College students celebrating while looking at the screen near mail boxes

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Improving the Quality of Campus Life by Insourcing Mail Services

Updated December 22, 2023

As new digital technology changes the way, students learn, so do the demands placed on colleges and universities to respond to the needs of the students and staff on campus. According to a recent report, students are not only more consumer-driven but also want more choice and convenience.1 Decisions about mailroom services can have an important effect on the quality of education, daily life on campus, and student well-being.

This is leading higher education institutions across the country to consider several key questions when it comes to on-campus offerings and university campus improvements, like mailroom services. Is it really better for college campuses and universities to outsource their mailroom management? Does insourcing outgoing and incoming mail processing offer additional benefits for students, staff, and faculty?

Outsourcing vs. Insourcing

Outsourcing involves hiring a third party (or parties) to handle some or all of your mail processing and parcel processing tasks. This can include an array of services such as the design, printing, assembling, postage, and mailing of paper-based materials. Mailroom outsourcing can maximize internal efficiencies and help ensure that mail goes out on time but, as some experts point out, mailroom outsourcing can also end up being more expensive.2

Insourcing sees institutions handling all mail and parcel processing tasks internally. Overseeing mailing operations in this way offers more control and, when combined with innovative technology such as Campus Hub™ smart lockers, can also save money. Typically, compared to third-party providers, insourced package and mail service employees don’t have to be brought up to speed, saving time and helping ensure that all confidentiality and compliance rules are met.2

Determining Which Option is Best for Your Institution

The best option for a university or college campus really depends on the specific needs of the staff and student population, as well as the cost and effectiveness of existing solutions. Though the pandemic has accelerated the pace of outsourcing solutions, it has also exposed a host of problems, where institutions are not saving as much money as promised, and the quality of services has declined.3

Here are some important questions to ask when trying to decide if insourcing or outsourcing mail services is the right fit for your campus experience:

  • Would we be better off if someone else managed these outgoing and incoming mail processes?
  • Could technology help improve the employee and student experience without outsourcing?
  • How many people (including full-time staff, part-time staff, and student workers) would be impacted if we choose to outsource?
  • What is the expected return on investment? Will we be able to streamline operations or reduce staffing budgets?
  • Will outsourcing impact our compliance with guidelines set out by the US Postal Service and other parcel carriers?

The Benefits of Insourcing Mail Services


It is important for universities to meet the needs of new and prospective students, not only to stave off enrollment challenges but also to address a more consumer-driven mindset. Regular headlines about the staggering level of student loans in the US are discouraging enrollment, so higher education institutions have to demonstrate more creative ways of tailoring and personalizing the education experience to meet the increasingly diverse needs of the student population.4

That’s why the quality of the student experience is critical to encouraging and keeping students on university and college campuses across the country. Institutions can no longer dictate the terms and conditions of students’ educational experiences and outcomes. They need to optimize their offerings to meet students’ needs.5

One element of this customer-focused strategy is to make it easy for students to retrieve mail, incoming packages, important documents, and other essential items at their convenience. As a service that boosts students’ well-being, mailroom technology, such as smart lockers, offers 24/7, self-service access to mail, packages, and other important documents, all without the need for extra staff.


Balancing budget and service quality has always been a challenge for learning institutions. When augmented with institution-owned technology, insourced services can provide greater convenience and higher-quality service for students by taking advantage of the communication channels and processes students are already familiar with, such as smart phones and other personal digital technology.

As student and staff needs grow, software or tech solutions, including smart lockers, can be easily scaled. By implementing easy-to-use and cost-effective mail management solutions, colleges and universities can also adjust their offerings based on demand while still providing quality face-to-face services for students in need of support.


Universities must determine how to ensure the long-term viability of many programs in face of long-term financial challenges and the end of access to CARES Act funding. Augmenting insourced campus mail services with smart technology can be a cost-effective solution that meets student needs, institutional KPIs, and the budgetary constraints that most universities and colleges are having to work with.

Parcel Lockers: An Affordable, Insourced Solution

Smart retail lockers can help reduce staff and resource costs associated with effective mailroom management. Like other smart campus initiatives, they help improve the student experience and boost operational efficiency in higher education, both of which can contribute to increased student retention.

For instance, one large public university partnered with Quadient for a holistic solution that included innovative digital mailroom technology and parcel locker solutions. The result was that they were able to move from an outsourced to an insourced model, operating at net zero cost rather than “in the red”. Smart electronic locker technology didn’t just give students on-demand access to their envelopes and packages, it also shortened the lineups at the on-campus post office!

Parcel Pending by Quadient’s Campus Hub™ lets university and college campuses realize further savings, especially when costs are shared across departments. Campus Hub is a contactless and scalable smart locker solution and tracking software platform that allows colleges and universities to seamlessly manage goods receiving and distribution across campus.

To find out more about how our locker solutions can help you insource and improve your mailroom service offerings on campus, contact a Parcel Pending representative today.


  1. Burt, Chris. College 2030, Part II: The 5 challenges higher ed leaders must address. June 28, 2022.
  2. Higher Information Group. Outsourcing vs. Insourcing Your Mail Operations. higherinformation April 14, 2021.
  3. Marcus, Jon. More colleges and universities outsource services to for-profit companies. January 8, 2021.
  4. Burt, Chris. College 2030, Part II: The 5 challenges higher ed leaders must address. June 28, 2022.
  5. Grajek, Susan. Top 10 IT Issues, 2022: The Higher Education We Deserve. November 1, 2021.