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Purchasing Policy

Effective Date: April 6, 2015

Responsible Officer: Associate Vice President of Procurement Services


The purpose of this Purchasing Policy is to provide for institutional consistency, discipline and accountability over those 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 Good and/or Services (as defined herein) and establishes specific rules and obligations. This Policy also provides for sound internal controls to protect institutional assets, promote effectiveness and efficiency, and ensure that resulting financial and operational information is fair and supportable.

This Policy is also consistent with Federal purchasing guidelines applicable to the University and assures that funds entrusted to the University through grants and contracts are obligated and expended using best practices of the procurement profession. 

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 also have a strong commitment to diversity and economic inclusion.  We actively seek opportunities to expand our business footprint with minority and small local business. 


For the purpose of this Policy, "University" refers to Drexel University and its colleges, schools, divisions, subsidiaries and affiliates.  All University trustees, officers, faculty, staff, students and consultants are subject to this Policy.


A.        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.

B.        AVPPS shall mean the Associate Vice President of Procurement Services.

C.        Contract shall mean any type of contractual agreement that obligates the University to receive Covered Goods and/or Services.

D.        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.

E.        DOA shall mean a written delegation of authority from the AVPPS to purchase Covered Goods and/or Services, as specifically provided for in the DOA.

F.         PCard shall mean a University Procurement Card.

G.        RTP shall mean Request to Purchase.

H.        RFB shall mean Request for Bids.

I.          RFP shall mean Request for Proposals.

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

K.        Smart Source shall mean the specific name given the eProcurement solution.



1.         The AVPPS is delegated authority through this Policy to purchase and enter into Contracts for certain 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 Financial Officer.

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.


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. Reasonable efforts should be made to identify and use local diverse businesses when possible.

2.         Purchases for Covered Goods and/or Services between $5,000 and $25,000 may be made without formal solicitation of bids/proposals only upon written authorization from the AVPPS or his/her designee.  Where practicable, however, informal bids/proposals should be obtained for these purchases. Informal bids/proposals may be accepted in any format such as phone, fax or email. Informal bids/proposal may be obtained by requester and attached to a RTP. Reasonable efforts should be made to identify and receive quotes from local, diverse and small businesses.

3.         Purchases for Covered Goods and/or Services of $25,000 or more require a formal solicitation process as further specified in Section (H), except as set forth below in subsection (4).  Such process will be determined by the AVPPS based on the reasonable requirements set forth by the requester and in pursuit of the best overall value for the University.  The process will be carried out by Procurement Services with support from the requester.

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 the AVPPS that the process will not reasonably add value.  Justification will be submitted in writing to the AVPPS or his/her designee by the requester.

5.         In cases where a formal solicitation process has been followed and only one responsible offer has been received, no 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 and can only be signed by the AVPPS 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. 


1.         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.  An RTP may be approved only by a person who has been properly authorized. 

2.         The AVPPS has the authority to review and challenge, if necessary, the quality, quantity, applicability and source of acquisitions of Covered Goods and/or Services being requisitioned, and has final responsibility and authority in determining the source. Procurement Services will, to the extent practicable and in the University’s best interests, meet all reasonable requirements set forth by the requester.


1.         Unless otherwise restricted by Applicable Authority, purchases under $5,000 for Covered Goods and/or Services not available through the University’s eProcurement system (Smart Source) or existing University agreements may be made using a Procurement Card (P-Card). Purchases over $5,000 may not be made by P-Card unless specifically authorized by the AVPPS or his/her designee and otherwise complies with this 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 Procurement 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.


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.


The two ways to make purchases for Covered Goods and/or Services under normal circumstances are (1) the use of P-Card (if permitted by Section (D) above), or (2) by issuing a purchase order.  For any purchase where the supplier will not accept a P-Card, or where it is not permitted to be used, an RTP must be submitted by the requestor and a purchase order issued by Procurement Services.


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.  During a competitive solicitation process, no gifts, gratuities, engagements, nor anything of real or perceived value of any amount may be accepted by anyone directly or indirectly associated with the process.


