VCU Mail Services

University Mail Guide

Exela and the United States Postal Service (USPS) provide mail services to VCU and VCUHS. This guide includes information about mail preparation criteria, process of mail pieces and other services.
VCU Mail Services strives to provide the University community with timely, accurate and accountable services. This Mail Service Guide has been prepared for the use and benefit of the University. This Guide provides useful mail service information and has been structured to assist your department in using our mail services to their fullest advantage. The guide focuses on general topics such as proper addresses, addressing of envelopes and specific information regarding U.S. mail classification and special deliveries in addition to auxiliary services offered to the university and medical community. Please review and use this information as applicable to your mail service needs. Please contact Mail Services at 828.1343 or 828.3868 with any questions or concerns. VCU Mail Services is alert to all changes in mail rates and reviews continuously the various classes of mail being mailed from the University in order to ensure that the lowest rates and all possible savings are used.

Delivery and Pick Up Times

VCU Mail Services has daily routes for pickup and delivery of USPS and interagency mail.
The morning routes start at 10:15 a.m. and are completed by 1:00 p.m.
The afternoon routes begin at 2:00 p.m. and end by 3:00 p.m.

Drop box locations:

Inclement Weather and Holiday Schedule Policy

VCU Mail Services observes and is closed all of the university’s holidays.

The VCU Mail Services staff is designated as “essential” personnel. Mail is received, processed and delivered to the satellite Mail Centers. VCU Medical Center departments may secure their mail from the VMI Mail Center between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. All mail in the campus drop boxes located on the VCU Medical Center will be collected at 12:00 p.m. No mail will be delivered to delivery customers unless the department notifies Mail Services they are open and request services. Departments requiring service must call Mail Services before 10:00 a.m. in order to receive mail 12:00 p.m.

During the university’s winter shutdown, VCU Mail Services operate under special hours at all of our facilities. A memo is sent at that time for departments that are currently receiving delivery service to contact us in writing or by email to request service during the winter shutdown. Otherwise, all regular services will resume on the day the university reopens.

Addressing Mail (General Information)

The nine digit zip code applies to the box number, not the street address for mail addressed to VCU / VCUHS. Do NOT write anything below the address line.

Utilization of the following recommended standards will result in the most cost effective and expeditious processing of the mail.

  • Machine printed (typed or computer generated) with black ink on white / pastel paper
  • Uniform left margin
  • Font size of 10 through 14 points
  • Non‐proportional – block letters with a clear vertical space between each character
  • All uppercase letters (capitalized), no punctuation
  • Use standard abbreviated state name and correct zip code (USPS abbreviation lookup)
  • Must be two (2) spaces between city and state and two (2) spaces between state and zip code
  • Second line up (Line 5) must be the delivery address only. (Note: for VCU / VCUHS it MUST be the six digit box number)
  • Bottom line of address (Line 6) must be city, state and zip code only. Nothing should be below this line
  • Only the address should appear in a window are, no background or logos should be visible in the window area. Nothing should be printed on the bottom 5/8” of any letter size envelope
  • Window envelopes “tap test” means the address MUST be in the window with 1/8” clearance all the way around even after the mail piece is tapped firmly in any direction

Incoming Mail (USPS and Campus Mail)

USPS Incoming Mail
The United States Postal Service currently delivers the University mail Monday through Friday to the Mail Services Operation Center located at the 1622 Ownby Lane. Mail is sorted and distributed to VCU and VCU Medical Center satellite mail centers for filing into the respective box. Mail is ready for pick up by departments no later than 11:30 a. m. Monday through Friday. The USPS will NOT forward mail to VCU & VCUHS unless it contains the proper address information. Incoming mail MUST be addressed with your six (6) digit box number. Mail not properly addressed or addresses not reflecting the box number can be researched by using the University Directory System People Search. The delivery of mail requiring research may be delayed. An addressee not found on the VCU locator will be returned to sender for insufficient address

Interagency Campus Mail
VCU Mail System
University Campus Mail is processed on a continuous basis and should be in "campus or interagency envelopes" and NOT white or letterhead envelopes. The campus address should ONLY include the NAME OF ADDRESSEE, DEPARTMENT, AND THE SIX (6) DIGIT BOX NUMBER. Street addresses, building names or room numbers are not necessary and will delay delivery. Please consult the on‐line Faculty and Staff directory for campus mail box numbers. Should an incorrect box number be associated with an individual's name, please log into eservices to update your box information or contact Human Resources to update your data on the VCU Online Locator.

