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Posted on Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 11 a.m.

More drivers have Spartan plates than University of Michigan ones

By Kellie Woodhouse

When it comes to drivers in the state, Michigan State University fans are either more plentiful or showing more pride than their University of Michigan counterparts, the Lansing State Journal reports.

Since September 2000 the Michigan Secretary of State has sold 501,725 Spartan license plates, bringing in $6.2 million in revenue split between the state and the school, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile during that time, the state has sold 361,909 University of Michigan plates, generating $4.5 million in revenue.


University of Michigan license plate.

The Journal reported that MSU plates are the most popular specialty license plates in Michigan, followed by a patriotic plate that debuted Sept. 11, 2001, and then by U-M plates.

“We pride ourselves on being the university for the state, so it’s definitely refreshing to hear we have the most popular one,” MSU spokesman Jason Cody told the newspaper.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

wonder if they will ever re-do the M correctly the made the S really large and the M small and in the wrong color Should be a much large Maize M and on a blue background. funny that state thinks they are the university of the state when you leave Michigan not many know who msu is.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.

'If you can`t get into college, go to State' 'If you lack the basic knowledge that will get you into college, go to state'


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

You do realize that NONE of the plates say "Pure Michigan State" at the top, right?

Jack Gladney

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

That's only because Trick Snyder is a Michigan grad and he co-opted the Pure Michigan campaign to rabble rabble rabble right to work rabble Michisippi rabble rabble Tea Party.... republicants. Go Blue.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

Number of MSU plates sold 501,725 Total number of MSU alumni worldwide about 501,725 Dear new MSU graduate, Congratulations! To obtain a paper copy of your MSU degree complete with this year's collector edition of our MSU "School Pride" plate Enter your credit car number below and then return this pre-paid postage card from any mailbox in the world. Best Wishes from your Alma Mater (MSU) And Good Luck !


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 11:13 a.m.

I bet more Spartan fans make the license plates, too.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 11:07 a.m.

I think Jay is right, but as anything with U of M on it cost more people are scared to try to buy them, without looking to see they cost the same.

Frustrated in A2

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 4:52 a.m.

Go Green!

Jan Tripp

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 3:28 a.m.

I never thought I needed a license plate to remind me where I went to college. Besides, my license plate already says "Michigan."


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 1:08 a.m.

This should not be a surprise, U of M's own data shows that almost 50% of their students are here as internationals, paying international rates. Those folks go home!


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

According to UM statistics, the freshman class of fall 2012 consisted of 6,171 students. Of these, 256 were non-US residents and 5,915 were US residents. Almost 50% are foreign students? Not even an MSU grad would claim that this is almost 50%.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.


Jojo B

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

Like chunks of meat thrown into the ocean, this thread has baited so many sharks. Nothing like butting heads over a stat that really doesn't say anything good or bad about either university. But thanks to commenters for some great laughs!


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 10:55 p.m.

I have one (UM). Because I don't need to drive it overseas..


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 10:14 p.m.

Well, when Sparty loses at football - they can always bring up their license plate win.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

Slow news day it seems. Other guess would be that U of MI costs more and the alumni are still paying off the student loans and can't afford plates....;


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

Oh, you went to State? That's cool, I didn't want to go to college either!


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 2:05 a.m.

Self-important peremptoriness is just so yesterday, Arboriginal.

Stephen Landes

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 7:28 p.m.

Quality trumps quantity.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 3:10 a.m.

Seriously way too much thought about the color of lettering.

Ann English

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 11:08 p.m.

You come the closest to what I'm thinking about what makes a license plate desirable: darkness of the letters and numbers on the plate. I notice that both specialty plates have medium blue letters and numbers, but MSU has a nice dark green S on it. So it won't fade over time like a medium shade of color will. I like the BLACK color of the numbers and letters on my own license plate, so they can be read more easily than a lighter color would.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

Anyone knows that this is due to the fact that more MSU alum have knowledge that this type of plate exists because license plates are made in prisons and more MSU alum either are in prison, work at prisons, or work on the farms that the prisons run... Wait for it... I suspect the easy answer is that MSU has a higher in-state population of alums than Michigan has. Our house has Michigan plates on both cars, and a plate in reserve for the car we no longer have if we buy another. The extra $10 is a donation and 100% tax deductible.

Tom Drake

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 6:58 p.m.

u of m folks have more to be proud of than just where they went to school, so many have other types of bragging plates, not just maize and blue ones.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 3:14 a.m.

And MSU is SO much easier to get into than UM. Sparties have to brag that they didn't end up at WCC.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Seriously...a very slow news day...but even this gets the wolverines back peddling to come up with excuses....REALLY? Let each school get their money and let each population show their pride! We should consider ourselves fortunate to have two fantastic learning and sports institutions in our great state! What a great choice for our children when choosing a college close to home!

Jack Gladney

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 5:34 p.m.

These seem to be pretty meaningless numbers as to their significance without being given greater, more meaningful context. Unaddressed here are: What are the in-state alumni populations of the two schools; what is the school affiliation of the people who are purchasing the specialty plates of each school? The second variable here would address what is known in the field of sociology as "The Wal-Mart Wolverine Effect." This is the tendency for a great deal of people to self-identify with a school or university with which they have no actual affiliation; see also:University of Alabama, Roll Tide. With these variables addressed, we can then make further make sense of the significance of the sales of specialty license plates.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 1:11 a.m.

What he said.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

I bet we win the Prius plate count -


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 10:19 p.m.

Win ?

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

"What it is: Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity."


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

And, to quote particular football coach, "comes before the fall."


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

Crunch the data all you want.I think it's because U of M fans party more and forget what school they root for.LOL


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.


Jay Sarkar

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

I would think this is only true because many U of M students and alums are from out of state and move out of state post-graduation whereas State draws from a bigger Michigan population.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

Great point.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

Kellie: Do we have any statistics on the student populations for both UM and MSU? I believe the data might give us an indication of why this might be true. The data I am looking for would be in-state students, out-of-state students and foreign students.