Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable



Utica University requires that a competitive bid or price quotation process be followed in all instances where goods or services exceeding certain cost limits are made. Any employee who commits the University to a purchase, sale, lease, or other arrangement without proper authorization may be held personally liable for the transaction. Employees may not use University funds to make any purchases for personal or private use. All bids, whether verbal or in writing, must remain confidential to preserve a competitive and fair process. Exceptions to this policy are listed under Procedure, below.


This policy applies to all Utica University employees whose purchases from external vendors exceed established cost limits.


This policy is designed to ensure:
  • Appropriate stewardship of Utica University assets
  • Integrity when acquiring goods and services
  • Accountability to funding sources
  • Procurement of goods and services at the lowest cost consistent with the quality, delivery, and service required
  • Fair and competitive bidding processes
  • Compliance within the parameters set forth by the IRS and any other applicable laws

Bid – A competitive process involving a written price valuation.

Goods – Any tangible product (i.e. equipment, supplies, books, or other products) used in the daily operation of University business.

Responsible Vendor – Prospective vendors who have the capability to perform contract requirements in full and whose integrity and reliability will assure good faith performance. Factors considered in evaluating responsibility may include financial resources, past performance, delivery capability, experience, organization, personnel, technical skills, operation controls, equipment, and facilities.

Responsive Bidder – A vendor who has submitted a bid or proposal that conforms in all material respects to the request for proposal (RFP).

Request for Information (RFI) – An informal request when additional information about goods and/or services is needed or when the University requires more information about a vendor.

Request for Proposal (RFP) – The document used to invite vendors to bid on a project that involves services to be rendered. All proposals are evaluated on dollar amount, quality, delivery, or other criteria.

Services – Any deliverable resulting from labor performed specifically for the University, including application of physical or intellectual skills. Services include repair work, consulting, maintenance, data processing, custom software design or coding, etc.

Sole Source –A product or service that is practicably available from only one source.

Quote – A non-competitive process involving a written price valuation.

  1. Purchases Greater Than or Equal to $1,000 and Less Than $5,000

    A minimum of three written quotations must be obtained. To obtain better pricing and maintain fair competitive practices, all vendors must be provided with the same exact information. A written record of all price quotations must be retained for future use by the buyer or soliciting office.

    Once price quotations are obtained, the requestor evaluates the quotes to determine the lowest responsible vendor. During the evaluation process, buyers must not only consider pricing when making a decision but must also consider such factors as product and/or service specifications, vendor’s past performance, product compatibility and quality, and, when appropriate, proposed delivery or completion time.

    Once the buyer evaluates all quotations, he or she recommends the vendor to the person with budget authority. If the recommendation is approved, the buyer or person with budget authority must follow the requisitioning process outlined in the Purchasing and Accounts Payable policy.
  2. Purchases Greater Than or Equal to $5,000
    • Goods Only
    • Goods and Services
    • Services Only

    A minimum of three written bids must be obtained. The bids must follow the University’s request for proposal (RFP) process (see Request for Proposal Template). Buyers must draft an RFP and submit it to the purchasing manager for review. When needed, the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable will assist in identifying vendors. The Director of Business Services can also assist with the preparation of the RFP.

    To preserve the competitive process, all vendors must be provided with the exact same information. Before making the expenditure for goods, buyers must take into consideration the long-term implications of owning the product with respect to its reliability, availability, cost of maintenance and repairs, and energy consumption.

    Information requested on RFPs include vendor’s basic corporate information and history, financial information, product information such as stock availability and estimated completion period, customer references, and technical capability where applicable.

    RFPs also include specifications for the service or service including goods for which the proposal is requested. To ensure better competitive prices, the information provided on the RFP should be as detailed as possible. This enables vendors to understand what is needed and provide better pricing.

    Once the RFP draft has been approved by the purchasing manager, the buyer must create a final RFP copy and notify the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable that the RFP will be disseminated to vendors. Buyers must indicate to vendors that responses to RFPs must be sent to the purchasing manager. Buyers must also suggest that vendors use a request for information (RFI) when further clarification is needed.

    Request for Information (RFI)

    Vendors must read and understand the RFP document. If vendors need any portion of the RFP language clarified before submitting a formal bid, they have the opportunity to request clarification in the form of an RFI, which must be completed within the specific timeframe stated in the bid. To ensure competitive fairness, when responding to an RFI, the purchasing manager will prepare an addendum to the RFP and send the addendum via e-mail to all vendors. The addendum will include the question raised by the vendor and the answer to this question. The results of an RFI are not formally kept.