Sample Addressing

State Mail System:
This joint service between the University and the State Mail System provides FREE mail service to offices located in the Capitol Square area. Mail is delivered and picked up from the State Mail Center one (1) time daily Monday through Friday. Please visit the State Mail Services page to look up or download the listing of all state mail stops. Please make sure all previous addresses have been covered or crossed out ensure proper handling and delivery to the intended recipient. To ensure prompt delivery to state agencies, mail should be printed clearly in ink or typed and addressed as follows:

Sample Addressing

Incoming Mail Standards

  • Incoming USPS Mail
  • USPS Overnight Express Mail is delivered the same day if received by 12:00 p.m.
  • Campus / Interagency Mail, First Class Letters, First Class Flats, Parcels, & Accountable (certified, insured, registered) Mail is delivered within 24 hours.
  • Second Class publications, Third Class standard mail (business bulk mail) is delivered within three (3) days after receipt in the mail center.

Undeliverable Mail Policy for Standard & Periodical Mail

The US Postal Service makes all efforts to deliver mail identified for VCU or VCUHS with zip codes 23284 and 23298. The USPS will also use key words (Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System) in the address block, regardless of its contents or completeness of address.

The USPS will not take back most types of Standard Mail or Periodicals (magazines) that is not addressed properly, returned to sender or requiring address correction. The USPS will forward magazines that have been prepared properly with a complete address. Please see Mail Services forwarding instructions.

Standard Mail (junk mail) that is not properly addressed will NOT be looked up or researched and will be disposed / recycled per Mail Services’ discretion.

Periodicals (magazines) that are not properly addressed will be looked up / researched using the VCU Online Locator and forwarded to the departments if a box number is found. Departments must provide their proper address to the magazine vendor within 60 days or mail may be disposed at Mail Services’ discretion. Any periodicals that cannot be delivered will be disposed / recycled per Mail Services’ discretion.

Below are examples of the different types of standard Mail / magazines below that are impacted:

  • Book clubs & book catalogs
  • Communications from other colleges and universities
  • Educational seminars
  • Medical journals
  • Medical catalogs
  • Periodicals
  • Advertisements marked “FREE”
  • Gift catalogs of all types
  • Leisure travel brochures
  • Lottery offerings
  • Other non‐educational catalogs

Please NOTE: All mail that is properly addressed to include departments 6 digit box # will be sorted and delivered to the department.

VCU Forwarding Information

Departments have the responsibility of forwarding mail for persons that have left their department either by separation or transfer to another department.

First Class mail and magazines should be forwarded for a period of 60 days. Any other class of mail should be recycled or disposed of as waste.

Mail being redirected outside the University:

  • Line out old address & barcode, NOT the individual’s name.
  • Apply new address to mail piece by affixing an address label or by handwriting the address.
  • Bundle separately from outgoing mail.
  • Return to Mail Services for processing.

Mail being redirected between departments: ‐ Line out old department name.

  • Print new department & box number.
  • Return to Mail Services for processing.

Forwarding mail from individual boxes: ‐ Complete a change of address card (type or print).

  • Submit cards to Mail Services.
  • Failure to submit a change of address card will result in mail being RETURNED to sender.

Outgoing USPS Mail

Outgoing mail is any mail presented by the departments to be metered for postage and deposited into the United States Postal Service system. All mail presented to Mail Services should be typed or computer generated. HANDWRITTEN ADDRESSING SHOULD BE AVOIDED AT ALL TIMES. Handwritten mail costs the most to process and results in the slowest delivery time.

The University requirements for proper preparation of outgoing mail are as follows: VCU postage meter charge card(s) MUST accompany all mail deposited for metering. Please visit to obtain this card. One signed card should be attached to each bundle of mail. Postage charge cards received in Mail Services not fully completed or mail received with no postage card attached will be returned to the department for corrective action. Postage charge card information includes: department charge code (Index or Lawson code), department name, and contact, signature and telephone number. To prevent the misuse of meter charge cards, cards should be not be completed until they are ready to be attached to the outgoing mail.

Any handwritten mail presented to Mail Services must be banded separately from typed or computer generated mail and a VCU postage charge card attached to each bundle.

All university outgoing mail MUST utilize a VCU envelope or official USPS envelope specifically for Priority Mail, Express Mail or International Mail and contain a university return address to include the department’s six (6) digit box number. Any mail not containing this information will be returned to the department.

All letter mail presented to Mail Services must be facing the same way, sealed or flapped. Flat mail larger than #10 envelopes presented to Mail Services must be facing the same way and sealed.

Pre‐stamped and business reply mail MUST be banded together and separate from mail needing to be metered.

