Authority to Enter Into a Purchase Agreement

The authority to enter into a purchase agreement is vested in the Purchasing Department. No individual may obligate the University to a procurement indebtedness, for any goods or services, without prior approval from Purchasing . This authority may be delegated through the use of purchase orders, limited purchase orders, standing orders or credit cards.

Purchase Orders

The Purchase Order is the standard instrument used to procure goods and services. All University procurement transactions require a Purchase Order except in cases where an alternative method has been specifically identified and approved by the Purchasing Office. A properly completed Purchase Order is a legally binding contract and should be treated accordingly. Purchase Orders are created in the Purchasing Office following submission of a purchase requisition by the end user.

Transactions Not Requiring a Purchase Order

Certain types of transactions do not require a purchase order. In these cases, end users may make contact with suppliers without prior approval from Purchasing. Payment may be made by submitting a check request to Accounts Payable or by use of a University-issued credit card. The following types of transactions do not require a purchase order:

  • Travel (airfare, train tickets, etc.)
  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • Business Entertainment
  • Conference Registrations
  • Membership Dues
  • Subscriptions
  • Stipends
  • Honoraria
  • Government Fees
  • Advertising

Verbal Orders (Confirmation Orders)

In situations where goods or services are urgently needed and delay will result in significant loss, a verbal purchase order may be obtained by calling the Purchasing Office. The end-user may then place the order directly. A confirming purchase requisition must be immediately sent to the Purchasing Office. Verbal orders are limited to purchases not exceeding $500.


In cases where a supplier requires that a check accompany a purchase order, the Purchasing Office will coordinate arrangements with Accounts Payable. The requestor must clearly indicate on the requisition that a check is to be sent with the purchase order. It is critical that accurate information be provided about the payment including name and address of payee, tax identification number or social security number, account number and payment amount. Requestors should request prepayment only when absolutely necessary as this method is costly and often problematic.

Deposits and Balances

Instances in which it is necessary to make an initial deposit followed by subsequent payment of a balance require that the requestor clearly indicate on the requisition that two separate payments are forthcoming. The first line of the requisition should state “Deposit for …”.

Be sure to indicate the purpose and the exact amount of the deposit. The second line should state “Balance”. If the supplier can not provide an invoice for the balance, requestor may submit a check request to Accounts Payable. It is critical that the check request provide a notation including the purchase order number and that the payment is for the balance of the order.

Change Orders

The Purchasing Office will issue a Change Order in cases where significant variances in specification, quantity or cost to an existing purchase order require written clarification. In cases involving increased funding, any change in cost which represents an increase of ten percent (minimum $500) requires that a written request for change be mailed or e-mailed to the Purchasing Office in order to begin the process.

Regardless of the percentage, Change Orders are required in any instance where the total of the increase is $2500 or more.

Standing Orders

Standing Orders are issued for the repeated purchase of frequently used, low-value supply items or routine services. In some cases, a Standing Order may be created for emergency maintenance/repair services. A Standing Order remains open for a specific period of time, normally one fiscal year, in order to facilitate repeated purchases.

This type of order is used in cases where a minimum of 10 transactions are conducted annually. Items purchased with a Standing Order may not have a unit value of greater than $500.

Limited Purchase Orders

Limited Purchase Orders (LPO) are pre-numbered purchase orders which the end-user completes and distributes. They are limited in value to $250. No contact with Purchasing nor preparation of a requisition is required before placing a LPO.

LPO invoices which provide a reasonable match (with the LPO form filed in Accounts Payable) will be paid without end-user approval. Limited Purchase Orders may not be used to purchase office furniture, office supplies or other items offered through University contracts or standards.

Competitive Bidding

The Purchasing Department is committed to getting the maximum value from each dollar spent and has established standards of competitively bidding goods and services whenever possible.  For purchases up to $5,000, price competition (quotes) is not required but recommended.  Departments must make every effort to obtain the best price for the best value.  The Department Chair/Director is responsible for authorizing these purchases.  All vendors must comply with the University’s terms and conditions, which should be included and referenced when soliciting quotations.

For purchases exceeding $5,000, price competition (quotes) is required.  Departments must solicit a minimum of three (3) quotes or may contact the Purchasing Department for assistance.  The lowest quote must be accepted unless there is sufficient justification otherwise.  The Department Chair/Director is responsible for authorizing these purchases.  All vendors must comply with the University’s terms and conditions, which should be included and referenced when soliciting quotations.  For purchases expected to exceed $50,000, the Purchasing Department will solicit bids on your behalf.  Be sure to leave sufficient time for this process.  Bids are not required in cases where the source of supply is an existing contract, a sole-source supplier or the same item has been previously bid within the last year.

Sole Source Justification

In cases where a purchase valued above $5,000 cannot be competitively bid, it is necessary that a Sole Source Justification be attached to the purchase requisition when it is submitted to Purchasing. A supplier is considered a Sole Source in cases where only one product can meet the specification described by the requisitioner and only one supplier can provide that product. A Sole Source Justification should include sufficient detail to fully defend the position that a substitution of product or supplier is not possible.

Conflict of Interest

Employees or immediate relatives of employees are not eligible to be suppliers of goods or services to the University.

Gifts from Suppliers

University employees involved in supplier-selection decisions are prohibited from accepting personal gifts or gratuities from suppliers or those wishing to become suppliers to the University.

Certificates of Insurance

Suppliers who perform services on campus, provide products which may be potentially dangerous or who operate vehicles on campus are required to submit a Certificate of Insurance to the Purchasing Office prior to the delivery of any such products or services.

Exclusive Contracts

The University has entered into a number of contracts which include exclusivity as part of the terms and conditions. It is mandatory that products and services listed below are procured through the supplier indicated. The Purchasing Office will not issue a purchase order for another supplier unless a detailed written explanation is submitted with the requisition.

Catering Drew Dining Service (Aramark)
Textbooks Drew Bookstore (Follett)
Facilities Maintenance Drew Facilities Maintenance (Aramark)
Copying Drew Duplicating (Millennium Group)
Office Supplies Staples