    The Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable will review all bids for conformance with University policy and has the right to require more documentation as deemed necessary.

    Bids will normally be awarded to the lowest compliant bidder, however, as a private institution, the University is not required by law to select the "lowest" bid. Rather, we strive to obtain the "best evaluated" bid in terms of price, terms, satisfaction, adherence to specifications, ability to meet needs, product or service quality, and ability to meet delivery requirements. Other factors, including but not limited to, past service, vendor reputation, locality of the bidder, the long term cost of acquiring the product or service, and minority status may be considered when evaluating competing bids. Any award to a higher bidder may be subject to additional review by the President, Vice President for Financial Affairs, or Audit Committee. The Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable strives to act in the best interest of the University with regards to the purchase of goods and services.
  3. Exceptions to Bidding

    The requirement to obtain competitive bids may be waived in certain situations. The reason for bypassing a competitive bid process must be documented and reviewed by the Director of Business Services and/or the Vice President for Financial Affairs. Although the bid process may be waived in certain situations, every attempt should be made to obtain the best value for any purchase by following best purchasing practices. Please refer to the Purchasing and Accounts Payable policy for the general purchasing process. Examples of situations when the bid requirement may be waived include the following:
    • Emergency purchases when there is a threat to public health, welfare or safety
    • An emergency does not allow for the time required to obtain bids and/or has caused supply chain issues
    • Procurement can be made under an existing arrangement that was made after recently soliciting bids
    • Procurement must be made immediately or an opportunity will be lost
    • University property, plant or equipment is in jeopardy
    • The continuation of a vital program which can only be rectified by immediate action
    • There are documented reasons for the utilization of an existing/known vendor relationship such as institutional knowledge, best interest for the University with below or at market rates, return of savings, prohibitive time loss to transition to another vendor. This exception may be subject to additional review by the Audit Committee.
    • University contracted suppliers or state contract items (See State Contract Purchases below)
    • Only one vendor offers necessary product or service (See Sole Source Purchases below)
    • Purchases less than $1,000
    • Other reasons as proclaimed by any government authority or the President of the University or designee

    State Contract Purchases - Items purchased through state contract are exempt from bidding at the discretion of the purchaser. If state contracting is followed, the buyer does not need to seek bidding or price quotations; please refer to the Purchasing and Accounts Payable policy for state contract pricing guidelines. It is possible that the University may be able to obtain better pricing than state contract pricing. Purchasers may wish to check prices with vendors who are not on the state contract list. If the price is lower than prices on the state contract list, the competitive bid process must then be followed.

    Sole Source Purchases - Approval for sole source purchases must be obtained from the Director of Business Services and/or the Vice President for Financial Affairs before a buyer places orders or commits funds. The buyer must do their due diligence and seek vendors that can provide the needed goods or services before asserting to the Office of Accounts Payable/Director of Business Services the existence of a Sole Source Vendor. If more than one vendor is identified, the buyer must follow the competitive bid process. Examples of circumstances that could necessitate sole source procurement include (but are not limited to):
    • The compatibility of equipment, accessories, or replacement parts is the paramount consideration;
    • A sole supplier item is needed for trial use or testing
    • The service to be provided is from a public utility

    Buyers must substantiate the reason for a sole source purchase by providing an explanation as to the steps taken to determine that no other sources were available or appropriate, and the reason why the product or service is so unique that it cannot go through the competitive bid process.

It is the responsibility of all Utica University employees wishing to solicit bids or written quotations to comply with the provisions of this policy.


Enforcement of Utica University policies is the responsibility of the office or offices listed in the “Resources/Questions” section of each policy. The responsible office will contact the appropriate authority regarding faculty or staff members, students, vendors, or visitors who violate policies.

Utica University acknowledges that University policies may not anticipate every possible issue that may arise. Therefore, the University reserves the right to make reasonable and relevant decisions regarding the enforcement of this policy. All such decisions must be approved by any officer of the University (i.e. president, vice president for legal affairs, or vice president for financial affairs).


For any questions or additional information, please contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.

Please note that other Utica University policies may apply or be related to this policy. To search for related policies, use the Keyword Search function of the online policy manual.
Effective Date: 01/29/2008
Promulgation Date: 02/10/2008
Date Last Revised: 06/25/2020

Home | Contact Us | Site Map | Printable Version

I would like to see logins and resources for:

For a general list of frequently used logins, you can also visit our logins page.