A fully completed form must accompany mail needing special services such as mail needing a return receipt. The forms must be filled out in entirety and should be attached to the mail piece before presenting to Mail Services. (Link to see special services)

Foreign mail, including mail addressed to Canada and Mexico, must be sealed and banded separately and marked “AIR MAIL.”

When shipping internationally on behalf of VCU, please contact The Export Compliance Program prior to shipping at as your item may be subject to export regulations.

Mail not properly addressed (see sample on page 3; Addressing Mail – General Information) will be returned to the departments for corrective action. Any returned mail that requires additional postage will be charged to the departments.

All large or bulk mailings should be coordinated in advance with Mail Services. Please call 828-3868 BEFORE materials are printed. Mail Services can help in the design to make sure all USPS guidelines are met.

Excela Technologies/Mail Services Standards for Outgoing USPS Mail

  • First Class mail is processed the same day received in the mail center.
  • First Class letter and flat mail is sent at the lowest possible presort rate by utilizing a local presort vendor unless otherwise specified.
  • All other classes of mail are sent at the lowest (most economical way) appropriate rate unless otherwise noted by the department submitting the mail.
  • International mail is processed using an international mail facility assuming there is enough quantity to utilize this vendor. Your mail will not be held to meet this total. If there is not enough mail to use the international vendor your mail will be metered at the international rate and sent the same day with the USPS mail. Mail Services regularly conducts testing of this process in order to insure the best delivery service possible.
  • Outgoing mail costs are tracked by department Index / Lawson code using the latest equipment.
  • Mail Services processes postage charges to the departments on a weekly basis through the University electronic billing process.

Account Transaction Reports by Billing

Mail Services wants to remind you of our Account Transaction Report by Billing link located on our website at Departments can stay up to date with all mail related charges using this link to review mail, auxiliary and copy transactions as they post to your accounting system. To assist departments, Mail Services has included a “How to Read Your Transaction Report” to guide you through the process in comparing web charges to your current accounting system screen prints. It should be noted, VCU Mail Services will no longer research charges that are over 60 days from the day of posting to our website.

Special Services Options for Mailing

USPS Extra Services Guide 503

Certificate of Mailing
Provides evidence of mailing ONLY. Certificate of mailing does not provide a record of delivery. Available for First Class Mail, Priority Mail, Standard Mail, Package Mail. Use Form 3817 for single pieces.

Certified Mail
Provides the sender with a mailing receipt. A delivery record is maintained by USPS. NO insurance is provided. Available for First Class Mail and Priority Mail sent within the United States. Certified Mail may be combined with restricted delivery and return receipt. Use Form 3800.

Delivery Confirmation
Provides the date and time of delivery or attempted delivery. Delivery confirmation may be purchased at the time of mailing ONLY. Available for First Class Mail Parcels, Priority Mail, Standard Mail pieces subject to the residual shape surcharge and Package Services parcels. NOT available for APO/FPO destinations or U.S. territories except for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. This service may be combined with insured mail, registered mail, return receipt for merchandise, special handling. Restricted delivery is available if purchased with insurance of over $50.00. Use Form 152 or Label 314.

Express Mail
This type of mail will guarantee delivery overnight or your money will be refunded. Express Mail provides automatic indemnity coverage of up to $100.00 at no extra charge for items that are lost, rifled or damaged. It should be noted that using Priority Mail could potentially generate a savings of approximately 72% over Express Mail. However, Priority Mail is not guaranteed for overnight delivery. Use Label 11-B.

Insured Mail
Provides indemnity coverage of up to $5000.00 for a lost, rifled or damaged article of mail. Record of delivery is maintained by USPS for pieces insured for more than $50.00. Insurance applies to all classes of mail. This service may be combined with Delivery Confirmation, Signature Confirmation, special handling, return receipt and restricted delivery. Use Form 3813-P.

Priority Mail
First-Class Mail weighing more than 13 ounces and at the mailer’s option, any other mail matter (including regular First-Class Mail) weighing 13 ounces or less. Matter mailed in USPS provided Priority Mail packaging is subject to Priority Mail rates regardless of how the package is reconfigured or how the marking is obliterated. Priority Mail offers 2-day service (not guaranteed) to most domestic destinations. This is a very economical way to send mail.

Registered Mail
Provides the most secure service offered by the USPS. This service provides the sender with a mailing receipt and a delivery record that is maintained by the USPS. This service is available for First Class Mail and Priority Mail. Insurance is provided and included in the fee for items valued up to a maximum of $25,000.00. This service is NOT available at Mail Services and MUST be presented directly to a USPS window clerk. Use Form 3806 and Label 200.

