In order to expedite delivery of outgoing mail, University departments are to prepare mail in accordance with guidelines in this section.
This section provides instructions for paying for postage, preparing mail, and requesting special mail services.
Mail Processed by University Mailing Services Departments
Official WSU outgoing U.S. mail is picked up, processed, and mailed by University mailing services departments at the Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver campuses.
See 80.20 for more information regarding the role of University mailing services.
For more information concerning WSU Pullman mail services, see the Mailing Services website at:
or telephone 509-335-2104.
For more information concerning WSU Spokane mailing services, contact Mail Services at 412 E. Spokane Falls Blvd., SCF 410A; telephone 509-368-6995.
For more information concerning WSU Tri-Cities mailing services, contact the Copy/Mail Center; telephone 509-372-7273.
For more information concerning all WSU Vancouver mail services, see the WSU Vancouver Mailroom website at:
or telephone 360-546-9708.
Returned Merchandise (Regional Campuses Only)
Returned merchandise from regional campus offices is routed through the applicable campus mailing services department. The mailing services departments at the urban campuses, e.g., Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver, also serve as the campus shipping and receiving departments.
Mail Not Processed by University Mailing Services Departments
Returned Merchandise (WSU Pullman Only)
Returned merchandise from WSU Pullman departments is not routed through Mailing Services. Merchandise returned to a vendor for any reason is processed through Central Receiving. See 80.15.
Personal mail is not processed by University mailing services even if stamped by the senders. Senders must deposit personal mail in a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) box or an appropriate off-campus location, not in a University mail box.
WSU Pullman and WSU Spokane
At WSU Pullman and WSU Spokane, the mailing services departments return personal mail to the sender or the sender's unit administrator.
Normally, University mailing services departments do not open any outgoing mail or parcels. The campus mailing services department attempts to notify the sender before opening an item.
University mailing services personnel inspect the contents of outgoing items for any of the following reasons:
- The rating designated by the sender violates postal regulations.
- The mail or parcel is not rated or is clearly incorrectly rated. (In such a case the designated classification could be changed to a more favorable rate.)
- The contents are not identified by the sender.
- The item appears to be in violation of USPS policies.
Departmental accounts pay postage costs of mailing parcels and letters.
Charging Costs to Account
Departments attach bar code stickers or the notations indicated below to outgoing mail. Stickers or notations identify departmental accounts supporting postal charges.
To authorize postal charges recorded by bar codes, each WSU Pullman department issues a blanket IRI to Mailing Services at the beginning of each fiscal year. See 70.06 for information about blanket IRIs.
Ordering Bar Code Stickers
Departments order pressure-sensitive bar code stickers from Mailing Services. Departments may order barcodes online from the Mailing Services website at:
Departments may also order barcodes by submitting a Bar Code Sticker Order Form to Mailing Services. Mailing Services provides the order forms to departments upon request.
Indicate the supporting budget/project, the department name, and the campus mail code.
When Mailing Services delivers the postage bar code stickers, check the delivery to make sure all ordered materials are included and that the correct budget/project is indicated.
A departmental representative signs a security card verifying receipt of the order.
Store bar code stickers in a secure location.
Using Bar Codes
Separate Into Bundles
Separate mail into the following bundle categories. Bundle sealed mail and unsealed mail separately.
- Domestic letters and postcards
- Foreign letters and postcards
- Domestic large envelopes, magazines, catalogs
- Foreign large envelopes, magazines, catalogs
- Business reply postage-paid envelopes and stamped envelopes
Place a rubber band around each bundle.
Attach a bar code sticker under the return address of the first piece of mail in each bundle. (Do not attach stickers to bundles of stamped envelopes or postage-paid envelopes.)
University mailing services encourages departments to use only one bar code sticker per bundle. The campus mailing services department assesses a surcharge if bar code sticker use is excessive.
Attach a bar code sticker to each piece.
Emergency Mail (WSU Pullman Only)
Place emergency mail in a white emergency mail envelope. Attach the bar code sticker to the first piece of mail in each bundle. See 80.20 for emergency mail pickup locations and times.
A WSU Spokane sender must write her or his department's assigned three-digit or four-digit mail code under the return address area on the U.S. mail item.
