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Purchasing Policy and Procedure

Effective: 12/26/15

A. Mission Statement

The mission of the Purchasing Office is to procure the highest possible quality of goods and services in a cost efficient manner, aiming to support the teaching and research functions of the institution and provide the commodities and services needed to enhance the quality of student life on campus.

Collaborate + Assess + Procure + Enhance = TU Quality

To accomplish our mission, certain guidelines and procedures have been established.  These procedures must be adhered to in order to ensure budgetary control over University resources, compliance with applicable federal, state and local government regulations, maximum value for funds being expended and adequate testing and inspection of purchased materials.

B. Authorization Limits

  1. Departments have direct departmental purchasing authority for purchases up to $5,000 and may place these orders directly with the vendor.  A requisition is not required.  All receipts for orders should be forwarded to the Financial Service Center (FSC).  Federally funded purchases must follow OMB Circular Policy requirements.  Please refer to Sections C1 or C2 below at the Approval Process section for Federal Grant requirements.


  • Departments are not authorized to make capital equipment purchases which by definition are purchases of equipment equal to or greater than $5,000. 
  • Computer related items:  All requisitions submitted to FSC for computers, software and related items (printers, scanners, monitors, etc.) from all areas of the University must be processed through and approved by the Director of Information Technology Services (ITS).
  1. Purchasing Card (Pcard) purchases:  For purchases less than $5,000, the purchasing card is the preferred method of payment.  The Pcard Program is designed to streamline the order of and payment process for purchases less than $5,000 in total cost.  Other forms of payment including invoice billing, check requests and petty cash transactions should be used only when payment by the Pcard is not accepted by the vendor.
  2. All orders equal to or greater than $5,000 must be processed through FSC with a TU requisition so that a purchase order (PO) can be processed. 

C. Approval Process

  1. Purchases Under $5,000: A secondary approval is typically not required: however, some university divisions and/or some specific accounts may have additional requirements regarding signature authority. Please check with the appropriate division representative. Receipts must include the following information; vendor quote or proposal, budget account number and object codes. If the expenditure is related to a grant (federal or other), the principal investigator’s (PI) signature is required before funds can be expended. Refer to the federal or other grantee agency procurement guidelines or contact the Office of Sponsored Projects or the Business Office/Grants Accounting for specific grant requirements. 
  2. Purchases Equal to or Greater Than $5,000:  A TU requisition is required. See Section E for TU requisitions and Section D for The chairman or director, or designee will approve the TU requisition by signature and date then forward to the FSC Office for processing to ensure all appropriate signatures required are obtained.  If the expenditure is related to a grant (federal or other), the PI’s signature is required before funds can be expended. See Section D below for preparation of Grants requisition and Section E for TU requisition preparation. Grants may stipulate specific purchasing requirements. Contact the Office of Sponsored Projects or the Business Office/Grants Accounting for specific grant requirements.
  3. All contract agreements must be reviewed and approved by the Trinity University Risk Management Office and or the Vice President for Finance and Administration. The requesting department must consider that it typically takes two weeks for this review and approval process to be completed.  Reference Contract Policy and Procedures at the Risk Management website located at Contract Policy and Procedures |
  4. Orders placed directly with the vendor by phone or in person must include complete shipping instructions.  Please refer to the link for Placing Orders with Merchants. The vendor must cite the requestor’s name on all invoices, packing slips and correspondence pertaining to the order. Request that the merchandise be shipped to: Trinity University/Central Receiving, Attention person’s name and department, 607 Kings Court, San Antonio, TX  78212. The TU requisition must be processed as soon as possible.  Request an estimated time of arrival from the vendor and inform Central Receiving. Forward all order confirmations to Central Receiving, preferably via email: Centrec [at]

D. Grants Purchase Requisition Preparation

  1. The Grants Purchase Requisition is to be used with any general ledger budget accounts beginning with 25, 26, 27 or 28. 
  2. The Grants Purchase Requisition must be used for purchases of goods and services from a federal grant beginning at $5,000 or higher.  Exception to this policy must be approved by the Grants Accounting Office. When purchasing goods and services from a federal grant that are less than $5,000, the purchasing card is the preferred method of payment. 
  3. The Grants Requisition must be completed with the following information: 
  • Initial request date
  • Department name, contact person & office phone number.
  • Grant name & grant budget account number(s)
  • Amount per grant number
  • Vendor name, address, phone number and fax number
  • Specify delivery to building room number
  • Ship to address will be 607 Kings Court
  • Include the required delivery date, if necessary
  1. The requisition must be signed by the PI and Department Chair and attach any applicable quotes or proposals, then forward all documents to the FSC Office. 
  2. The FSC Office will obtain the Vice President’s approval for purchases over $5,000.  The Grants Accounting Office will review and finalize approval.