1.         For requests that exceed $25,000, Procurement Services will lead a formal Request for Proposal or Request for Bid process.  All communications and documents for such process will be directed by Procurement Services. Sole source offers must be received by Procurement Services unless delegated in writing by the AVPPS.

2.         Requests for Bids

            a.         A RFB is used when specifications are clear and concise and the primary factor considered in making an award is price and conformity to the specifications.

            b.         Contracts resulting from an RFB shall be awarded to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder.  A responsive bidder is defined as one who has submitted a bid which conforms in all material respects to the RFB specifications, has the capability in all respects to perform fully the contract requirement, and demonstrated reliability which will assure good faith performance.

3.         Requests for Proposals

            a.         A RFP is used when multiple factors are to be considered in making a decision.  Weights are assigned to each decision criteria according to their relative importance in making a best value decision.  The proposed offer that is determined to provide the best value will be accepted. This is the University’s preferred method of conducting solicitations based on the premise of obtaining best value rather than simply lowest price.

            b.         Decision criteria for each RFP must be set in advance of any review of proposals.  They should include all factors necessary to determine overall best value.  Procurement Services will be responsible for approving all decision criteria. 

            c.         Price must be one of the criteria (but not necessarily the controlling criteria) used to determine best value during the RFP process; an exception to this provision may be granted by the AVPPS or his/her designee when the situation is appropriate.  Other criteria established beyond price, may include without limitation factors such as desirable functionality, maintenance, service, support, suitability for purpose intended, supplier capability, skill, facilities, capacity, cost of and compatibility with existing systems and operations when major changes of practice would be required, cost to the University of changing suppliers, experience, ability, responsibility, previous work, the financial standing of the proposer, quality of product or service, efficiency, and construction of the equipment proposed to be furnished, the period of time within which the equipment is to be furnished and delivered, and the necessity of prompt delivery of the items herein described. Diversity should be included as a decision criterion whenever possible.

            d.         All RFPs shall include a contract template, provided or approved by the OGC, if the purchase is not governed by the University's standard terms and conditions.  Procurement Services shall be responsible for consulting with the OGC to obtain or confirm the appropriate contract template, or to confirm use of the standard terms and conditions.

4.         Sole Source or RFB/RFP Exception

            Unique goods or services may qualify for sole source or RFB/RFP exception if there is a logical rationale for why conducting a competitive solicitation would not add value.  A Sole Source Justification   form must be signed by the requester and should contain the rationale for why the exception is being requested.  The Sole Source Justification form is available in Smart Source. See Smart Source Sole Source Justification Form.

a.   The Sole Source Competitive Bid form must be certified by someone with knowledge and expertise in the field in which the product will be used;

b.   The Sole Source Justification form must include a statement that, in the professional opinion of the certifying individual, it is the only product or service provider that can be used to accomplish the task necessary in an appropriate manner;

c.   Sole source exceptions are not appropriate or justified when an informal process is used to determine that one provider has products or services that for various reasons constitute best value.  This conclusion should come as a result of a formal RFP or RFB process; and

d.   Sole source exceptions should be based on the critical needs or requirements and only one solution can provide a successful result.

5.         Handling of Bids and Proposals over $25,000

            a.         All bids and RFPs will be managed by Procurement Services.  Final approval of RFP/RFB documents will be made by the AVVPS or his/her designee.  Processes, strategies and formats associated with bids and RFPs will made by Procurement Services in consultation with the requester and with the understanding that requester requirements for specification, service and all other requirements will be met.

            b.         All bids/proposals will be received, time stamped and stored in a secure location until the time of the bid/RFP opening.  Bid/RFP openings will be generally closed to the public. 

            c.         All proposal and bid materials are considered confidential and will not be shared or made available to competitors.  Results of bids/RFPs will be discussed as needed with unsuccessful respondents, but the details of the responses will be held in confidence.  All participants in a bid/RFP process will be expected to keep confidential the information they are provided and will not share information from one proposer to another proposer.

            d.         Information regarding the outcome of bids/RFPs will not be disclosed until final award and agreements are in place.

            e.         Final recommendations for award of a bid/RFP will come after the University has determined best and final offers.  Best and final offers come as a result of negotiation or request by Procurement Services. 

