MBP 325

SECTION 325: U.S. Mail and Postage Charges

Last Updated: April 23, 2019
Policy Owner: University Services - Mail Services

Angell Building  
166 Service Road, Room 113
East Lansing, MI 48824  
Phone: (517) 355-1700 | Fax: (517) 355-7601 
Business Hours:  Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


325.1   Purpose
325.2   Incoming U.S. Mail
325.3   Outgoing U.S. Mail 
325.4   Domestic Mail
325.5   International Mail
325.6   Charges and Month End Reports

NOTE:  For Campus Mail procedures, refer to Section 220 of the Manual of Business Procedures.

325.1  Purpose
Mail Services activities include managing the MSU mail permit and postage funding, in-house metering of First Class mail, folding and inserting First Class mail that goes in a window envelope, accounting-related activities, and ensuring MSU and supplier regulatory compliance. Mail Services is responsible for interpreting USPS regulations and providing guidance to campus personnel. Questions concerning mail activities can be directed to 884-6084.

325.2  Incoming U.S. Mail
Incoming U.S. Mail is delivered by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) directly to university buildings. A one-stop per building delivery point has been established by the USPS. Questions or concerns about this service can be directed to either Logistics at 355-1700 or Mail Services at 884-6084.

325.3  Outgoing U.S. Mail
325.3.1  General Mail Preparation
Mail prepared according to university guidelines will go out every business day in the most time and cost-effective manner available. Improperly sorted or prepared mail will be delayed and may result in the return of mail. Missing or inaccurate account numbers may also cause delays in mail handling. A completed Service Request Form must accompany all mail submitted for processing.

325.3.2  Mail Sorting

A.  Campus mail, stamped mail, and international mail must be separated by the department prior to submitting to Mail Services. A single Service Request Form may be used for an entire batch of mail that is pre-separated.
B.  Certified mail, Express mail, Return receipt, Registered mail or other mailings requiring additional service must be accompanied by the appropriate paperwork. Use a Service Request Form to request mail service.
C.  Personal mail is not permitted in the university's mail stream.

325.3.3  MSU Return Address
All mail process through Mail Services must have an MSU return address on the envelope or parcel.

325.3.4  Sealing Requirements

A.  Individual mail and small bundles of letters (25 or less) are to be sealed by the campus department prior to submittal to Mail Services. Larger bundles of letters, if nested (flaps open), will be sealed by Mail Services.
B.  For the security of your mail, all bulky #10 business envelopes must be sealed by the campus department. Mailing equipment will not adequately seal this type of mail.
C.  All flats must be sealed at the campus department. Flats are envelopes that are larger than the standard #10 business envelope and typically have the flap on the shorter side. These should be sealed with tape or glue, never staples. Flat envelopes with metal clasps are not to be used and may be subject to an additional surcharge. See section below on USPS Nonmachinable Surcharge.

325.3.5  USPS Size Standards (USPS Template PSN 7610-03-000-9053) 

A.  All pieces must be at least .007 inch thick.
B.  All pieces that are 1/4 inch or less in thickness must be

1. rectangular in shape
2. at least 3 1/2 inches high
3. at least 5 inches long

C.  Pieces greater than ¼ inch thick can be mailed even if they measure less than 3 ½ by 5 inches.
D.  Letter dimensions: minimum 4 1/4"h x 6"long, maximum 6 1/8" h x 11 1/2" long
E.  Postcard dimensions: minimum 3 1/5"h x 5"long, maximum 4 1/4" h x 6" long     

325.3.6  Non-Allowable Parcels
Packages over 70 pounds are not allowed into the mail stream and will be rejected for proper routing to an appropriate shipping carrier. See University Stores and Logistics MBP Section 220 for shipping instructions.

325.3.7 USPS Non-machinable Surcharge

A.  The USPS has established criteria for nonmachinable letters. If the mailpiece falls under any one of these conditions, it will be subject to a surcharge. This applies to First-Class Mail weighing less than one ounce and Nonprofit Standard Mail weighing less than 3.3 ounces. Postcards are not affected.
B.  Nonmachinable Criteria - A letter-size piece is nonmachinable if it has one or more of the following characteristics:

    • Has an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of less than 1.3" or more than 2.5". (This means the mailpiece needs to be more rectangular then square)
    • Is polybagged, polywrapped, or enclosed in any plastic material
    • Has clasps, strings, buttons, staples, or similar closure devices
    • Contains items such as pens, pencils, loose keys, or coins that cause the thickness of the mailpiece to be uneven. (Use padded envelopes for mailing these items)
    • 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 ¼ inches high or 6 inches long with a thickness less than 0.009 inch
    • Has a delivery address parallel to the shorter dimension of the mailpiece
    • For folded self-mailers, the folded edge is perpendicular to the address, regardless of the use of tabs, wafer seals, or other fasteners
    • For booklet-type pieces, the bound edge (spine) is the shorter dimension of the piece or is at the top, regardless of the use of tabs, wafer seals, or other fasteners

325.4  Domestic Mail
325.4.1  Domestic mail is mail distributed within, among, and between the United States, its territories and possessions, and Army/Air Force (APO) and Navy (FPO) post offices. The term "territories and possessions" includes Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

325.4.2  Mail sent to APO or FPO post offices and weighing more than 16 ounces requires Customs form 2976-A.

325.5 International Mail 
325.5.1 Use the Service Request Form, keeping international mail separate from domestic mail.

325.5.2  Customs Declaration Forms

A.  The USPS will not accept international mail that is not accompanied by the appropriate forms. Contact Mail Services at 884-6084 with questions or to obtain these forms via campus mail.
B. Mail that arrives at Mail Services without proper documentation will be delayed. Customs documentation and processes are described below.

    • A PS Form 2976, Customs Form must be filled out if the mail or package is 16 ounces or more and has potentially dutiable contents under $400. This form is used with the following services: letter-post, Global Priority Mail, and economy-letter post.
    • Customs documentation is required for all international mailings that meet any of the following criteria

 - packages that weigh over 16 ounce
 - packages measuring greater than 15” x 12” x ¾”
 - packages containing items with commercial (dutiable) value

MSU partners with International Mail Service (IMS), a mail consolidator, to increase deliverability and provide postage savings. Mail Services recommends that if your package is valued at less than $400 you send the mailing through IMS. View tutorial (.pdf)

    • A PS Form 2976-A, Customs Form must be filled out if the contents being sent have a value of $400 or more, or if it is Parcel Post (airmail or economy). The clear envelope 2976-E form must always accompany the 2976-A form for shipping.
    • M-Bags: If using an M-bag, customers must fill out a 2976 form for each bag if items are under $400. If the contents are valued at $400 or more, customers must fill out the 2976-A form accompanied by the 2976-E form.
    • All international mail must be enveloped or wrapped (except postcards).
    • All international mail should be sealed by the department.
    • International mailings must have the country name in English, printed in capital letters as the only information on the bottom line. The postal delivery zone, if any, should be included with the city.

       117 RUSSELL DRIVE
       LONDON W1P 6HQ

325.5.3  Mail being sent to Canada and Mexico are classified as international mail.

325.6 Charges and Month End Reports 
325.6.1  Departments can access monthly statements via the University Services website. MSU NetID login is required. Information is available by clicking the Billing Line Details tab. Mail charges are also accessible in Document Viewer.

325.6.2  Postage charges are broken down by org number, account, sub-account, object code, date, and any other detail provided int he account string. Billings should be reviewed for accuracy. Direct questions to Mail Services 884-6084.