Non-Profit Standard Mail

USING PERMIT 205 (for Non-Profit or 1st Class Mailings)

When using the permit imprint for mailings Mail Services must be informed of the mailing prior to it being presented to the U.S. Postal Service. Funds in the account need to be verified prior to a mailing. Here is the information that needs to be communicated to Mail Services about any permit mailing you are planning;

  1. Class of mail (First Class Permit Imprint or Non-Profit)
  2. Number of pieces being mailed
  3. Cost of the mailing (if you are using a vendor for the mailing they can provide you with this information if only an estimate)
  4. Account number to charge the postage
  5. The anticipated date of mailing

Send this information to Miguel Santiago at to review availability of funds to process your mailing.

List Cleansing

A cost effective way to send large quantities of identical mail is at the Non-Profit Standard Mail rate. The University at Albany Mail Services maintains a permit for this type of mailing with the U.S. Postal Service. Use of the permit must be authorized by Mail Services prior to the mailing being presented at the Post Office.

Nonprofit standard mail rates are less than first class rates, but to qualify, the mail must be prepared to meet specific requirements established by the U.S. Postal Service.

U.S. Postal Service requirements now require that all mail being sent at the non-profit rate must have their address file processed through a NCOA (National Change of Address) program prior to a mailing. A "cleansed" address file is good for 90 days.

List Cleansing Template


The basic requirements for qualifying a non-profit mailing are:

  1. 200 piece minimum.
  2. Each piece must contain identical materials to ensure uniform weight: same envelope size, same materials inside envelope (e.g. one brochure and one letter in each envelope).
  3. Each piece must weigh less than 16 ounces.
  4. The name and return address on the mailpiece must be in the following format and it must appear on the outside of an envelope or in a prominent location on a self-mailer University at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222
  5. No personal correspondence, promotional material or advertisements may be enclosed.
  6. No pieces may be mailed to foreign countries.
  7. Accuracy of zip codes must have been certified within the last 95 days of the mailing date.

Non-profit standard mail is not sealed and is subject to postal inspection. The mailpiece may be reviewed by the postal facility prior to acceptance to ensure that contents meet the eligibility requirements of nonprofit mail. If the contents fail inspection, the mail will be sent at either the regular standard mail or the first class rate.

To ensure your mailing meets the non-profit standard mail requirements, please contact Mail Services prior to printing the mailpiece (442-3272). We will review the contents to ensure that the piece meets USPS mailing requirements and will qualify for the nonprofit rate.

Mail Preparation

Mail Services currently provides presort services (mail sorting, envelope stuffing, labeling, and sealing) for campus departments of first-class and non-profit mailings at a competitive rate. Large mailings that cannot be handled internally will be sent to a local vendor. Mailings received by Mail Services which do not meet minimum nonprofit requirements will be returned to the department for correction.

Mailings may also be sent directly to a presort vendor by the department, if desired. Contact the vendor to check for their preparation requirements. Mail Services must be notified if you choose to deal directly with a vendor and be provided with a copy of the mailing and the departmental or grant account number to be used for postage recharge purposes. Call or e-mail Miguel Santiago (518-442-3274) in Mail Services ( Mailings sent through a vendor will cost approximately $.08 per piece for their preparation. This cost is in addition to the nonprofit postage applied to each piece. In most cases, the overall cost of the mailing will still be less than the cost of sending it at the first class rate.

When planning a nonprofit mailing, remember to take into consideration the extra time necessary for processing by the vendor, which can be up to two weeks. Also, once the mailing is at the Post Office, be aware that standard mail is assigned a lower priority than first class mail, and no delivery date is specified. A delay of two to three weeks could occur once the mail is submitted to the Postal Service. For time-sensitive materials, allow at least four to six weeks total for processing.

A postcard template is available in Word format if a mailing is being designed by a department for copying at either the Rapid Copy Center or by a printer. Click here for the template for a 3.75" by 5" postcard, or click here for the template for a 4" by 5.5" postcard.

Move Update Requirement

The USPS requires that all discount First-Class Mail and Standard Mail (Permit 205) mailings must have updated their mailing list using an approved solution within 95 days prior to the date of maling. Beginning in 2010 penalities will be assessed on all mailings not meeting this requirement.

Postage Payment Methods

Postage on a nonprofit standard mailing is applied either through machine metering or by the use of permit imprints.

By using a permit imprint (indicia) on the mailpiece, metering does not need to be done. The Postal Service will deduct the proper postage for each mailpiece from the University's account and notify Mail Services of the total charge.

Proper format must be used when adding the permit imprint to a mailpiece. Verify with Mail Services prior to printing the mailpiece that the correct format has been applied.

When sending a non-profit standard mailing or when using a permit imprint for a mailing, Mail Services must be notified of the use prior to the mailing being accepted at the Post Office. This is to ensure that ample funds are available on the University's account to cover the cost of the mailing. If the funds are not available, the Postal Service will reject the mailing. Call or e-mail Miguel Santiago to check on permit usage (518-442-3272 or

Mail Services also needs to be notified of the departmental or grant account number the mailing will be charged against, before the mailing is taken to the Post Office. Postage expenses incurred using the University's permit are charged back to the department by Mail Services through the postage recharge system.