I.          Standard Terms and Conditions and Contract Templates

1.         Standard terms and conditions, as may be applicable to specifications, bid requests, purchase orders, or otherwise, and all contract templates, whether prepared by Drexel or any outside vendor, service provider or other individual or entity that will provide Covered Goods and/or Services to Drexel, are directed, managed and approved as to form by the OGC in cooperation with the AVVPS in accordance with the Contract Protocol Policy.

2.         Procurement Services in consultation with OGC will determine whether or not standard terms and conditions accompany a purchase of Covered Goods and/or Services or whether or not a separate contract is required.

3.         If applicable to a specific purchase, the standard terms and conditions related to University purchase orders for Covered Goods and/or Services will be available on-line for suppliers to access.  University purchase orders will reference the link where these standard terms and conditions can be accessed for review and acceptance by suppliers responding to purchase orders provided by the Drexel.

4.         If there are issues with a Contract identified by OGC, it will be the responsibility of the AVVPS, or his/her designee, to make a decision as to whether to proceed with the Contract and accept the risks associated with the Contract.  The AVVPS will consult with the requester in making this decision, and the requester will acknowledge and accept accountability for this decision in writing. 

J.         Waiver and Rejection Rights

The AVPPS 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 interest of Drexel.    “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.


1.         Under this Policy, purchases that are of unique nature or have special requirements are considered to be “special purchases.”  They include, but are not limited to, the acquisition of the following:

a.      External Sponsors;

b.      Alcohol, Drugs, and Hazardous Materials;

c.      Cooperative Purchasing;

d.      Emergency Purchases;

e.      Government Surplus Property Program;

f.       Radioactive Materials;

g.      Service and Maintenance Agreements;

h.      EBay Purchases;

i.       Contracts for Off Campus Special Events; and

j.       Computing Equipment and Software.

2.         External Sponsors

            All property acquired with use requirements or limitations by the grantor will be considered as property associated with external sponsors.  As such, it is to be inventoried, tracked and disposed of in accordance with the terms and conditions of the external sponsor’s requirements. 

3.         Alcohol, Drugs and Hazardous Materials

            a.         All purchases of drugs, alcohol and hazardous materials, in connection with University business, are to be made in compliance with University Policy and applicable laws and regulations.

            b.         Procurement Services will work with Environmental Health and Safety in order to ensure that such products are shipped, stored and handled in accordance with University safety policies and applicable laws and regulations.

            c.         Alcoholic beverages purchased in the course of business travel or business meetings are allowed with the knowledge and approval of the  purchasers supervisor. 

1.         Alcohol purchases may not be transported across state lines.

2.         Alcohol purchases must be made within the laws, regulations and guidelines that regulate these purchases in the state the purchases are made. 

3.         If alcohol is purchased it must be done in a manner that does not reflect negatively on the University.

4.         Receipts for alcohol purchases must be handled in accordance with applicable PCard and reimbursement policies.  (What is reimbursable and what is not – link) 

            d.         Alcohol may never be purchased against or charged to sponsored projects.

            c.         Purchases of alcohol in connection with a University event must also comply with the Events with Alcohol Policy:

4.         Cooperative Purchasing

            a.         When in the University’s best interest, it may enter into cooperative purchasing arrangements groups, such as Philadelphia Area Collegiate Cooperative (PACC), Educational and Institutional Cooperative (E&I), and Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA), which use aggregated spend to establish contracts. Care will be given to assure that methods similar to those required at the University are used in creating these agreements and that the University’s best interests are served by using them.

            b.         The University may also use pre-existing procurement contracts from entities or groups when the procurement methods of such entity or group are comparable, and all parties (sellers and buyers) are in agreement that the University is eligible for pricing, terms and conditions of these agreements.

            c.         Procurement Services will ensure that the procedures used to establish a contract award and the terms and conditions of the contracts are comparable to University policies and procedures.

