As the U.S. Postal Service undergoes major changes to cut down on federal costs, students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln say the transition won’t impact their daily lives.
“I’ve lived in frat houses, apartments, on campus, in houses off campus, and I really haven’t had to rely on the postal service too frequently to send things other than packages,” Josh Steinauer, senior nutrition and exercise science major, said.
The USPS is reducing door-to-door delivery services and phasing out Saturday mail delivery as part of the Postal Reform Act of 2013, downsizing one of the oldest professions in American history. The reform includes building secure cluster mailboxes in neighborhoods and eliminating expensive door-to-door delivery. While Saturday USPS package delivery will continue, mail delivery such as ads and bills will be phased out on the weekends.
Because email, online video and phone conversations have become a more convenient method of communication, many students, including international students, rarely use a physical mailing system other than package delivery, which will not be affected by the postal reform. More than 1,300 international students from more than 100 countries attend UNL each year, according to the UNL’s global admissions website.
“Only on a few occasions have I needed to send international mail quickly, but I wouldn’t wait until Saturday to do it,” Hae Jin Kim, a graduate biochemistry student from South Korea said, “Most of the time I just use the post office to send and receive packages in this country.”
And for Azar Mohammadabadi, a Ph.D. student studying climatology from Iran, it can be difficult to send important documents in the mail. She said there is no guarantee mail will go where it is supposed to in the Middle East because the system is not as secure as the USPS. She said incoming mail to the Middle East is more likely to get lost than outgoing mail.
“I usually communicate with my family using Skype or by phone,” Mohammadabidi said. “Very rarely do I send or receive letters.”
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California introduced the bill to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on July 19. The bill was passed five days later by the committee and is on its way to be debated on the floor of the House of Representatives and Senate.
The hope of postal reform is that postal shipping rates for customers and pay and benefits for USPS federal workers will normalize. Reports from the USPS already show extreme drops in employment over the last decade as data in 2003 reports more than 729,000 people were career employees and in 2012, employment numbers dropped to about 522,000 people.
According to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s website, the concern from policymakers is that this dying occupation will need a taxpayer bailout as soon as the USPS cannot pay its bills.