Mail Services

Preparing Outgoing Mail

When Mail Services applies postage to outgoing University business mail, the postage is 'charged back' to the department by use of a Metered Mail Card. The date, amount of postage, and the department account number are recorded on the mail card. The cards are used to create a postage transaction file, which is used to record the charges in Workday Financials.

Mail Services maintains a U.S. Postal Service mailing permit. This permit provides another method of payment for postage on "mailings" processed outside the mailroom. For information and/or to insure compliance with postal regulations, notify Mail Services before using the mailing permit.

      Metered Mail Cards are the forms used to record and charge postage to department account numbers. A completed mail card must be received with mail requiring postage. If cards are received without an authorized signature, mail will be returned to the department.

      The mail cards are provided by Mail Services, free of charge, when a Metered Mail Card Order Form is submitted. Cards are prepared with account name and number, department mailbox number, and a transaction number with correlated bar codes. The transaction number will appear in your Workday reports under subcode 3020, which indicates postage use, when postage is charged to your account.

      Departments are responsible to provide a completed Metered Mail Card with all mail requiring postage. Only one card is necessary per bundle of mail. However, care should be taken to insure that the mail card is not separated from the bundle. When sending bulky envelopes or packages, attach mail card with a small piece of tape. Be sure the card is signed and the telephone extension listed.

      All cards should be kept in a secure place. Mail Services will not be responsible for unauthorized use of mail cards.

      Billing for U.S. postage is the responsibility of Mail Services. All charges are posted in Workday. Questions pertaining to charges will be researched by Mail Services within a month of the charge appearing in Workday.

      Departments should take appropriate action to make sure their records are accurate as charges are posted. Monitoring department account numbers against unauthorized use is not the responsibility of Mail Services.

      Service restrictions are imposed for reasons of liability and operational concerns.

      A full address as well as a full return address (employee name when appropriate, department name and box number) should always be used on outgoing mail. On foreign mail, all countries of destination must be written entirely in English in capital letters. More detailed addressing information can be found in Section IV, U.S. Postal Service: Service and Procedures (p. 23-24).

      UPS/FedEx/DHL packages being delivered to University departments should be addressed as follows:   

      Brown University/Name
      Physical Street Address
      Providence, RI 02912 

      When mail is brought to the mailroom, it should be bundled so that similar type and size envelopes are together. All addresses should be facing the same way with larger envelopes placed on the bottom of the bundle.

      Foreign mail should be separated from domestic mail.

      Number 10 business size envelopes can be sealed by the postage meter machine provided the envelope weighs one ounce or less and the flaps are nested and not in the sealed position when received for processing.

      The USPS has discontinued the use of the paper customs forms. A new, electronic form is available online to fill out and generate the new form used to send along with your package(s).

      USPS Customs Forms

      When sending an accountable mail piece (registered, express, certified, insured) the sender is issued a receipt. In addition, the mail recipient is required to sign for the mail piece when delivery is made.

      All outgoing accountable mail must be brought to the University Service Window, with a completed mail card. After postage and mailing forms are provided, the sender will present the mail piece to the U.S. Postal Clerk in Faunce House to obtain a receipt.

      When designing special mail pieces weighing 1 ounce or less, keep in mind that the U.S. Postal Service has guidelines for designing mail that can be successfully processed through computerized equipment. Mail pieces that are not in compliance with the guidelines may be subject to:

      • A surcharge applied to each mail piece
      • Slower delivery than properly designed mail
      • Being returned as non-mailable material

      The basic acceptable dimensions for mail pieces are provided here. There are other characteristics to consider when designing a mail piece. For further information, consult the mailroom.


        Min (in.) Max (in.)
      Height 3 ½ 6 ⅛
      Length 5 10 ½


        Min (in.) Max (in.)
      Height 3 ½ 4 ¼
      Length 5 6

      Except for standard size domestic business envelopes, all mail, foreign mail in particular, must show on the address side of the envelope/package what class of mail is being used (Priority, Air Mail, Parcel Post, etc.).