MBP 325

SECTION 325: U.S. Mail and Postage Charges
Policy Owner: University Procurement and Logistics

Last Updated: February 28, 2022

Mail Services
Angell Building

166 Service Road
East Lansing MI 48824
Phone: (517) 884-6084 | Fax: (517) 355-7601 
Business Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

325.1   Purpose
325.2   Incoming U.S. Mail
325.3   Outgoing U.S. Mail
325.3.1       General Mail Preparation
325.3.2       Mail Sorting
325.3.3       MSU Return Address
325.3.4       Sealing Requirements
325.3.5       USPS Size Standards (USPS Template PSN 7610-03-000-9053)
325.3.6       Non-allowable Parcels
325.3.7      USPS Non-machinable Surcharge
325.4   Domestic Mail
325.5   International Mail
325.5.1       Service Request
325.5.2       Customs Declaration Forms
325.5.3       International Mail Service (IMS)
325.5.4       Mexico and Canada
325.6   Charges and Month End Reports

For campus mail procedures, refer to Section 220 of the Manual of Business Procedures.

325.1  PURPOSE

A.  In addition to managing the MSU mail permit, Mail Services is responsible for postage funding; in-house folding, inserting, and metering of First Class mail; and various accounting-related activities. Mail Services is also responsible for interpreting United States Postal Service (USPS) regulations and providing guidance to campus personnel, ensuring MSU and supplier regulatory compliance. Questions concerning mail activities can be directed to (517) 884-6084.


A.  Incoming U.S. mail is delivered by 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 (517) 884-6082 or Mail Services at (517) 884-6084.

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325.3.1  General Mail Preparation

A.  Mail prepared according to university guidelines is processed every business day in the most timely 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 into the appropriate category 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

A.  All mail processed 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 fewer) are to be sealed by the campus department prior to submittal to Mail Services. Larger bundles of letters—if nested with 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" high x 6" long, maximum 6 1/8" high x 11 1/2" long.

E.  Postcard dimensions: minimum 3 1/5" high x 5" long, maximum 4 1/4" high x 6" long.

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325.3.6  Non-Allowable Parcels

A.  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:

  1. 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 than square)
  2. Is polybagged, polywrapped, or enclosed in any plastic material
  3. Has clasps, strings, buttons, staples, or similar closure devices
  4. 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)
  5. Is too rigid (does not bend easily when subjected to a transport belt tension of 40 pounds around an 11-inch diameter turn)
  6. For pieces more than 4 ¼” high or 6” long with a thickness less than 0.009”
  7. Has a delivery address parallel to the shorter dimension of the mailpiece
  8. For folded self-mailers, the folded edge is perpendicular to the address, regardless of the use of tabs, wafer seals, or other fasteners
  9. 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


A.  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.

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


325.5.1 Service Request

A.  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 (517) 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.

  1. Customs documentation is required for all international mailings that meet any of the following criteria:
    • packages that weigh over 16 ounces
    • packages measuring greater than 15” x 12” x ¾”
    • packages containing items with commercial (dutiable) value
  2. If the mail or package weighs over 16 ounces and has a value under $400: a PS Form 2976, Customs Form must be completed and attached. This form is used with the following services: letter-post, Global Priority Mail, and economy-letter post.
  3. If the mail or package weighs over 16 ounces and has a value over $400: a PS Form 2976-A, Customs Form and the 2976-E Customs Form Envelope (available at the Mail Services office or USPS) must be completed and attached.
  4. M-Bags: If using an M-bag, customers must fill out a PS Form 2976-A, Customs Form for each bag if items are under $400. If the contents are valued at $400 or more, customers must fill out the PS Form 2976-A, Customs Form accompanied by the 2976-E Customs Form Envelope (available at the Mail Services office or USPS).
  5. Parcel Post (airmail or economy): customers must fill out a PS Form 2976-A, Customs Form accompanied by the 2976-E Customs Form Envelope (available at the Mail Services office or USPS) .
  6. All international mail must be enveloped or wrapped (except postcards).
  7. All international mail should be sealed by the department.
  8. 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.
    • Example:
      LONDON W1P 6HQ

325.5.3  Mexico and Canada

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


A.  Line item transaction details associated with mail services that appear on the general ledger statement of KFS Service Provider Billing (SPB) eDoc can be accessed on the UPL website.

B.  Postage charges are broken down by org number, account, sub-account, object code, date, and any other detail provided in the account string. Billings should be reviewed for accuracy. Direct questions to Mail Services at (517) 884-6084.

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