Originally created 04/12/06

Gamecocks license plate is top specialty tag seller



The Gamecocks are champions in a field of more than five dozen specialty license plates available from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

The University of South Carolina tag, featuring the Gamecock emblem, is the perennial favorite among specialty plate purchasers, beating 35 other colleges and universities and the other fundraising plates, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles records.

Last year, the school's scholarship program garnered nearly $126,500 from tag sales, said Mary Ruffin Childs, the assistant executive director of the USC Alumni Association, which oversees distribution of the funds. The money raised from the Gamecock plates makes up more than 20 percent of the amount available annually for the association's funded scholarships, said executive director Marsha Cole.

"It's a wonderful source of support and we're very grateful to the state for giving it to us," she said.

Clemson University plates, with the bright orange Tiger paw logo, are the second-hottest seller. Sales of Tiger tags brought nearly $131,000 to the school for student scholarships in the 12 months ending Jan. 31, records show.

The Public Education: A Great Investment tag, featuring depictions of a wooden ruler and a polished red apple, is the champion fundraiser because a larger portion of the sale price goes to philanthropy, though it comes in third in the number of plates sold.

Last year, nearly $191,000 from education tag sales was distributed to local school districts for classroom equipment, according to the department of motor vehicles. Last fiscal year, Aiken County received $10,400 from the tag sales, said Brock Heron, the school district comptroller.

Reach J.C. Lexow at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or jc.lexow@augustachronicle.com.