Procurement and Purchasing

Procurement and purchasing activities support the educational and research objectives of the college. Accordingly, individuals across campus are involved in purchasing goods and services as well as entering into contracts on behalf of the college. This policy and these procedures provide assurance that purchases are made in the best interests of Colorado College and in compliance with any external requirements.

Responsible office
Finance & Administration , Provost
Responsible party
Vice Provost and Vice President for Finance & Administration
Last revision
August 2013
Approved by
The Cabinet
Approval date
August 2013
Effective date
August 2013
Last review
August 2013
Additional references


All financial and administrative policies involving community members across campus, including volunteers are within the scope of this policy. If there is a variance between departmental expectations and the common approach described through college policy, the college will look to the campus community, including volunteers to support the spirit and the objectives of college policy. Unless specifically mentioned in a college policy, the college’s Board of Trustees are governed by their Bylaws.


Authorities delegated and retained/administrative responsibility

The president of the college delegates administration of the college’s purchasing to the vice provost, the vice president for finance and administration, and the vice president of information management.


Purchasing is performed by the Purchasing Department, Facilities Services, Information Management, Student Life, Athletics, and other campus entities. Considerable authority has been entrusted to departments to make purchasing decisions. The convenience afforded by this decentralized environment is coupled with full responsibility for decisions and complete understanding of the college’s procurement and purchasing policies and procedures. All purchasing decisions should be made in light of the college’s best interests.

  1. a.      Conflict of interest

The college expects that all procurement is administered in accordance with its Code of Ethical Conduct and Conflict of Interest.

Colorado College generally does not enter into contracts with students, faculty, and staff or members of their immediate families. In those instances in which a purchase is in the best interest of the college, documentation of the reasons for the decision need to be sent to the director of purchasing for approval before the transaction or purchase with a student, faculty, staff, or members of their immediate families.

  1. b.      Confidentiality

When discussions arise between vendors and the college, representatives of the college are to protect a vendor’s confidentiality as well as the interests of the college by refraining from disclosing prices, terms, or conditions quoted by other vendors.

  1. c.      Segregation of duties

Departments involved in purchasing are to ensure that the responsibilities of purchasing, receiving, and authorizing payment for goods or services are not performed by the same individual.

Purchasing programs and initiatives

  1. Purchasing agreements

Where there are cost savings and no fees associated with the membership, the college participates in purchasing agreements. The director of purchasing approves these memberships.

  1. Supplier diversity

The college is committed to developing mutually beneficial relationships with small, minority-owned, women-owned, disadvantaged, veteran-owned, and local business enterprises. This creates diversification in the college’s contractor pool through increased opportunities for vendors who have not worked directly or indirectly with the college.

  1. Sustainable procurement

When possible, Colorado College considers environmental impact in purchasing decisions. The use of products and services with less environmental impact will be considered favorably when it is a best-value decision to do so. Factors included in the decision are: energy efficiency; shipping materials (returnable, reusable, or made from recycled content); and environmental performance of the supplier/producer (waste prevention, waste reduction, pollution prevention, clean air/water programs, and other initiatives). Colorado College's preference is to purchase EPEAT Gold registered products whenever possible and asks that vendors quote EPEAT Gold registered electronics whenever possible.

Tax exemption

As a 501 (c)(3) entity, Colorado College is exempt from paying sales tax in the city of Colorado Springs, the state of Colorado, and other states where the college has filed for an exemption. The current list of states is in the procedures section.

Purchasing methods

Once the need for goods or services has been identified, those authorized to purchase have several purchasing methods available to them:

a. Purchasing card

The college’s Purchasing Card Manual describes appropriate use of purchasing cards beginning with issuance and concluding with card deactivation.

b. Purchase requisitions

Purchase requisitions/orders are required for all single purchases in excess of $25,000, along with documentation of competitive bidding. Three bids are required.

c. Purchase orders

The Purchasing Department reserves the right to issue a purchase order or make payment with the college-issued purchasing card.  Purchase orders or authorizations must be completed before the time of purchase and forwarded to the Purchasing Department for review and approval.

Direct or pay purchase:  prohibited by the college, this is a purchase initiated without a purchase order.

Regular order: created from purchase requisitions. The purchase requisition and the supporting documentation of the purchase requisition become support for the purchase order.

Blanket purchase order: This should be used for repetitive purchases, or for a particular supplier of goods or services which may include multiple shipments.  Blanket purchase orders should include: the period of time for the performance; clear indication of the purpose of the blanket; the not to exceed amount for the blanket; the scope of goods or services to be included or excluded; the person authorized to issue releases against the blanket. At the end of the fiscal year, all blankets will be closed and reopened with new blanket purchase order numbers. Each department is responsible for the re-issuing of all blanket orders for the following fiscal year; prior approval from the person initially approving the transaction is required to extend expenditures beyond the fiscal year end.

  • Change order: issued to document an amendment to an existing “open” purchase order. Changes may pertain to product specifications, scope of work, standards, terms of agreement, unit pricing, or total cost. Change orders will not be processed once an order is complete; a new requisition/purchase order is required.


Purchases on government grants and contracts

Colorado College receives federal and state grants and contracts for academic research. In carrying out its sponsored projects, the college complies with the terms of the agreement. These terms may be stated in the sponsored project agreement or in statutes, regulations, and policy statements.