Late Mail Pickup (WSU Spokane Only)
WSU Spokane Mail Services provides late pickup for small quantities of mail, which senders may drop off at the Academic Center in the Student Affairs Office, room SAC 130, no later than 3:00 p.m.
A WSU Tri-Cities sender may write his or her department's five-digit mail code under the return address on the U.S. mail item.
A WSU Vancouver sender may write the approved eight-digit budget/project account number under the return address on the U.S. mail item.
Purchasing U.S. Postage
From US Post Office
To buy postage from a US Post Office, complete a State of Washington Invoice Voucher. (See 30.45.) Indicate "Postmaster -- (city)" as the vendor. WSU Pullman offices include the name and telephone number of the departmental contact. Offices at other locations indicate the department's mailing address.
Route the Invoice Voucher to the Revenue Desk in the Controller's Office. The Controller's Office prepares a check for the amount of the postage. When the check is ready, the Controller's Office telephones the WSU Pullman office or mails a check to the non-Pullman location. The department takes the check to the local US Post Office and purchases the postage.
Advantages of Metered Mail
Departments are to use U.S. stamps for emergencies only. Metering of mail by the campus mailing services is more efficient because:
- Campus mailing services meters all unstamped mail. This assures that proper postage is included.
- Unmetered mail is handled separately by USPS. This is an extra step which can slow delivery.
See also special preparation instructions below for various mail classes and services.
The USPS recommends that addresses be prepared as follows:
- Machine print or type the address. Do not use script.
- Use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
- Do not use punctuation. Use one or two spaces instead of periods, commas, etc.
- Use black ink on a white background.
- Characters should not touch or overlap each other.
- Print or type the address parallel to the bottom edge of the envelope. The address should not be slanted.
- Place the address in the middle of the envelope or label.
- Put attention lines first.
- Include room (RM), suite (STE), and apartment (APT) numbers and directionals, e.g., north (N), east (E), etc., when available.
- Use the USPS-approved abbreviations for states. See below. See 80.25 for Canadian province abbreviations.
State Abbreviations AL Alabama IL Illinois NH New Hampshire UT Utah AK Alaska IN Indiana NJ New Jersey VT Vermont AZ Arizona IA Iowa NM New Mexico VA Virginia AR Arkansas KS Kansas NY New York VI Virgin Islands CA California KY Kentucky NC North Carolina WA Washington CZ Canal Zone LA Louisiana ND North Dakota WV West Virginia CO Colorado ME Maine OH Ohio WI Wisconsin CT Connecticut MD Maryland OK Oklahoma WY Wyoming DE Delaware MA Massachusetts OR Oregon DC District of Columbia MI Michigan PA Pennsylvania MN Minnesota PR Puerto Rico FL Florida MS Mississippi RI Rhode Island GA Georgia MO Missouri SC South Carolina GU Guam MT Montana SD South Dakota HI Hawaii NE Nebraska TN Tennessee ID Idaho NV Nevada TX Texas
- Put the ZIP Code on the last line next to the city and state. Include the ZIP+4 Code if known. Use a hyphen between the five-digit ZIP code and the four-digit ZIP+4 Code. For occasionally-used ZIP Codes, telephone the campus mailing services office (see above) or go to the USPS website at:
University mailing services offices also have sets of mail code directories for Canada.
All mail must have a departmental WSU return address in the upper left corner. University mailing services recommends that the sender include his or her name.
If there is no return address, and if the campus mailing services department cannot determine the office or origin, the item is sent to the USPS Dead Letter Office.
Mail with a home return address is not metered by any University mailing services department even if it is official business.
WSU Campus Mail Codes
Include the department's campus mail code after the USPS ZIP Code. (Departmental campus mail codes are also ZIP+4 Codes.)
1025 = Campus Mail Code (ZIP+4 Code)
99164 = USPS ZIP Code
Include the hyphen between codes.
All University offices in Pullman use the 99164 ZIP Code in return addresses.
Indicate "HAND CANCEL" on all envelopes containing odd-shaped items, e.g., paper clips, pens, slides, etc. These items interfere with the operation of the postage meter.
