Washington State University
BUSINESS POLICIES AND PROCEDURES MANUAL

SERVICES
80.24
Revised 10-16

Outgoing Mail

PDF link

OVERVIEW

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.

WSU Pullman

For more information concerning WSU Pullman mail services, see the Mailing Services website at:

https://ucomm.wsu.edu/mailing/

or telephone 509-335-2365.

WSU Spokane

For more information concerning WSU Spokane mailing services, contact Mail Services at 412 E. Spokane Falls Blvd., SCF 410A; telephone 509-368-6995; e-mail spok.fac.ship@wsu.edu; or see the Mailing Services website at:

https://spokane.wsu.edu/facilities/mailing-services/

WSU Tri-Cities

For more information concerning WSU Tri-Cities mailing services, contact the Copy/Mail Center; telephone 509-372-7273; e-mail copyctr@tricity.wsu.edu; or see the Copy & Mail Center website at:

http://tricities.wsu.edu/copy-mail-center/

WSU Vancouver

For more information concerning all WSU Vancouver mail services, see the WSU Vancouver Mailroom website at:

http://admin.vancouver.wsu.edu/mailroom

or telephone 360-546-9708; or e-mail mailroom@wsu.edu.

Returned Merchandise (Urban Campuses Only)

Returned merchandise sent from urban 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 sent through any carrier other than the USPS is not routed through Mailing Services. See 80.15 and UPS and FedEx below.

Personal Mail

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.

WSU Pullman

WSU Pullman senders may drop off personal outgoing mail at Cougar Express Mail for FedEx and USPS pickup. Cougar Express Mail is located on the ground floor of the Compton Union Building (CUB); open Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

For more information, see the Cougar Express Mail website at:

https://ucomm.wsu.edu/cub-mailing-and-shipping/

Inspection

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:

POSTAGE

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, as applicable. Stickers or notations identify departmental accounts supporting postal charges.

WSU Pullman

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:

http://publishing.wsu.edu/onlineforms/renderer.aspx?FormID=5

Indicate the supporting budget/project, the department name, and the campus mail code.

Delivery

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.

Storage

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.

Place a rubber band around each bundle.

Attach Stickers

Bundles

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.

Boxes/Packages

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.

WSU Spokane

WSU Spokane does not issue bar code stickers to departments. A WSU Spokane sender must write her or his department's assigned three-digit or four-digit mail code in the upper left-hand corner of the mail item above the return address.

Contact Mail Services for mail code assignments and changes; telephone 509-368-6995; e-mail spok.fac.ship@wsu.edu.

Separate Into Bundles

Separate mail into the following bundle categories. Bundle sealed mail and unsealed mail separately.

Place a rubber band around each bundle.

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.

WSU Tri-Cities

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.

WSU Vancouver

A WSU Vancouver sender must 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:

MAIL PREPARATION

See also special preparation instructions below for various mail classes and services.

Addresses

The USPS recommends that addresses be prepared as follows:

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    

Return Addresses

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. NOTE: WSU Vancouver Mailroom and WSU Spokane Mail Service do not pick up mail items without an affixed return address.

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, if applicable. (Departmental campus mail codes are also ZIP+4 Codes.)

Example: 99164-1025

1025       =      Campus Mail Code (ZIP+4 Code)

99164     =      USPS ZIP Code

Include the hyphen between codes.

Pullman Codes

All University offices in Pullman use the 99164 ZIP Code in return addresses.

Envelopes

Odd-Shaped Items

Pens, pencils, key rings, bottle caps, and other similar odd-shaped items are not permitted in letter-size or flat-size paper envelopes unless the items are wrapped within the other contents of the envelopes or in padded envelopes. Such preparation streamlines the shape of the mail pieces and prevents damage during postal processing.

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. A letter-size envelope may not be more .25 inch thick. 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.

Sealing

University mailing services departments at all campuses except WSU Spokane and WSU Vancouver 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 and WSU Vancouver

WSU Spokane and WSU Vancouver senders must submit all envelopes to the campus mailing services department with the flaps down and not nested. The campus mailing services department 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 the campus mailing services department at WSU Pullman, WSU Spokane, and WSU Vancouver 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 Exception

Keys, identification cards, and tags are exempted from all but the minimum thickness standard.

Surcharge

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:

Surcharge Rate

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 one-half day before the mailing.

WSU Pullman departments may notify Mailing Services online at:

http://publishing.wsu.edu/onlineforms/renderer.aspx?FormID=4

or by telephone at 509-335-2365.

WSU Spokane departments may notify Mail Services online at:

https://spokane.wsu.edu/facilities/mailing-services/order-large-mail-pickup/

or by telephone at 509-368-6995.

Preparation

To prepare a large mailing, seal or fold pieces to permit machine handling.

