University reinstates mail fee for off-campus students

Kayla Solino and Alexis Waterworth

The University of Alabama is reinstating a mail fee for off-campus undergraduate students to receive packages through Campus Mail Services. A different, one-time mail fee was originally supposed to start during the fall semester but was delayed after student complaints about the opaque nature of the fee and difficulty opting out 

Beginning June 1, any student that lives off-campus will be assessed $2.50 for each package that is shipped to campus through Campus Mail Services and then picked up.  

The fee applies to UA students who live in off-campus housing but have packages delivered to campus. It does not apply to any students living in on-campus residence halls, Greek housing or off-campus apartments leased by the University.  

Information about the fee was included within the Wednesday,  Jan 25, Inside UA email, which all UA students receive via their crimson email accounts.  

A statement on the FAQ page of the mail fee website notes that the change is necessary to “keep up with increasing demand” and “invest in additional personnel and equipment.”  

“As online shopping has increased dramatically, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, so too, has the volume of mail processed on UA’s campus. In the academic year 2021-2022, more than 197,000 packages were received on campus, an increase of 14% from the previous academic year,” the statement read.  

The page also noted that off-campus residents have other options to receive mail, such as their residential address, the UPS Store, U.S. Post Office or parcel lockers at commercial storefronts.  

The Campus Mail website denotes that $2.50 is the standard fee for each package, regardless of size or weight. The fee will apply to both packages that are picked up at the mail center or from a parcel locker at various locations on campus. The fee is only assessed to a student account after a student picks up their package.  

The package fee will be capped at $25 for each billing period or each semester. The billing periods run from Jan. 1 to May 31 and June 1 to Dec. 31. 

The campus mail website additionally outlines how students will be able to track their packages.  

“An online portal will be available beginning June 1 where students can log in to see details on packages they received on campus. Instructions for accessing the portal will be provided here on the Campus Mail Service website after June 1,” the site reads.  

Students will be able to dispute a charge if they feel they have been charged incorrectly.  

The announcement of the fee comes after the University’s prior attempt to implement a $25 automatic fee for off-campus students in August 2022. The original proposed plan required students to opt-out to avoid the charge.  

The University failed to notify students of this original proposed fee via email, and the brief implementation experienced technical failures 

On Aug. 10, a UA News email sent to students announced the rollback of the original mail fee plan. The email did not disclose when the mail fee would be implemented in the future but disclosed that the fee would be delayed.  

Students can receive more information on the Campus Mail Services website