Mail Services Increase Postal Rates

Reported by Aurora Biggers

George Fox University (GFU) students may have pay an additional 5 percent on their packages when they return textbooks in the spring.

Students will pay more this year for mail services due to The United States Postal Service’s (USPS) postal rate increase on Jan. 27. The Postal Regulatory Commission approved the price increases to offset the $4 billion “record operating losses” from 2018, according to The Associated Press.

Mail Services closed early on Jan. 25 in response to the rate changes. “We are in a frenzy,” said Richard Silver, director of Print and Mail Services. “It took us four and a half hours to get everything locked and loaded.” The staff worked after hours to finish rolling out the new system.

The postal rate increase affects parcel rates most. Each package has an individual mark-up for the year. The Forever Stamp also increased—from 50 cents to 55 cents. This is the highest whole cent increase in USPS history.  If you purchased Forever Stamps before Jan. 27, the price will remain the same as when you purchased them.

Students need the medium flat rate box to return textbooks. This box is now priced at $14.35, approximately a 5 percent increase from last year. Silvers said students can save money by purchasing a prepaid shipping label from their textbooks’ company or by shipping their books at media rate.

Silver said this adjustment will affect GFU students come spring when they return

rental textbooks, the most shipped item from Mail Services. Silvers said students will experience “sticker shock” when they first recognize how significant the parcel pricing increase is. “After already spending a lot on textbooks,” Silvers said, “yeah, it will be a lot for them.”

However, media rate is slower than priority flat-rate boxes. Students should plan ahead to avoid incurring fines for late rental returns. There are ways to circumvent the overpriced system, Silvers said, Students can consult staff at Mail Services to find “the best price and options for their shipping needs.”

The complete list of USPS 2019 price increases:

Forever Stamp from 50 cents to 55 cents

Small flat-rate box from $7.20 to $7.90

Medium flat-rate box from $13.65 to $14.35

Large flat-rate box from $18.90 to $19.95

Regular flat-rate envelope from $6.70 to $7.35

Large flat-rate envelope from $7 to $7.65

Padded flat-rate envelope from $7.25 to $8

Silver said the postal rate increase will cause a shift in the university’s budget. The university sets a budget for each year and allocates the money per department. The money is allotted proportional to the department’s forecasted expenditures.

Mail Service’s budget for the year is not enough to cover unexpected costs from the rate increase, Silver said. The department pays a fee when it sends out bulk mail. The fee is close to $250, but will increase by $4 or $5 with the new rates.

To cover Mail Service’s added expenses, money will shift from other departments. “Ultimately, the money does come from tuition,” Silver said, “let’s not candy coat it.”

Jessica DaughertyComment