The only college or university - public or private - to not have its own custom Idaho license plate, the College of Western Idaho (CWI) in Nampa, may soon be able to benefit from the dollars that program brings in. One of the state's most powerful lawmakers, Rep. Darrell Bolz, R-Caldwell, met with the president of the college last week to discuss the issue. Bolz told IdahoReporter.com that it is likely that CWI will get its own plate during the next legislative session, though other sources say a bill to do that isn't necessary.
Bolz said that in his meeting with CWI's president, Dr. Bert Glandon, the issue came up and the president was in full support of creating the plate. "I talked with him and he was fine with it," Bolz said. Glandon will get Bolz an artist's rendering of CWI's logo, which is necessary for the proposal to create the plate. From there, creating the plate could take two routes. The first runs through the Legislature, which approved two new custom plates in the 2010 legislative session. The second and likely easier route goes through the Idaho State Board of Education (IDSBOE), which, Jeff Stratten, an official with the Idaho Transportation Department, said panel already has authorization to design and approve the plate. Mark Browning, spokesman for IDSBOE, said that if the issue came before board members, he couldn't imagine them not being supportive of the measure.
IdahoReporter.com first reported that CWI is the only school losing out on scholarship dollars that the plates bring in. The state’s two other community colleges, North Idaho College (NIC) in Coeur d'Alene and the College of Southern Idaho (CSI) in Twin Falls, already have plates that students, alumni, and interested citizens can purchase. The collegiate plates cost an extra $60 in the initial year and an additional $40 each time the car registration is renewed. Those fees are in addition to regular licensing and registrations costs.
NIC spokesperson Stacey Hudson told IdahoReporter.com that her school received about $350 a year in the past two years from sales of NIC’s custom plate, while CSI spokesman Doug Maughn reported that his school took in $575 in 2009 from its plate. Larger schools, like Boise State University (BSU) or Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC), typically benefit a little more from plate sales. An official with LCSC reported that in fiscal year 2009, the Lewiston school received $1,100 in total from the state. Since the program’s inception nine years ago, LCSC has taken in $7,700 in plate proceeds. According Tania Thompson, spokesperson for the University of Idaho, her school has received $252, 608 in plate money since the program’s inception, which has funded scholarships for 270 students.