Restricted Delivery
Directs delivery only to the addressee or addressee’s authorized agent. This service is available for First Class Mail, Priority Mail and Packages Services that is sent Certified mail or Insured for more than $50.00 and Registered mail. This service may be combined with Delivery Confirmation, restricted delivery, return receipt and Signature Confirmation. Use Form 3811.

Return Receipt
Provides the sender with evidence of delivery (to whom the mail was delivered and date of delivery). A return receipt may be requested at the time of mailing or after mailing. A return receipt requested at the time of mailing also supplies the recipient’s actual delivery address if different from the address used by sender. This service is available for Express Mail, First Class Mail, Priority Mail and Package Services when purchased with one of the following: certified, insured for more than $50.00 or registered mail. This service may be combined with Delivery Confirmation, restricted delivery, Signature Confirmation or special handling. Use Form 3811 at time of mailing or 3811-A after mailing.

Signature Confirmation
Provides the date and the time of delivery or attempted delivery. This service may be purchased at the time of mailing only. A delivery record including the recipient’s signature is maintained by the USPS and is available via fax or mail upon request. No acceptance record is kept at the office of mailing. Waiver of signature is optional. This service is available for First Class Mail parcels, Priority Mail and Package Service parcels. Not available for APO/FPO destinations or U.S. territories except for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. This service may be combined with Insured mail, Registered mail or Special Handling. Use Form 153.

Special Handling
Provides preferential handling but not preferential delivery to extent practicable in dispatch and transportation. Available for First Class mail, Priority mail, Package Services. This service may be combined with Delivery Confirmation, Insured mail, Package Services, Return Receipt for Merchandise and Signature Confirmation.

Standard Nonprofit (Bulk) Mail

Standard (Nonprofit / Bulk) mail consists of 50 pounds or at least 200 or more identical pieces of mail in size, weight, and contents. Types of mailings that may qualify include announcements of a meeting, seminar, or a monthly newsletter etc. Postage savings relative to submitting mailings in this manner could potentially generate a savings of approximating 70% as compared to a first class mailing. Properly prepared automation compatible standard mailings can be delivered just as fast as First Class mail.

The following information is USPS MANDATORY requirements that MUST be followed:

Before a mailing can be processed utilizing Permit No. 869, an authorization form with a control number MUST be obtained from the manager’s office. Please contact Mail Services at 8.3868. The USPS Bulk Mail Acceptance Unit at the Main Post Office will NOT accept your mailing without this form. The name of the permit holder, VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY must appear in the return address block area on the first line and on a line of its own.
The postage indicia must be printed or stamped in the right hand corner of the mail piece as follows:


All mail bearing the indicia above, MUST meet the eligibility requirements for a nonprofit mailing. Please contact Mail Services if you have questions.

Standard mail MUST be prepared according to USPS standards. Mail Services does not recommend departments process their own Nonprofit mailings internally. Please use VCU Mail Services or a qualified mail vendor.

Outside Vendors: If you are using an outside vendor to do printing and mailing services, please verify if they will be handling all services internally or outsourcing any part to another vendor to process. If they are outsourcing to another vendor for the mailing services, we strongly recommend you use VCU Mail Services to complete the mailing.

Mail Services offers Nonprofit/Bulk Mail preparation as a service for a nominal fee. See the Auxiliary Services section of this Mail Guide for all your informational needs or call 828.0060 or 804.828.3868 for additional information and assistance with your department’s mailing.

Mail Services strongly encourages ALL departments consult with us BEFORE the printing phase of your mailing.

Use of VCU Mailing Permits: VCU Mail Services’ contractor, Excela, provides up front postage for postage meters and mailing permits for outgoing VCU mail. Excela provides mail management services (list management, addressing, etc.) as part of the university’s contract.

Attention: For print-to-mail or other such jobs provided by a vendor other than Excela, will begin to charge the VCU department 2.5% of the postage amount as a fee for utilizing  funds on deposit with the USPS for VCU postage.

Previously, private vendors have not been required to prepay the postage costs and invoice university departments for those costs on the mailed products they send on behalf of the VCU department. Private vendors have been using VCU’s prepaid non-profit postage funds that Excela prepays at the United States Postal Service. If Excela provides postal services for print-to-mail or other addressing services the 2.5% fee will be waived.
If you have questions, please contact Donnette Haynes at 828-3868.
Options are:
1) Let Excela provide mailing services for you; the 2.5% fee will be waived.
2) By using outside vendor to complete mailing services, department agrees to pay the 2.5% fee of the total postage.
3) Vendor will deposit postage funding when mailing is submitted at the USPS.

Excela must be notified in advance of which option will be utilized.