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Postage Rate Increase, Bulk Mail Blues
Jan. 10 Rate Hike to Hit Some Departments Hard

By Tamara Keith, Public Affairs
Posted January 13, 1999

When first-class stamp prices rose by a penny Jan. 10, another rate increase also went into effect: a hike of up to 25 percent for non-profit standard mail. For the Berkeley campus, which annually sends out 3.5 to 4 million pieces of this type, the increase is expected to cost several hundred thousand dollars a year.

"Nonprofit mailing is where it's going to hit us," said Bill McCart, director of Mail Services. "The rates have just been sky-rocketing."

In October of last year, non-profit mailing rates went up 8 percent.

McCart says that the latest rate increase is likely to hit hardest those campus departments that do mass mailings.

At University Relations' Development Communications unit, for example, the postage bill may increase by $10,000 annually.

"We'll just have to figure out how to deal with it," said Carolyn Hughes, who coordinates the unit's mass mailing efforts. "I have to look into ways of saving money and making sure that the pieces are mailed as cheaply as possible."

McCart predicts that most campus departments will see a rate increase of 16 to 21 percent. Smaller increases will be aplied to bulk mailings that are automatable by postage service standards - those that are prepared and submitted to the postal service with automated delivery point bar codes already applied. Mailings that are not automatable will see a much larger increase.

"The bottom line is that we're just going to have to pay more," McCart said. "Fortunately, many departments are able to automate their bulk mailings, but those that are not are going to be hit hard. However, we provide training and support to help departments take advantage of the lower automation rates. It should be possible for all departments to minimize the impact of the horrendous rate increase."

For information about the rate changes, call 643-MAIL.


January 13 - 19, 1999 (Volume 27, Number 19)
Copyright 1999, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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