WSU Spokane Mail Services and the WSU Vancouver Mailroom are able to seal letter-sized envelopes in quantities of ten or more as long as the envelopes are not nested.

Parcels

Parcel Log

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:

A package cannot be traced until 30 days after the mailing date (7 days for Express Mail and 15 days for registered mail).

Parcel Size and Weight Limits

Minimum

No minimum weight for parcels.

Maximums

USPS Domestic

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.

USPS Foreign

Foreign parcel weight limits range from 22 to 70 pounds depending on country of destination. Contact the applicable campus mailing services department for weight limits to specific countries.

APO, FPO

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 applicable campus mailing services department for restrictions to specific APO/FPO addresses.

UPS and FedEx

Central Receiving and Delivery 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:

https://spokane.wsu.edu/facilities/mailing-services/shipping-request-form/

Larger Parcels

Parcels exceeding the above limitations may be shipped by another carrier. See 80.15 for a description of shipping services.

Preparation of Parcel Mail

Package and secure parcels with fiberglass tape or two-inch strapping tape. Do not use string, lightweight cellophane tape, or masking tape.

Do not wrap parcels in plain paper. Cover all old labels and markings with plain adhesive labels, if applicable.

Domestic

Print "Standard Post" across the front of the package if the package is to be sent standard post. See also above.

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.

Form

WSU Pullman

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:

http://publishing.wsu.edu/onlineforms/renderer.aspx?FormID=6

Non-Pullman Campuses

To request and pay for a special mail service, a non-Pullman department contacts the campus mail services department for the appropriate form.

WSU Spokane

To request and pay for a special mail service, a WSU Spokane department submits an online request to Mail Services at:

https://spokane.wsu.edu/facilities/mailing-services/shipping-request-form/

Incorrect Preparation

University mailing services departments charge a handling fee if special services mail is not correctly prepared. Incorrect preparation may also delay mail delivery.

Marking Mail

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

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.

Return Receipt

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

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.

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.

Registered Mail Numbers

University mailing services departments provide registered mail numbers to requesting departments.

Express Mail

USPS provides one- or two-day service from WSU Pullman, WSU Spokane, and WSU Vancouver to all locations in the United States.

WSU Pullman

Mailing Services, Pullman, must receive Express Mail by 3:45 p.m. to assure two-day service.

WSU Spokane

Contact Mail Services for the express mail drop off deadline for WSU Spokane; telephone 509-368-6995.

WSU Vancouver

The WSU Vancouver Mailroom must receive express mail by 3:30 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.

Insurance

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:

Insured Mail Numbers

University mailing services provides insured mail numbers to requesting departments.

Extra Services

The following services are available for certified, insured, and registered mail.

Return Receipt

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 the following locations:

University mailing services sends all USPS mail first class unless another class is specifically requested.

First-Class Mail

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 13 ounces containing photocopied material, printed matter, reprints, and miscellaneous material (but not books).

Postcards

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.

Priority Mail

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.

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 Spokane and WSU Vancouver)

The campus mailing services departments at WSU Spokane and WSU Vancouver do not handle standard mail. WSU Spokane and WSU Vancouver departments must contact the local USPS office or a private mail services company to send standard mail.

Package Services

There are four classes of package services: First Class Parcel, Standard Post, Media Mail, and Library Mail.

First Class Parcel

Includes advertisements and lightweight merchandise. See above for an explanation of first class parcel weight and size limits.

Standard Post

Includes merchandise, printed matter with or without advertising, books, etc. See above for an explanation of standard 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.

Library Mail

Under certain conditions, such as mailing to another college, or to a public library, or to a private citizen, this category may include the following:

Contact the campus mailing services office for additional specific information. See above.

Package Tracking

The USPS provides tracking service at no additional charge for the following domestic package services:

The USPS provides tracking service for a fee for Standard Mail items.

A USPS package that includes tracking service is affixed with a barcode label that includes a tracking number. The tracking number is also included on the payment receipt provided to the sender. The sender may use the tracking number to track a lost package or to verify that a sent package has been received.

USPS packages may be tracked online at:

https://www.usps.com/

Free Mail

Subject to the certain standards, items may be mailed free of postage if sent by or for the use of blind or other persons who cannot read or use conventionally-printed materials due to a physical handicap. Free mail provisions apply to domestic mail only.

Acceptable items include:

Contact the campus mailing services office for additional specific information. See above.

INTERNATIONAL MAIL

Addressing

See 80.25.

International Mail Classes

There are four principal classes of international mail: Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail Express 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 USPS refunds the postage.

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.

Priority Mail Express 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. Priority Mail Express 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, Priority Mail Express 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 Priority Mail International flat-rate envelopes and flat-rate boxes. The sending department must complete and print the customs forms online from the USPS website, at:

https://www.usps.com/

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 that weigh more than one pound. Large envelopes and letter-sized items containing documents only do not require any customs declaration if under the one pound weight limit.