Insert bound material with the binding at the bottom of the envelope to avoid interference with the operation of the postage meter.
Mail bulky material or material that does not crease well when folded in a large manila envelope rather than a letter-size envelope. If placed in a letter-size envelope, the sender must seal the envelope before sending it to the campus mailing services office.
NOTE: Surcharges apply for odd-shaped items. See below.
University mailing services departments at all campuses except WSU Spokane seal mailings of ten or more letter-size envelopes of the same weight if they are nested and banded by the department.
Large manila envelopes must be sealed by the sender.
WSU Spokane senders must submit all envelopes to Mail Services with the flaps down and not nested. Mail Services is able to seal mail in quantities of ten or more if the envelopes are letter size.
Dimensional Standards for Letter-Size Mail
Use the Dimensional Standards Template available from WSU Pullman Mailing Services and WSU Spokane Mail Services to determine whether a piece of mail meets the USPS size standards. The tip of the upper-right corner must touch the shaded area.
Minimum Size Standards
Pieces are nonmailable if less than 3.5 inches high and 5 inches long. Pieces must be at least .007 inch thick.
Minimum Size Exceptions
- Pieces of more than one-fourth of an inch thick do not have to measure at least 3.5 inches by 5 inches, e.g., film mailers.
- Keys, identification cards, and tags are exempted from all but the minimum thickness standard.
A nonmachinable surcharge is assessed for a first-class letter weighing less than one ounce or a standard rate letter weighing less than 3.3 ounces if the letter has any of the following seven characteristics:
- Has an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of less than 1.3 or more than 2.5.
- Is polybagged, polywrapped, or enclosed in any plastic material.
- Has clasps, strings, buttons, or similar closure devices.
- Contains items such as pens, pencils, loose keys, or coins that cause the thickness of the mail piece to be uneven.
- Is too rigid (does not bend easily when subjected to a transport belt tension of 40 pounds around an 11-inch diameter turn).
- For pieces more than 4.25 inches high or 6 inches long, has a thickness of less than 0.009 inch.
- Has a delivery address parallel to the shorter dimension of the mail piece.
A nonmachinable surcharge is assessed for a first-class nonletter weighing under one ounce if the piece has any of the following three characteristics:
- Is thicker than .25 inches.
- Is more than 11.5 inches long or more than 6.125 inches high.
- Has an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of less than 1.3 or more than 2.5.
Contact the campus mailing services department regarding the current surcharge rates for standard rate letters and first-class letters and nonletters.
Large Mailings (200 or More Items)
If the department anticipates mailing more than 200 pieces, the department should notify the campus mailing services department by telephone or e-mail at least 1/2 day before the mailing.
WSU Pullman departments may notify Mailing Services online at:
or by telephone at 335-2104.
To prepare a large mailing, seal or fold pieces to permit machine handling.
- University mailing services departments at all campuses except WSU Spokane seal nested letter-sized envelopes.
WSU Spokane Mail Services is able to seal letter-sized envelopes in quantities of ten or more as long as the envelopes are not nested.
- Seal envelopes larger than 6" by 9" prior to mailing.
- Fold self-mailers or folded pieces so that the folded edge is below the address. Fasten such items in the center by adhesive stickers, tabs, tape, or glue.
- Band the large mailing in accordance with bundling procedures above.
University mailing services recommends that each department maintain a log of outgoing parcels. The following information is needed to make a claim or trace a parcel. NOTE: This service is restricted to insured, registered, certified, or Express Mail only.
The parcel log is to include the following information:
- Name and address of consignee (addressee)
- Date parcel was mailed
- Size and type of envelope
- Approximate weight
A package cannot be traced until 30 days after the mailing date (7 days for Express Mail and 15 days for registered mail).
Parcel Address Labels
Parcel address labels are available from University Stores.
- Use parcel address labels on items larger than letter-size envelopes (4 1/2" x 10 3/8").
- Indicate mailing instructions for University mailing services on the left side of the label.
- Written instructions on the parcel and label should be clearly-written and legible.
Parcel Size and Weight Limits
Minimum weight is 16 ounces.
Parcels delivered by the domestic mail service (USPS) may not weigh more than 70 pounds and may not exceed 108 inches in length and girth combined.