E. Trinity University (TU) Requisition Preparation

  1. Purchases for $5,000 and over: The TU requisition (see FSC forms) is to be completed and submitted for approvals, prior to placing the order. The requisition must include the preferred vendor’s name and address, amount to be paid and a full description of the items being purchased. Attach any quotes, contracts or proposals applicable.  If freight is to be paid, note the amount or an estimate on the TU requisition. “Per invoice” or Per attached” is not an acceptable description.
  2. Purchases for supplies and equipment over $25,000:  Procurement from the University allocated Capital Equipment Funds and Departmental S&E accounts require three (3) competitive quotes for all purchases in excess of $25,000.  Purchases made from University approved Purchasing Coops such as: E&I, TXMas, TCPN, Higher Educational programs do not require competitive quotes, since the governing board of these agencies have already completed the competitive pricing.   Facility Services Capital Improvement Projects are excluded from the competitive bidding process, under Purchasing Guidelines.  Sole source procurement from a specified vendor will be considered following the completion and submission of sole source documentation.  Sole source requests and documentation are to be attached to the original purchase requisition along with a vendor quote and all other documentation supporting the proposed procurement. Information regarding sole source justifications, including the form are available. If the cost of merchandise is unknown, send a fax to Ext. 8229 or email the Purchasing Office at: Purchasing [at] specifying the exact requirements and suggested source, if known. The Purchasing Office will obtain a quote and advise the department.
  3. Blanket Purchase Orders (BPOs) on TU requisitions.  If a department has recurring charges with a vendor that does not accept the Pcard, a BPO may be issued to the vendor.  The applicable requisition form (TU or the Grants Requisition form) has a check box for BPO requests. A BPO is set up as an authorization for a specific amount for a pre-determined period of time.  With a BPO, Trinity University Accounts Payable is authorized to pay invoices, as directed and approved by the department to a vendor without the need to process additional requisitions each time a procurement request is made. A BPO may cover a period of 6 to 12 months.  A BPO may not extend past the University’s fiscal year which begins June 1st and ends May 31. Exception, Trinity University Facilities Services (Plant fund BPOs) are not restricted to time periods and may extend into subsequent Fiscal Year periods as directed by ongoing projects. To set up a BPO;
  • Complete a TU requisition or Grants requisition indicating the vendor’s name and address.
  • Estimate the amount of funds to be encumbered to cover the life of the BPO.
  • Provide a description of the merchandise to be purchased or services to be rendered under the terms of the BPO.
  • Indicate that the order is to be processed as a “BLANKET ORDER”.  Purchasing will process the TU or Grant requisition as a BPO.
  • A BPO number will be generated and funds encumbered in Ellucian, the University’s Financial Information System.

F. Additional Documentation Requirements

  1. Chemicals and/or hazardous materials (when applicable):  FSC will send a copy of the order to the Environmental Health & Safety Director for review and approval.
  2. Reimbursement on requisitions:  The individual’s full legal name and social security number must be entered in the vendor section of the TU or Grant requisition. 
    • Employees and or students must use their TU identification number instead of their social security number. 
    • All original receipts must be attached.  Forward complete information to the FSC Office. 
    • Business related entertainment expenses must include the names of all guests, the business affiliation of each guest and the business purpose of the expenditure. 
    • Mileage requests must include the beginning and ending odometer reading, destination and business purpose. 
  3. Relocation (Moving) Expense Reimbursement:  Use a requisition for reimbursement of moving expenses for newly hired faculty/staff.  Forward complete forms to the FSC Office for processing.  Employees must use their TU identification number.  All original receipts must be attached.
  4. Honoria (Guest Speakers) Payment Requests on TU or Grants Requisitions:  Honorariums are considered to be taxable income under the current Internal Revenue Service regulations and are subject to annual tax reporting. 
    • To capture the appropriate tax reporting information for specific transaction payments, a W-9 or W-8 (for foreign nationals) form is required prior to a payment being processed.
    • The individual’s social security number and address must be in the vendor section of the TU or Grants requisition and a letter of engagement must be attached to the requisition. 
    • The director or chairperson or designee must sign the requisition prior to forwarding the applicable requisition to the FSC Office. 

G. Receiving, Delivery and Invoices 

  1. The department should keep a copy of the requisition for their department files.  If merchandise is to be delivered directly to the department by the vendor, note that on the requisition.  When merchandise is received, sign the packing slip and forward to Central Receiving.  For more details regarding delivery, please refer to # 3 at the following document.
  2. If the department picks up the merchandise and invoice before processing the requisition, all documents, including receipts and outstanding invoices must be forwarded to the FSC Office. 
  3. If the department receives the merchandise directly from the vendor after the requisition has been processed, notify Central receiving at Centrec [at]  Provide Central Receiving with the vendor’s name and the Purchase Order number (if applicable) so that the order can be accepted in Ellucian.
  4. All invoices received directly by the department must be sent to the FSC Office.
  5. A department may be assessed a $15 processing fee by the Business Office if an invoice is received in Accounts Payable and a corresponding requisition has not been processed by the department.

H. Trade-in or Exchange of University Property

Trade-in or exchange of university property must be approved by the appropriate Vice President prior to making the commitment. 

  1. The trade-in or exchange must be noted on the requisition and must include a full description, the University asset number and the value received from the vendor. 
  2. Trade-in of equipment purchased with federal funds requires approval from the funding agency.  Contact the Grants Accountant in the Business Office for disposal authorization.

I. Conflict of Interest

Any actual perceived conflict of interest by either the person initiating the request for goods or services or by an individual approving the request must be disclosed to the Purchasing Office prior to a commitment to purchase goods or services.  This includes, but is not limited to any circumstances which may provide financial gain to the University employee or a member of his or her family or household or to a business partner.  View the Conflict of Interest Policy.