 20, 2021, to listen to a presentation from DMV director Monte Roberts. Roberts presented the numbers and processes for special group license plates. 

“The fifth and largest group is our ‘support’ group, this consists of a total of 40 plates that are issued,” Roberts said.

Collegiate license plates fall under the “support plates” category. Roberts said that the support group is the largest because it generates funds for a specific reason.

According to the Utah DMV’s webpage on BYU license plates, “the contributions from this plate are deposited into the school’s scholarship fund and provide scholarships to BYU students each year.”

The BYU special group plates cost $35 purchase plus an additional $35 every year after. Based on how many plates there currently are, these plates bring in about $142,700 for BYU scholarships.

The University of Utah charges $40 per plate with the same charge annually. Based on how many plates there are and how much the annual fees are, these collegiate plates bring in approximately half a million dollars each year for the university.

Although Utah State University, The University of Utah and BYU dominate the state in plates, they are not found in every county. Each school is present in every county except for two. The two counties from which they are missing vary depending on the school. There are no BYU collegiate plates located in Grand County and Piute County.

Although BYU plates can’t be found in those counties, it is no surprise that BYU has the most plates in Utah County where BYU is located. In this competition, The University of Utah has 877 plates while BYU surpasses them with 1,951.

Despite Wasatch County’s close proximity to Provo, BYU does not have the most plates there. BYU only has 72 plates and The University of Utah has double the amount, with 144 plates.

BYU has the most plates in the following cities: Provo, Springville and Provo Canyon. BYU has no competition in Provo Canyon as there is only one collegiate plate there and it represents its cougar pride.

All data on numbers and locations of collegiate plates were obtained from the Utah DMV through a GRAMA request.

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