Foreign parcel weight limits range from 22 to 70 pounds depending on country of destination. Contact the campus mailing services department for weight limits to specific countries.
Parcels mailed to APO (Army Post Office) and FPO (Fleet Post Office) locations may not exceed 70 pounds and may not exceed 108 inches in length and girth combined. Smaller limitations may apply to some APO/FPO addresses. Contact the campus mailing services department for restrictions to specific APO/FPO addresses.
UPS and FedEx
Central Receiving handles all UPS and FedEx shipments for WSU Pullman departments. The mailing services departments in Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver handle all FedEx and UPS shipments for urban campus units. See 80.15.
To request shipping services at WSU Spokane, complete the online Shipping Request form at:
Parcels exceeding the above limitations may be shipped by another carrier. See 80.15 for a description of shipping services.
Preparation of Parcel Mail
- Wrap and secure parcels with fiberglass tape. Do not use string or masking tape.
- Clearly print a brief description of the contents across the front, e.g., "books," "film."
Print "Parcel Post" across the front of the package if the package is to be sent parcel post. See also above.
Print "First Class" across the front of the package. See also below or below.
Letters Enclosed in Parcels
First-class postage must be paid for personal correspondence enclosed in a periodicals, standard, or package services package. Mark the package, "First Class Mail Enclosed."
Letters may be enclosed in or attached to packages for foreign delivery without requiring additional charge.
SPECIAL SERVICES MAIL
Departments may request the following special services: certified mail, registered mail, Express Mail, insured mail, C.O.D. mail, delivery confirmation, signature confirmation, metered standard class bulk mailings, and permit imprints.
To request and pay for a special mail service, a WSU Pullman department completes a yellow Special Services Request for Mailing form and attaches a bar code sticker to the form. Indicate the kind of service desired. Route the completed form with the mailed item. Obtain supplies of this form from Mailing Services.
Departments may order Special Services Request for Mailing forms online from the Mailing Services website at:
To request and pay for a special mail service, a non-Pullman department contacts the campus mail services department for the appropriate form.
University mailing services departments charge a handling fee if special services mail is not correctly prepared. Incorrect preparation may also delay mail delivery.
Place markings for special services above the address and to the right of the return address. This applies to endorsements for registered, insured, certified, COD, restricted delivery, and return receipt required.
Certified mail service, available for domestic destinations only, provides the sender with a mailing receipt and a record of delivery at the office of address. No record is kept at the Post Office where the mailing is initiated. Certified mail is dispatched and handled as ordinary mail. Return receipt and restricted delivery service may be obtained for certified mail. Insurance is not provided.
Any mailable matter on which first-class postage is paid may be certified.
Certified Mail Numbers
University mailing services departments provide certified mail numbers to requesting departments.
University mailing services departments provide return receipts for departmental use. The department is to complete both sides of the return receipt and attach it to the back of the envelope by the glue tabs provided.
If attaching the return receipt to the front of the package, make sure that it does not interfere with the address, return address, or postage.
Registered mail provides insurance for valuable first-class and priority matter. This service is available for mail sent to all domestic and most foreign destinations.
Registered mail must be sealed against tampering.
- Do not use self-sealing envelopes.
- Do not use padded envelopes for domestic registered mail. Padded envelopes are allowable to foreign locations.
- Wrap and seal packages with mucilage or glue or with plain paper or cloth tape.
- Do not seal packages containing currency or securities exclusively by use of paper strips. First seal such packages securely with mucilage or glue.
- Do not use slick-faced tape, e.g., cellophane, masking, or nylon wrapping tape.
WSU Pullman Requests
In order for Mailing Services to arrange for registration of an item, write the following information clearly on the yellow Request for Mailing form and attach it to the letter or package. Do not write the information directly on the letter or package.
- Dollar value (The sender is required by law to declare full value of matter presented for registration.)
- Brief description of contents (e.g., "manuscript," "scientific instruments," "gold")
Registered Mail Numbers
University mailing services departments provide registered mail numbers to requesting departments.
USPS provides one- or two-day service from Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver to all locations in the United States.
