Permit Mail and Large Mailings

Permit Mail, otherwise known as permit imprint, is the most convenient way to reduce postage costs when sending out large mailings. Instead of using a meter to apply postage, the stamp or "Indicia" is preprinted on the envelope. Permit Mail must be prepared according to USPS guidelines in order to receive postage discounts. 

Bulk Mail is generally the term used to describe large mailings. Bulk mail requires minimum quantities of mail to be prepared for a specific class of mail in order to qualify for postage discounts. For instance, First- Class mail requires a minimum or 500 pieces while non-profit mail requires 200 pieces to qualify for discounts. 

Use of a letter shop or direct mail vendor is required to ensure mail is prepared and presorted according to USPS guidelines. 

Stamped or metered mail greater than 500 pieces is not considered bulk mail.

Obtaining a Permit

Penn Mail Service maintains a permit for the use of nonprofit organizations directly affiliated with Penn for mailings of a minimum of 500 pieces. (Smaller mailings must use a MAC card).  Departments may not authorize the use of the University's mailing permits nor make deposits into the permit accounts. All requests must contain the following information:

  • Department initiating the mailing
  • Expected date of mailing
  • Approximate number of pieces
  • Description of the mailing
  • The firm handling the job
  • A department budget code 
  • A contact name and phone number within the department

Please click here for the Permit Mail form

Permit Uses

The Penn permit may be used for Non-Profit or First Class Presorted Mail.

  • USPS Permit (indicia) is authorized only for use by University of Penn organizations, departments and authorized individuals. It may not be shared and/or delegated to any other person or organization.
  • First Class Mail:  A minimum of 500 pieces is required. All mail pieces must be uniform in size. For lowest postage rate, letters should not weigh more than 3.5 ounces; Flats should not weigh more than 13 ounces.
  • Non-Profit Mail: Minimum of 200 pieces is required to qualify for the Nonprofit rate. All pieces must be uniform in size and weigh less than 16 ounces and be at least .007" thick. Mail pieces over 4 1/4" by 6" in size must be at least .009" thick.
  • Mailers must obtain approval for permit from Penn Mail Services prior to use. Client is responsible for filling out a 3600 Postage Statement and obtaining a signature from Penn Mail Services prior to delivering mail to USPS.
  • Mailings must be delivered directly to USPS Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) located at 7600 Lindbergh Blvd. Philadelphia, PA and be accompanied by a signed 3600 postage statement. This is a service that is typically provided by the lettershop vendor.


Preparing your Mailing - Lettershop

Lettershop services are the activities required to prepare mail to be presented to the post office. These include:  addressing, inserting, tabbing, postal pre-sorting and fulfillment. Lawler Direct is Penn’s strategic lettershop provider for processing large mailings. A trusted University provider for more than 15 years, Lawler Direct provides cost-effective lettershop services and guidance to Penn clients for preparing their mailings in accordance with postal requirements, as well as pick-up of client-prepared mailings on campus.

A list of other Penn Preferred Suppliers who assist with these mailings may be found on the Print and Interactive Communications Website. When working with an external supplier for addressing the mail pieces, please take the necessary steps to ensure that the electronic transfer of the mailing list is done  in a secure manner.