Mail is metered throughout the day and leaves campus at 3 p.m. daily with the exception of U.S. postal holidays. All mail to be metered must:

  • Have the pink mail instruction slip attached to the single piece or the bundle (pink slips are available in bundles at the Mail & Service Center)

  • Be prepared by stacking envelopes in the same direction

  • Have all flaps in the open position (if envelopes need to be sealed)

Do not mix campus mail and stamped mail, into your metered mail stack. If we do not catch this error before processing, you will be charged postage cost when it is not needed.

Please separate foreign from domestic mail.

Various Classes of Mail and USPS Special Services

Dimensional weight pricing will apply when sending any mail.

First Class Mail

  • Letters, postcards, and light weight packages under 13 ounces can be mailed First Class.

  • Pricing is based on size, shape, and weight.

  • Unusually shaped mail, like square or vertical envelopes, lumpy envelopes, rigid envelopes, and mail with clasps, string, buttons, must be hand-cancelled. They are charged a nonmachineable fee (.22 cents) even if they weigh less than 1 ounce.

Priority Mail

  • All First Class Mail exceeding 13 oz. and not exceeding 70 pounds is considered Priority Mail. The mailer has the option of sending mail weighing 13 oz. or less as Priority Mail. There is not a minimum weight limitation.

  • Pricing is based on weight and zip code.

  • NOTE: Priority Mail is a 2-3 day service that is NOT guaranteed.

Standard Mail (Bulk Mailings)

  • The Mail & Service Center acquired a nonprofit standard mail permit with the Mount Vernon Post Office to allow us to benefit from standard mailing cost savings.

  • This provides the college with the ability to process large mailings at a cost of about one-third that of first-class mailing.

  • College departments as well as official student and faculty organizations can use the permit.

  • It applies to domestic mailings only.

  • Standard mail describes a service that has no promised delivery standards but is usually delivered in a week or two within the continental United States and usually not more than five days within a radius of 500 miles.

In order to take advantage of these savings, the following is required by the Post Office:

  • Minimum of 200 pieces.

  • All pieces must be the same size and weight.

  • Contents must be the same in each mail piece. No personalization other than name and address can be placed on any piece.

  • Pieces must be less than 16 oz.

  • The return address must state on the top line the permit holder’s name:

Cornell College
600 1st Street SW
Mount Vernon, IA 52314

  • Must have indicia in the upper right hand corner of the envelope in place of postage. For example:

Non-Profit Org.
U.S. Postage
Mount Vernon, IA
Permit No. 4

  • The USPS will recycle undeliverable standard mail. It will not be returned to sender.

  • The USPS can open standard mailing pieces for content inspection.

  • Standard mailings cannot contain bills, statements, or personal messages.

  • Standard mailings are for domestic mail only.

Size/shape requirements

  • Letters: If the piece’s height x length dimensions are between 3 ½ x 5 inches and 6 1/8 x 11 ½ inches and between .007 and ¼-inch thick, they qualify as letters. If the mailpiece is SQUARE, the postage is an additional .22 cents per piece. Postcards are considered letters.

  • Flats: A flat is a piece of mail which exceeds the dimensions for letter-sized mail but does not exceed the maximum dimension for flats—15” long x 12” high x ¾” thick.


  • Inserts must identify the material as college-related or bear the Cornell College address, and must be Cornell-sponsored. Please provide a sample for the Mail & Service Center so we can determine if your mailing meets the nonprofit guidelines.


  • A label or printing directly onto the envelope is preferred over handwritten addresses.

Requesting a standard mailing

  • A yellow mail instruction slip must be included with your mailpieces (available at the Mail & Service Center). Please include: department, account number, your name, date, and number of pieces in the mailing. Please bundle any foreign addressed pieces separately. They will be mailed first-class.

Special Services

Certified Mail

  • provides you with a mailing receipt and a record of delivery is maintained at the recipient's post office for two years. A return receipt provides you with proof of delivery and can be obtained for an additional fee. Certified mail service is available for first class mail only. No insurance coverage is provided. A numbered label and completed receipt must be affixed. You can obtain these labels from the Mail & Service Center.

Registered Mail

  • service can only be provided through a US Post Office.

Insured Mail

  • insurance coverage can be purchased for your packages for up to $5,000 in indemnity to protect against loss or damage. Shipping insurance costs are based on the item's declared value. There are limitations for insuring some products and certain items. And some services, such as Priority Mail Express® and Priority Mail® include insurance in the price of service.

Return Receipt

  • is your proof of delivery. It is available for insured mail, and with certified, registered, and domestic express mail shipments. Be certain to identify your mail box and department name on any return receipts so we can route them back to you.

Foreign Mail

  • Most items are mailable to foreign countries. A customs form is required on all packages.

Personal Mail - Incoming and Outgoing

Outgoing Personal Mail

  • Outgoing personal mail is handled along with college mail. All personal packages sent from the Cornell College address must have the Cornell College return.

Incoming Personal Mail

  • Faculty and Staff should not receive personal mail of any kind. The Mail & Service Center has the right to refuse delivery of any personal packages.

Overnight Carriers

We use UPS and US Postal Service as our overnight couriers. Please note that only US Postal Service can deliver mail to Post Office Boxes.

Envelopes and Packaging

  • The various couriers supply us with envelopes and boxes. We stock many sizes of USPS Priority Rate boxes.

  • Bubble envelopes are available for purchase at the Mail & Service Center.

  • Packaging tape and styrofoam peanuts are available for free.

Courier Selection

  • Selection of couriers depends on several factors:

  • Delivery destination and arrival time needed.

  • Selection also depends on whether destination is local area, state area, regional area, national, or international.

  • All couriers (with a few exceptions) offer next morning, by noon, afternoon (by 3 p.m. or 5 p.m.), and second business day.

  • Each of these service levels have different price schedules and not all couriers go to all places within the same time frame.

  • NOTE: Should you consider a Saturday service, determine if anyone is going to be at the delivery destination.