Complete with the official Wittenberg Seal, motto and university name, the Wittenberg license plate continues to attract attention around Ohio.
Last year alone, 183 Wittenberg plates could be found cruising around the state, 33 more than the 150 minimum order the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) requires of each institution to produce the specialized college tags.
Richele Shepard ’96, and her husband, Jeff Smith ’96, of Springfield purchased their Wittenberg plates shortly after graduation. “I’m proud to be a Wittenberg alum, and I wanted to show it,” Shepard said.
But Shepard and Smith may be two of the last to sport Wittenberg tags if the minimum is not met by Dec. 31, 2000. As of June, only 98 Wittenberg tags can be found on the roadways, 83 of which were renewals from last year.
Thirty five Ohio schools, including Oberlin College, Denison University, John Carroll University and Defiance College, have already retired their plates this year after failing to meet the BMV minimum.
Thirty-four other specialty plates, all belonging to Ohio colleges or universities, have also been canceled since 1998, according to Associated Press reports.
The apparent lack of interest in purchasing college tags could be tied to cost factors. College plates cost an additional $35, $25 of which goes toward scholarships with the remaining $10 going to the BMV.
Some taxing districts, however, hook an extra fee ranging from $0-20 onto their plates for road maintenance and repair. Tiger fans in these municipalities must pay the regular tag fee and the special plates cost in addition to their district’s charge.
Since August 1992, when the program began, Wittenberg has received $4,575 toward scholarships.
Fifteen new plates have been purchased so far this year, according to the BMV, and previously issued state plates can be returned to a local deputy and credited for the purchase of Wittenberg plates.
However, should the program be cancelled this year, all is not lost. At any time after the cancellation of college plates, 150 signatures of those willing to buy the plates will bring the program back up to speed.