WCU moving to electronic mailing as postage increases

The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced last month new increases to postal service rates nationwide. These new increases include a new price for first-class “Forever” stamps, with a price increase to 45 cents per stamp. This is a 1 cent increase from the 44 cent first-class stamp that has been in use for 2 1/2 years.

Other increases to postal service rates include a 3 cent increase on postcards, to 20 cents, and a 5 cent increase on letters mailed to Canada or Mexico, for a new price of 85 cents.  The average USPS rate increase on various services is 2.1 percent.

The increase affects first-class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services.

“While actual percentage price increases for various products and services varies, the overall average price increase across all mailing services is capped by law at 2.1 percent, the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index,” the USPS said in a press release.

The new changes take effect January 22, 2012.

Bobby Justice, Associate Vice Chancellor of Financial Services at Western Carolina University, said that the increases would affect a number of offices at the University.

 “We don’t have the luxury of getting additional funds from Raleigh to cover the increase,” he said, adding that the institution will have to address the changes within the existing budget.”

He also said that the University is “moving to as many electronic options as possible to minimize mailing costs.”

Though the impact on the average consumer is slight, analysts believe many large corporations must reevaluate their use of widespread mailings and are examine new options for electronic marketing that may be more cost effective. Larger corporations who do much of their marketing via catalog or printed mailings are seeing a large increase in mailing costs, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The increase is the first for Postal Service rates in 2 1/2 years, and the Postal Service expects to be able to continue offering the new rates for an extended period of time. Historically, the Postal Service has raised rates every 1 to 4 years to match with inflation and the Consumer Price Index.