5.         Emergency Purchases

            a.         Authorized University personnel authorized by Applicable Authority may make emergency purchases in cases that have or could impose significant loss to the University or where University safety and security, or human life or property may be endangered.  When an emergency condition arises, and the need cannot be met through normal procurement methods, the emergency purchase shall be made by whatever means necessary to mitigate the damage or risk.  The PCard should be used if possible; limits will be raised to accommodate these purchases.  If the PCard is not feasible, then the emergency should be mitigated by whatever means is necessary.  Procurement Services should be notified as soon as possible of the circumstances.

            b.         The person responsible for the emergency purchase shall provide written documentation stating the basis of the emergency purchase and for the selection of the particular contractor or provider. A written account of the emergency circumstances shall be sent promptly to the AVPPS as soon as possible.  Normal purchasing procedures shall be followed as soon as the emergency is over.

6.         Government Surplus Property Program

            a.         Certain items of property and equipment are available at significant cost savings through Government surplus property programs.  The conditions governing the acquisition of such surplus property include:

         i.       Monitoring all governmental surplus property purchases, Federal or State, to ensure adherence to the governmental policies of acquisition, utilization and disposal of the property;

         ii.      Purchasing State and Federal surplus property up to $100,000 per bid or as a sole source; over $100,000 must have approval of the AVPPS; and

         iii.     Coordinating the University program with the Government Agencies of Surplus Property.

             b.         All Federal Government or State Agency rules and regulations imposed on Surplus Property shall be adhered disseminated and adhered to.

            c.         University property received that has a government value of $5,000 or more, regardless of the acquisition cost shall be considered inventorial items of equipment and must be reported to the Comptroller’s office.

            d.         For items that have use restrictions, see Acquisition by External Sponsors section in this Policy.

7.         Radioactive Materials

            The purchase of radioactive materials shall be made only for those having an active authorization issued by Environmental Health and Safety and/or the Campus Radiation Safety Committee for the material, quantity and form being requested.

8.         Service and Maintenance Agreements

            All Contracts, regardless of cost, associated with service and maintenance of equipment for continuous, efficient operation, must be reviewed and authorized by Procurement Services only after consultation with, and review and approval by, OGC.  Equipment typically covered by service agreements includes, but is not limited to, office equipment, computing equipment, software and specialized research equipment. Procurement Services will consult with the Chief Privacy and Compliance Officer and Drexel IT for any purchases of equipment or software that will require access to private and confidential information, such as credit card accounts, student information, the University's computer network, or protected health information, and will determine whether additional documents (e.g., a Business Associate Agreement) may need to be executed with the vendor.

9.         EBay Purchases

            From time to time, there may be legitimate savings and benefits to the University from making purchases through eBay.  Requests to purchase from eBay should be sent to the AVPPS or his/her designee prior to finalizing the purchase.  All other conditions of this Policy apply to the purchase if the sale amount exceeds the PCard limits established, and a sole source/bid waiver form must be completed and filed with the PCard statement.

10.       Contracts for Off Campus Special Events

            All Contracts associated with group reservations and meeting space pertaining to off campus University special events, conventions, or seminars must be reviewed and authorized by the AVPPS or his/her designee, prior to execution.  Contracts will be reviewed to ensure optimal pricing, favorable payment terms, and other value added concessions are obtained for the University.

11.       Computing Equipment and Software

            All purchases and Contracts for computer hardware must be made through eProcurement using one of the approved standard configurations. Exceptions shall only be made for specific required needs that cannot be satisfied through one of the standard approved computers.  Purchases and Contracts for software, and computer configuration, data security, and encryption standards, are subject to Drexel IT policies.  See also Computers & Software Overview on the Drexel IT website:


The following purchases are exempt from this Policy:

A.        Legal Services, Insurance Broker Services, & 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.

B.        Architecture, Engineering and Construction

All architecture, engineering and construction services, whether for repairs, remodeling or new construction, shall be the sole responsibility of University Facilities.

C.        Employment Agreements

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

D.        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.

E.        Library

            a.         All University libraries are authorized to make purchases for the books and other materials that are intended to be made available to their users. Such materials include books, periodicals, documents, electronic resources and institutional memberships.

            b.         All other purchases of Covered Goods and/or Services, including leases, rentals, software licensing and service contracts, must be made in compliance with this Policy.