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Purchasing Policy

Effective Date: April 6, 2015
Last Revision: July 1, 2019
Responsible Officer: Assistant Vice President of Procurement Services


The purpose of this Purchasing Policy is to provide for institutional consistency, discipline and accountability over all funds entrusted to University stakeholders. This Policy outlines who is authorized to commit the University to Contracts (as defined herein) for the acquisition of Covered Goods and/or Services (as defined herein) and establishes specific rules and obligations for the purchasing process. This Policy also provides for internal controls to protect institutional assets, promote effectiveness and efficiency, and ensure that resulting financial and operational information is fair and supportable.

The guiding principles of this Policy are transparency, fairness, inclusiveness, and use of a competitive process whenever it is practicable and in the University's best interest. We actively seek to provide opportunities for diverse and small local businesses.


For the purpose of this Policy, "University" refers to Drexel University and its colleges, schools, divisions, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and Drexel University Online. All University trustees, officers, faculty, professional staff, students and consultants are subject to this Policy.


Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of Procurement Services.


The Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer is the Drexel University official responsible for the administration of this policy.


Applicable Authority shall mean the University's Bylaws, applicable actions or directives of applicable Board of Trustees, and the provisions of this Policy or other relevant University Policies.

AVP-PS shall mean the Assistant Vice President of Procurement Services.

Contract shall mean any type of contractual agreement entered into by the University for Covered Goods and/or Services.

Covered Goods and/or Services shall mean any goods or services purchased for or on behalf of the University except as specifically exempted by this Policy.

DOA shall mean a written delegation of authority from the AVP-PS to purchase Covered Goods and/or Services, as specifically provided for in the DOA and in compliance with the Delegation of Authority Policy for Executing Contracts on Behalf of Drexel University.

eProcurement shall mean enabled software that automates the procure to pay process.

P-Card shall mean a University Purchasing Card.

Strategic Sourcing shall mean the department within Procurement Services with primary responsibility for administering this Policy, under the authority of the AVP-PS.

RTP shall mean Request to Purchase.

RFP shall mean Request for Proposals.

Smart Source shall mean the University's eProcurement solution.


A. Delegation of Purchasing Authority

  1. The AVP-PS is delegated authority through this Policy to purchase and enter into Contracts for Covered Goods and/or Services for the University subject to Applicable Authority. Such authority is delegated from the President through the Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer (COO).
  2. No other person covered by this Policy, without further DOA from the President or as may otherwise be allowed by Applicable Authority, can purchase or enter into a Contract for Covered Goods and/or Services for or on behalf of the University. Any such individual who attempts to obligate the University without such authority will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

B. General Procurement Policies

  1. Purchases not otherwise restricted by this Policy for Covered Goods and/or Services under $5,000 submitted through an RTP may be made without solicitation of bids/proposals.
  2. Purchases for Covered Goods and/or Services between $5,000 and $25,000 may be made without formal solicitation of bids/proposals unless Procurement Services determines in consultation with the requesting department that formal solicitation is appropriate; however, informal bids/proposals must be obtained for these purchases. Informal bids/proposals may be accepted in writing or electronically, and must be attached to an RTP.
  3. Purchases for Covered Goods and/or Services of $25,000 or more require a formal solicitation process as further specified in Section (I), except as set forth below in subsection (B-4). Such process, including who is responsible for carrying out the process, will be determined by Procurement Services based on the reasonable requirements set forth by the requester and in pursuit of the best overall value for the University.
  4. A purchase for Covered Goods and/or Services of $25,000 or more may be exempt from a formal solicitation process if it is determined by Strategic Sourcing that the process will not reasonably add value. When the requestor seeks such an exemption, justification for the request must be submitted in writing to Strategic Sourcing.
  5. In cases where a formal solicitation process has been followed and only one offer has been received that reasonably conforms to the requester's specifications, no sole-source justification will be required.
  6. Any proposed Contract for purchases of Covered Goods and/or Services, submitted with or without a requisition, must follow the University's Contract Protocol Policy (OGC-2) and can only be signed by the AVP-PS or his/her designee, or by any other person authorized under Applicable Authority.
  7. Without limiting the requirement that all purchases and Contracts for Covered Goods and/or Services are subject to Applicable Authority (including any necessary Board action), purchases and Contracts for Covered Goods and/or Services in the amount of $500,000 and greater must also be approved by the President prior to execution.
  8. All purchases must be made for University-related activities. Purchasing goods or services for personal use will result in administrative or disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
  9. Changes to the scope or amount of a purchase order must be reviewed and processed by Strategic Sourcing. Changes may require additional approval(s) over and above what was required for the original purchase order (e.g., approval based on increased dollar value).
  10. Purchase orders to be paid with operating funds may not, without prior approval from Procurement Services, cover multiple fiscal years.
  11. The AVP-PS has the authority to review Covered Goods and/or Services being requisitioned, including the supplier of such Covered Goods and/or Services. Procurement Services will, to the extent practicable and in the University's best interests, meet all reasonable requirements set forth by the requester.

