Trademark licensing revenue for the 2001-02 year was the highest in the University's history, and scholarships are reaping the benefits.
The total was $3.58 million, up about $399,000 from last year. After operational expenses, $2.52 million was given to general scholarships and $841,393 was given to the Department of Athletics for athletic scholarships.
The University gives permission to businesses to use its trademarks and logos in return for a portion of the proceeds. UNC is Collegiate Licensing Co.'s top account, finishing in front of the University of Michigan and the University of Tennessee.
Rut Tufts, director of trademarks and licensing, said the latest numbers represent a climb that has been occurring since the early 1990s. He said the three factors that contribute to high trademark licensing revenue are athletics, institutional loyalty and fashion.
"Every school has the athletic and institutional components, but we're fortunate right now to have the fashion component as well," Tufts said. "The downside is that fashion comes and goes, and we need to be prepared for that."
Tufts said the majority of trademark sales are not to students. The University's royalties represent retail sales of about $105 million, but Tufts said that is about 10 times what students are buying, which is around $5 million to $10 million.
Shirley Ort, associate vice provost and director of scholarships and student aid, said the licensing money is especially important right now because more students qualified for aid this year.
"It really meant a lot to us this year because we were expecting $2.1 million and got $2,524,000," Ort said. "We were able to give an extra 424 students $1,000 scholarships."
Ort said she hopes student scholarships will not be affected by a slump in trademark sales because the University's Department of Scholarships and Student Aid under-budgets each year.
"Next year we'll budget for $2.1 million because we can't really assume that we will do that well again," Ort said.
Tufts said he isn't particularly worried about the fickleness of the fashion industry because of the strong support coming from students and alumni.
"There is no question that there is an intense loyalty on the part of students and alumni, and they express that by purchasing and wearing UNC goods."
Tufts said there was a general decline in collegiate sales in the mid-1990s because of more popular clothing trademarks, but UNC was able to avoid it because of its appeal in the fashion world.
"One of the things we're trying to do is make sure UNC apparel is in markets other than the collegiate market," Tufts said. "A lot of it is good fortune and hard work, so when it slows down we'll start working to get it back up again."
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