Mailing 101

Standard Mail

Standard Mail is most often used for newsletters, catalogs, and printed matter that does not contain personal correspondence.

Standard Mail rates are considerably lower than First Class Mail rates, but certain requirements must be met to mail at Standard rates:

  • Quantity of at least 200 pieces or 50 total pounds (identical in size and weight)
  • Cannot be handwritten or typewritten
  • Cannot contain personal correspondence (ex. bills, statements, receipts)
  • Must be prepared according to specific USPS regulations, and submitted to the Post Office for approval

There are two size categories for Standard Mail - letter and non-letter. Please see the Mail Design page for more detailed information on sizes.

Standard Mail being sent to the greater metropolitan area will generally be delivered within 5 business days, and delivery to the coasts can take up to ten business days.

Nonprofit Standard Mail is a category of mail within Standard Mail reserved for organizations registered as nonprofit with the USPS. Nonprofit Standard Mail is offered at a greater discount that Standard Mail. See Nonprofit Status below for more information.

Additional discounts may apply for mailings prepared as automated and/or Full Service as well.


Mailing Permits

Standard Mail postage is most often paid for from a permit account. A postal permit links back to a funded postage account, and requires both an application fee and an annual fee to maintain. This permit means you have 'permission to mail' commercial mail from the post office in which the fees were paid.

The University of Minnesota has a postal permit that is available for use by University departments. All mail sent on the University's permit is the responsibility of Addressing & Mailing Services, so it is strongly suggested that University permit-paid mailings be prepared by Addressing & Mailing Services.

If you decide to do a University permit-paid mailing with a mailer other than Addressing & Mailing Services, you MUST contact us prior to the mailing being done. We are unable to guarantee that postage will be available for use without being notified of the mailing in advance.

The USPS prefers that University units use the currently registered permit, but if a unit wishes to have their own permit, they can make arrangements to do so. More information about applying for a mailing permit can be found on the USPS website.


Permit Indicia

A permit indicia is the printed box in the upper right corner of the mail piece that identifies the permit account that postage should be charged to. A permit indicia can be included in the printed design of the mail piece, or can be applied while the mail pieces are being addressed.

Mail with a permit indicia MUST BE CLEARED WITH A MAIL CLERK, and cannot be directly deposited into an outgoing USPS mailbox. If you have extras from a previous job that contain a permit indicia, you must cover the permit and apply stamps or meter postage to mail them.

To download an example of an indicia below, right click on the image and choose "save image as." Please note that these images are not high quality.

Nonprofit Indicia Presort Standard Indicia Presort First Class Indicia Nonprofit Indicia

University of Minnesota Nonprofit Status

The University is registered with the USPS as a nonprofit organization. This allows University departments to receive even greater discounts on qualified mailings with special Nonprofit Standard rates. The USPS recognizes any department listed in the official University of Minnesota directory as having nonprofit status, however, they will only accept this information from a paper copy of the directory (the directory is now primarily digital).

Please be sure to include University of Minnesota in the return address on your outgoing mail piece so that your mailing can be easily identified as coming from a University of Minnesota department. When additional verification is needed, Addressing & Mailing Services must submit paperwork to the post office confirming your University status, which requires time and effort on our part to complete.