C. Approval Authority For Purchases

Those individuals within the University who have been assigned responsibility for a specific budget are responsible for authorizing purchases of Covered Goods and/or Services against that budget. This authority may be delegated as deemed necessary and prudent by the budget owner, and in accordance with Applicable Authority, including the Delegation of Authority for Executing Contracts on Behalf of Drexel University and the Contract Protocol Policy (OGC-2). An RTP may be approved only by a person who has been properly authorized.

D. Departmental Responsibilities

  1. Purchases made using a P-Card are subject to the Purchasing Card Policy. It is the responsibility of the administrative head of the ordering department or their designee to ensure that purchases initiated by departmental staff are made in accordance with the P-Card Policy as well as this Purchasing Policy. Violation of either policy may result in the loss of the P-Card privilege for the offending P-Cardholder, and may lead to additional administrative or disciplinary action, including termination and/or prosecution. (See Purchasing Card Policy)
  2. Procurement Services has established contracts for many Covered Goods and/or Services in order to assure best value for the University. Contract pricing and performance are based on the University's overall anticipated volume of purchases during the contract period. Departments shall obtain needed Covered Goods and/or Services from contracted suppliers when departmental requirements can be reasonably met. Unless otherwise stipulated by the AVP-PS, purchases from contracted suppliers or designated preferred suppliers are not exempt from the requirements of this Policy, including, but not limited to, competitive bidding requirements.

E. Diverse and Local Suppliers and Sustainability

  1. When possible, departments are expected to make reasonable efforts to consider use of local or diverse suppliers including, but not limited to, minority-owned, woman-owned, LGBTQ+-owned, and protected veteran-owned businesses.
  2. Departments should also consider environmental stewardship and sustainable business practices in making purchasing decisions.
  3. During an RFP or other competitive bid process, consideration shall be given to those suppliers supporting the University's interest in supporting diverse, local, and/or sustainable business. Such factors shall be considered among all other relevant factors set forth in the Purchasing Guidelines or otherwise determined on a case-by-case basis.

F. Splitting or Stringing Purchases

The practice of "splitting" or "stringing" of purchases (for example, issuing multiple purchase orders, purchase requisitions, P-Card transactions, etc.), with the intent to circumvent this Purchasing Policy is strictly prohibited. Any person found to intentionally split or string purchases will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

G. Requisitions For Goods and Services Already Provided

  1. Confirming Orders
    1. Confirming Orders are requests for the University to pay for goods or services that have already been provided. Because Confirming Orders forego the requirements of the Purchasing Policy, including competitive bidding, they are only permitted in the event of an emergency (as described below) or with prior approval from Strategic Sourcing.
    2. University personnel authorized by Applicable Authority may make emergency purchases where there is a significant and imminent risk of loss to the University or where University safety and security, or human life or property may be endangered. When an emergency arises, and the need cannot be met through normal procurement methods, the emergency purchase shall be made by whatever means reasonably necessary to mitigate the damage or risk. The P-Card should be used if possible; limits will be raised to accommodate these purchases (contact the P-Card Office at TandE@drexel.eduu or 215.895.2876). If the P-Card is not feasible, then the emergency should be mitigated by whatever means necessary.
    3. As soon as possible following the emergency, the person responsible for the emergency purchase shall provide written documentation to Strategic Sourcing ( stating the basis of the emergency purchase and for the selection of the particular contractor or provider. Normal purchasing procedures shall be followed as soon as the emergency is over.
  2. Check Requests
    1. Check requests are typically used for certain reimbursements or to make a payment when there is no supplier invoice. Examples of acceptable expenses to be paid by check request include, but are not limited to, the following:
      1. Reimbursement of non-employee expenses;
      2. Payment for participation in Drexel programs (e.g., research projects) that are not otherwise documented by a Contract;
      3. Reimbursement of employee expenses unrelated to travel (refer to the Business Travel Expense Policy for employee travel reimbursement);
      4. Awards or prizes given to non-employees;
      5. Honoraria to be paid to non-employees on a non-recurring basis as a nominal gift or courtesy, not as compensation for services rendered [refer to the Purchasing Guidelines for further details]; or
      6. Dues, memberships, or license fees which cannot be paid with a University P-Card.
    2. Where an invoice has been issued for products or services already provided, a check request may not be used. In this case, a confirming order (see above) is the appropriate payment mechanism.