- International Express Mail Service is available to most foreign locations.
- Anything mailable that weighs up to 70 pounds may be sent by domestic Express Mail. Lower weight limits apply to some foreign locations. Contact the campus mailing services department for weight limits for specific countries.
- Departments are responsible for preparing Express Mail for delivery. Request envelopes and labels from the campus mailing services department.
Mailing Services, Pullman, must receive Express Mail by 3:45 p.m. to assure two-day service.
Contact Mail Services for the express mail drop off deadline for WSU Spokane; telephone 509-368-6995.
Contact the WSU Tri-Cities Copy/Mail Center for the express mail drop off deadline for WSU Tri-Cities; telephone 509-372-7273.
The WSU Vancouver Mailroom must receive express mail by 3:45 p.m. to assure two-day service from WSU Vancouver.
Charges for Express Mail
The University mailing services department charges all postage costs to the sending department. The University mailing services department may assess a handling charge if an Express Mail item is not properly prepared.
Departments may purchase insurance for domestic mail from USPS in amounts ranging up to $5,000 for Package Services mail. Departments may also purchase insurance for first-class or priority mail if it contains matter that may be sent as Package Services mail.
Insurance, on a country specific basis, is available for foreign destinations in amounts up to $5,000, depending on country of destination.
WSU Pullman Requests
In order for Mailing Services to arrange for insurance on an item, write the following information clearly on the yellow Request for Mailing form:
- Dollar value
- Brief description of contents (e.g., "books," "film," "lamp")
Insured Mail Numbers
University mailing services provides insured mail numbers to requesting departments.
The following services are available for certified, insured, and registered mail.
The sender receives a receipt which indicates delivery date, person receiving the item, and the delivery address.
Delivery Restricted to Addressee
The indicated addressee must personally sign in order to receive the item. The item must be addressed to an individual, not a company, group, or corporation.
WSU Pullman Requests
The sender indicates the requested service on the yellow Request for Mailing form.
DOMESTIC MAIL CLASSES
USPS domestic rates apply to all mail for delivery to any one of the 50 states and to U.S. territorial possessions. University mailing services sends all USPS mail first class unless another class is specifically requested.
All domestic first-class mail is transported by air. Do not write "Air Mail" on domestic mailings.
First-class mail includes handwritten and typed matter, usually in letters or on postcards. This category also includes items weighing less than 16 ounces containing photocopied material, printed matter, reprints, and miscellaneous material (but not books).
To qualify for the postcard rate, a postcard may not exceed 4.25" x 6" or be smaller than 3.5" x 5". Larger cards must be mailed at the letter size rate.
Refer also above to ensure postcards and larger size cards are designed correctly to meet postal standards and avoid postage surcharges.
Any item of any mail class weighing less than 13 ounces as well as any first-class mail item over 13 ounces may be mailed at the minimum priority mail rate. Rates for priority mail vary according to the destination postal zone.
The priority mail flat rate is often the best priority mail value for packages. The established rate is valid for any weight to any location provided the material mailed fits into the USPS-provided priority mail flat rate packaging. Contact the campus mailing services department for available packaging and sizes.
Periodical Mail (formerly Second-Class Mail)
The use of this rate requires a postal permit assigned to a publisher for a specific publication. Contact the campus mailing services department for assistance in obtaining a permit.
Exception (WSU Vancouver and WSU Spokane)
The WSU Vancouver Mailroom and the WSU Spokane Mail Services departments do not handle periodical mail. WSU Vancouver and WSU Spokane departments must contact the local USPS office or a private mail services company to send periodical mail.
Standard Mail (formerly Third-Class Mail)
Standard mail may be used when 200 or more identical pieces or 50 pounds of the same material are mailed at the same time to U.S. addresses. Individual pieces may not exceed one pound.
Each envelope must be of the same size and shape and must contain an identical number of enclosures. The textual matter need not be identical. There are content restrictions, e.g., advertising, so contact the campus mailing services office for further information regarding standard mail content. See above.
Exception (WSU Vancouver)
The WSU Vancouver Mailroom does not handle standard mail. WSU Vancouver departments must contact the local USPS office or a private mail services company to send standard mail.
