Outgoing Domestic Mail Policies
This is valuable information for students, staff, and faculty who send their mail through the University Contract Post Office. These are the guidelines established by the USPS (United States Postal Services) for addressing mail. These guidelines should be observed for all mail, including campus mail.
Placement of the address on the face of an envelope should conform to the following USPS specifications:
The address should be in an area a half-inch from each side of the envelope.
The top of the address should be no more than 2 3/4" from the bottom of the envelope.
The bottom of the address should be no more than 5/8" from the bottom of the envelope.
The area 4 1/2 " by 5/8" in the lower right hand corner of the envelope should remain empty for bar code placement.
Whenever possible, avoid hand-addressing mail because this delays sorting by the U.S. Post Office.
The envelope must be strong enough to protect and retain its contents. The use of oversized or overstuffed envelopes can lead to damaged or lost contents.
Window Envelope Enclosure
Enclosures can be designed so the address appears in a window envelope. Do not staple to prevent slippage of the address from window view. If the addressed enclosure does not properly fit the window, use an envelope without a window.
All mail must be sealed in an appropriate envelope or parcel. When a periodical or other publication is mailed with non-incidental First Class mail or any standard mail enclosure, the mark "First Class Mail Enclosed" or "Standard Mail Enclosed" must be placed, respectively, on or in the host publication. The type of enclosures determines the mailing classification.
First Class and International Letter Class mail weighing one ounce or less is classified as non-standard if it exceeds any of the following size limits:
Length: 11 1/2"
Height: 6 1/8"
There is an additional charge on each piece of mail that is found to be non-standard. In addition, mail that is less than 3 1/2" in height, 5" in length, or the thickness of a postcard are non-mailable in the U.S. and may be returned to sender.
The size of an envelope should properly accommodate its contents. There are basically two categories of envelopes used by the USPS: letter size and large envelopes. Below are the guidelines for mail shapes.
Knowing the shape of your mail helps you select the right service and price.
Once you know the shape of your mail, visit the USPS Postage Price Calculator to determine which service is right for you.
Some things cannot be mailed or can be mailed only in small quantities for safety and legal reasons. Also, some items can jam or damage the mailing machines and can cause serious injury to the USPS employees and equipment. The U.S. Postal Service lists the following items:
Aerosol cans (Can be mailed through Retail Ground service only)
Flammable or explosive materials
Illegal or infectious substances
Narcotics or drug paraphernalia (Prescription and over the counter medications can be mailed via air or surface mail)
Envelopes and cards less than 3 1/2" in height or 5" in length are also classified as non-mailables and may be returned to sender. Also, all foreign countries impose various restrictions. It is recommended that when mailing questionable items to U.S. or foreign destinations, the mailer should call Postal Services at 412-268-2927 for assistance. The use of staples is prohibited on the exterior of any letter or parcel.