H. Gifts and Gratuities

Anyone subject to this Policy must adhere to the highest ethical standard in regard to the acceptance of gifts or gratuities, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, will at all times follow the Acceptance of Personal Gifts Policy. No gift or gratuity, regardless of value, should be accepted if it, in fact or appearance, diminishes the objectivity of such person.

I. Bids and Proposals

  1. Requests for Proposals
  2. An RFP is required for requests that exceed $25,000. The responsive proposal which represents the best value to the University will be accepted. Please see the Purchasing Guidelines for additional information regarding the RFP process.

  3. Sole Source or RFP Exception
  4. Goods or services may qualify for a sole source exception to competitive bidding requirements if the requester establishes that the goods or services can only be provided by one supplier. A Sole Source Justification form must contain the rationale for the request, and is subject to review and approval by Strategic Sourcing. Examples of valid criteria to establish a sole source include, but are not limited to, the following:

    1. A specific good or service is required for compatibility with existing systems or research needs and is only available from one supplier;
    2. Servicing of existing equipment is provided only by one supplier (e.g., the manufacturer of the equipment or a designated third party), or servicing by a supplier other than the manufacturer or designated third party may compromise the integrity of the equipment or void warranties on the equipment;
    3. The funding source (e.g., a grantor) specifies purchasing goods or services from a certain supplier;
    4. A service provider has unique expertise or specialized knowledge;
    5. Payment made to an existing supplier under a valid contract provided (i) such payment is expressly set forth in the contract; (ii) the contract resulted from competitive bidding in compliance with this Purchasing Policy; and (iii) the contract is still in its initial term. For the sake of clarity, any extension or renewal of a contract must undergo the competitive bidding process except as otherwise set forth in this Purchasing Policy; or
    6. The purchase of goods or services under a consortium or cooperative pricing agreement in which Procurement Services has elected to participate (e.g., selected Philadelphia Area Collegiate Cooperative agreements) or which has otherwise been reviewed and approved by Procurement Services on a case by case basis. Procurement Services retains the discretion to apply the RFP process for large purchases of goods or services covered by an approved consortium or cooperative agreement where Drexel may have the ability to independently negotiate more favorable pricing.

J. Standard Terms and Conditions and Contract Templates

Procurement Services, in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), will determine whether or not standard terms and conditions accompany a purchase of Covered Goods and/or Services or whether a separate contract is required. Please see the Purchasing Guidelines for additional information.

K. Waiver and Rejection Rights

Strategic Sourcing is authorized to waive informalities in bids and proposals and to reject any and all bids and proposals if reasonably determined to be in the best interests of the University. "Informalities" are defined as elements of a bid/RFP response that do not materially affect the nature or quality of the proposal and do not put at risk the fair and objective review and decision making required in these processes.

L. Special Purchases

Under this Policy, purchases that are of unique nature or have special requirements are considered to be "Special Purchases." The procedures and considerations applicable to Special Purchases are set forth in the Purchasing Guidelines. Special Purchases include, but are not limited to, the acquisition of the following:

  1. Alcohol, Drugs, and Hazardous Materials;
  2. Cooperative Purchasing;
  3. Government Surplus Property Program;
  4. Radioactive Materials;
  5. Service and Maintenance Agreements;
  6. Contracts for Off Campus Special Events; and
  7. Computing Equipment and Software.

M. Exemptions From This Policy

The following purchases are exempt from this Policy:

1. Legal Services, Insurance Broker Services and Insurance Policies

  • All legal services, insurance policies, and related insurance brokerage services for and on behalf of the University (and its affiliated entities and employees consistent with Applicable Authority) shall be the sole responsibility of the General Counsel, including, but not limited to, authority to execute contracts relating thereto.

2. Architecture, Engineering and Construction

  • All architecture, engineering and construction services for capital projects shall be the sole responsibility of Drexel University Real Estate and Facilities.

3. Employment Agreements

  • Employment agreements for professional staff and faculty shall be the sole responsibility of Human Resources.

4. Real Estate

  • This Policy does not apply to acquisitions or leases of real property and related brokerage services, but such matters are subject to Applicable Authority. See also Space Allocation and Renovation Policy.

5. Research

  • Research-related exceptions to this Policy may be made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of Procurement Services where circumstances warrant. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, accommodating grant or other contractual requirements or restrictions, meeting research deadlines or addressing other critical time constraints, and replication of scientific studies.

6. Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices

  • Purchases of cell phones, wifi devices, tablets and other personal electronic devices, excluding laptop and desktop computers, are subject to the Cell Phone/Device Plan Policy.

7. Drexel University Online

  • Drexel University Online (DUO) is authorized to make purchasing decisions as it reasonably deems appropriate for its business purposes, based on DUO's procurement policies and/or procedures.