There are three classes of package services: Parcel Post, Media Mail, and Library Mail.
Includes merchandise, printed matter with or without advertising, books, etc. See above for an explanation of parcel post weight and size limits.
Media Mail (formerly Book Rate)
Includes books containing no advertising, 16-mm or narrower films, printed music, printed test materials, sound recordings, playscripts and manuscripts, printed reference charts, and computer readable media containing prerecorded information.
Under certain conditions, such as mailing to another college, or to a public library, or to a private citizen, this category may include:
- Books containing no advertising;
- Printed music;
- Bound academic theses;
- Sound recordings;
- Other library materials in printed, duplicated, or photographic form;
- Museum materials;
- Teaching aids;
- 16-mm or narrower width films; or
- Scientific or mathematical instruments or other devices.
Contact the campus mailing services office for additional specific information. See above.
International Mail Classes
There are four principal classes of international mail: Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International, Priority Mail International, and First-Class Mail International. These classes are primarily differentiated from one another by speed of service.
Global Express Guaranteed
This is a premium, expedited delivery service, similar to domestic express mail to meet a time-sensitive delivery requirement. This service offers destination-specific delivery standards or the postage is refunded.
Online tracking and delivery confirmation is available. Merchandise insurance or document reconstruction up to $100 is provided at no additional cost. Additional higher insurance limits are available on a country specific basis. The maximum weight limit is 70 pounds to all destinations served, but some countries have a lower maximum weight limit. Contact the campus mailing services office for specific country weight limits.
This service is not available to all countries or to all locations within some countries. Contact the campus mailing services office for specific country availability and customs documentation and forms requirements. See above.
Express Mail International
This expedited mail service is available to most countries and is the next fastest service after Global Express Guaranteed (see above). Country-specific weight limits range from 22 pounds to 70 pounds. Express Mail International is insured up to $100 against loss, damage, or rifling at no additional cost. The sender may choose to purchase merchandise insurance up to $5,000.
Select destinations offer a date-certain, postage-refund guarantee. For all other destinations, Express Mail International shipments are not subject to a postage-refund guarantee if a delivery delay occurs. Contact the campus mailing services office for specific information regarding availability.
Priority Mail International
This classification is primarily designed to accommodate larger and heavier shipments with size and/or weight which exceeds the limits for First-Class Mail International. The sender may add extra services, such as insurance coverage and return receipt service, on a country-specific basis.
The allowable weight for Priority Mail International shipments varies by country. However, the maximum weight for any Priority Mail International shipment is 70 pounds.
Flat-rate envelopes and small, medium, and large flat-rate boxes are available upon request. The maximum weight for flat-rate envelopes and small flat-rate boxes is four pounds. The maximum weight for medium and large flat-rate boxes is 20 pounds. Registered mail service is available for the Priority Mail International flat-rate envelopes and small flat-rate boxes. Insurance is not available for the Priority Mail International flat-rate envelopes and small flat-rate boxes, but may be available for medium and large flat-rate boxes. Contact the campus mailing services department for individual country availability.
Customs form 2976-A is required on all Priority Mail International items except for Priority Mail International flat-rate envelopes and small flat-rate boxes. Customs form 2976 is required on all small flat-rate boxes and may be required on flat-rate envelopes. Flat-rate envelopes and small flat-rate boxes may not exceed $400 in value.
Contact the campus mailing services office for the required customs documentation, forms, and Priority Mail International flat-rate envelopes and flat-rate boxes.
First-Class Mail International
First-Class Mail International is a generic term for mail pieces that have different shapes, sizes, and contents and that weigh 4 pounds or less. First-Class Mail International items may contain any mailable matter that is not hazardous or prohibited by the destination country. Material must be sealed on all edges. Enclose self-mailers in envelopes. This service is available to all countries.
A nonmachineable surcharge is required for items weighing one ounce or less if the items meet the same nonmachineable standards identified for domestic letter-size items. See above. Contact the campus mailing services department regarding the current surcharge rates.
Extra services, such as registry and return receipt may be added on a country-specific basis.
Customs form 2976 is required on First-Class Mail International parcel items. Large envelopes and letter-sized items containing documents only do not require any customs declaration.