The following is a summary of bid limits that apply to goods and services acquired from outside vendors. See Official Purchasing Policies for complete details.

Purchases of $10,000 or Less

Purchases of goods or services of $10,000 or less may be made by departments based on their discretion. Whenever possible purchases less than $10,000 should be made using Procurement Cards. Note: Assets costing $5,000 or more may not be purchased with the procurement card. To stay within this limit, departments may not make multiple purchases of or request multiple invoices for single purchases of identical goods or modular components from the same vendor. Purchases of identical goods or modular components from the same vendor which exceed $10,000 must be initiated through Purchasing. Excluded are purchases for construction and renovation work and for goods or services available through existing State or University contracts.

NOTE: Purchases of sensitive minor equipment valued between $1500 and $5,000 CAN NOW be purchased on a procurement card. See Sensitive Minor Equipment Purchase Procedure.

Purchases Over $10,000 and up to $50,000

All purchases over $10,000 and under $50,000 will be made by the purchasing department via purchase order. With the exception of noncompetitive purchases (i.e., sole-source, proprietary, or emergency), vendor selection will be based on the solicitation of informal competitive price quotations from at least three sources. Informal bids may be obtained in writing, by facsimile, or by telephone. Documentation of all informal bids will be maintained in the purchasing department.

At the discretion of Purchasing, departments may solicit informal bids from vendors for purchases within this range. This information must accompany the requisition sent to the purchasing department. (Consult campus/unit procedures statements or contact the purchasing department for price quotation documentation requirements.)

Purchases of $50,000 and Higher

The purchasing department will make all purchases of $50,000 and higher based on competitive prices by soliciting written sealed bids from 15 vendors or the number of vendors on the Qualified Bidders List, whichever is less. (The chief purchasing officer or designee must approve the solicitation of fewer than 15 bids.) A public opening of the bids received will be held at the time and date specified on the bid solicitation request.

Note: Competitive bidding may take 20 or more days. Therefore, departments should anticipate their needs as far in advance as possible!


Definition: Justification for an emergency purchase may occur when time is limited and products or services are needed to protect the lives or health of persons, to prevent or minimize damage to University property, or to meet other critical requirements.

Exclusion from Competitive Bidding: Properly documented emergency purchases may be excluded from competitive bidding requirements under certain conditions. The purchasing department should be notified by telephone as soon as possible to expedite the purchase. The required form, Justification for Non-competitive Purchases and Contracts, must be completed to confirm the emergency situation (Sole Source Form). As time permits, the purchasing department will try to obtain bids. Consult the Purchasing department for specific procedures.

Items Not Subject to Emergency Purchase: Emergency purchases cannot be made for commodities or services covered under an existing contract.


Criteria for Non-competitive Products or Services: The purchasing department will classify a product or service as non-competitive when competitive methods are not feasible or practical, as in the following situations:

  • Only one product or service can meet the specific need and the required product or service is available from only one source.
  • Compatibility or consistency with past acquisitions of products or services is essential (e.g., avoiding additional costs by changing the supplier of the product or service).

Exclusion from Competitive Bidding: When requesting that products or services be excluded from competitive bidding, departments must complete the appropriate NCJ form in IRIS. Products or services the purchasing department determines to be non-competitive may be exempted from competitive bid requirements with the approval of the campus/unit chief business officer (or designee).