  1. Terms and conditions: A grant or contract may require the college to include certain contractual clauses in purchase orders or subcontracts issued under the award. The director of faculty research identifies when these requirements need to be included in the purchase order;
  2. Prior approval: If a government-sponsored project agreement is a funding source, a government representative may be required to approve a proposed purchase of capital equipment or complex goods or services before the college places the order;

(1)    Offices needing documentation – The requesting department is responsible for maintaining records of approval documentation. When required, the Purchasing Department may request copies of these documents.

(2)    If a purchase requires government approval of subcontract provisions, the buyer will obtain necessary approval and retained that documentation.

  1. Pre-requisition screening: Existing inventory of capital equipment should be screened for availability before ordering. Per the U.S. Government Office of Management and Budget Circular A-110, this prevents the purchase of “unnecessary or duplicative items.”
  2. Signatory authority:  The president of the college has delegated institutional signatory authority to all documents that obligate the college to activities featuring federal sponsors, irrespective of the title or designation of the document: e.g. “proposals,” “award agreements,” and “amendments” are all covered herein. Please see the college’s Sponsored Projects Signatory Policy.

Purchases made when procuring property or services under a Federal award and made with Federal Funds must follow the Procurement Standards under the Federal Uniform Guidance, located at 2CFR 200. The procurement standards are located within the Uniform Guidance in sections 200.317-200.326.   Detailed information on the procurement standards under the Uniform Guidance is available on the Research Compliance website.

Information technology

All technology, software and audio/visual equipment that will be purchased with college funds must be acquired through Information Management.



Facilities Services coordinates the lease or purchase of vehicles and obtains approval from the vice president for finance and administration. Once the required reviews have been completed, Facilities Services processes the lease/purchase via a purchase order.


Equipment may be financed using various types of leases. Generally, equipment leases originate during the capital equipment request process. Facilities Services issues a purchase order for the overall amount of the lease and provides oversight of the lease until the exchange of ownership documentation takes place.

Roles and responsibilities

The requestor has first-hand knowledge of the good or service being purchase. The college relies on the requestor to have made determinations of appropriateness before initiating the purchase.

The approver is the supervisor, manager, vice-president, or dean of the requestor. As part of the approval process, the approver ensures that the purchase is consistent with college policies, and accurately coded (fund, organization, account, and program).

Approval and authorization

The college has guidelines in place that if the college receives a prepared contract, review and approval authority takes place in accordance with the college’s Contract Authorization Guidelines. Reviewers shall use the college’s standard contract checklist review guidelines “Questions to Ask Before You Sign.”

If a contract is complex, the requestor should follow the college’s protocol to retain external legal counsel to perform a review.

If a contract relates to Information Technology, the requestor should receive feedback from the vice president of information management before executing the contract.

If a contract is a grant from a private foundation, please consult with the Foundation Relations Office for its expectations on processing these grants. If a contract is a grant from a government agency or is a sponsored project, please consult with the director of faculty research support for the vice provost’s protocol on these grants. 











Director level



Division VP





VP/Finance. Legal review (if needed)

VP/IM. Legal review (if needed)



President.  Legal review (if needed)



Board. Legal review (if needed)






(donations, private  grants)




(donations, private grants)

VP/Finance. Legal review (if needed)




Any amount

Sponsored projects (i.e., state or federal research grants)

Vice provost

Any amount

Sponsored projects (i.e., state or federal non-research grants)


Any amount

Intellectual property

VP/Finance.  Legal review (if needed)

Amy amount

Construction contracts

VP/Finance.  Legal review (if needed)

Any amount

Real estate contracts
(sale, lease, use, rental, donation)

VP/Finance.  Legal review (if needed)




Any amount

Employment contracts

VP/Finance and president. Legal review (if needed)





Waiver of competitive bidding

The Request for Waiver of Competitive Bidding form must accompany a requisition for goods or services in excess of $25,000. Bids may be waived under the following circumstances:

Sole source: the vendor being used is the only one who provides the good or service needed by the college.

Emergency: the good or service is needed immediately to address an environmental, safety, or health emergency

Economic: goods or services from another vendor would result in incompatibility with existing goods or services; require substantial time of money to use due to training requirements, retrofitting, etc.; and/or goods or services are offered at a substantial discount.

States other than Colorado where the college has successfully filed for tax exemption





New Mexico








New York








North Carolina


Washington State






North Dakota






























Rhode Island







South Dakota





New Hampshire







New Jersey







a strategic approach to sourcing and purchasing of goods and services. This involves all stages of a purchase, from the recognition of a need through to disposal of the requirement.  Specification  development, value analysis, supplier market research, negotiation, marketing, buying activities, administration of contract, and control of inventory, traffic, receiving and stores are part of procurement activities.


the act of buying within the boundaries already set up by procurement (i.e., buying or paying for goods and services with the purchasing card).

Blanket purchase order:

should be used for repetitive purchases, for a particular supplier of goods or services which may include multiple shipments.


an agreement between the college and another party, which consists of stated prices, terms, and conditions for the purchase of specific goods/services

Purchase order:

written offer for the college to purchase goods/services with set terms and conditions.

Signature authority:

permission given or delegated to sign (i.e., execute) procurement contracts and other agreements on behalf of the college.

Single source:

a vendor selling items for which price competition may be available but to whom a contract is awarded without price competition because of reasonable circumstances (e.g., quality or familiarity with the college).

Sole source:

competitive bidding is not feasible because the goods to be procured are unique or proprietary, or a vendor has an exclusive or territorial agency.


a person or organization that provides goods or services to the college. “Supplier” is used interchangeably with “vendor.”

Sustainable procurement:

the purchase of products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, or disposal of the product.


a person or organization that provides goods or services to the college. “Vendor” is used interchangeably with “supplier.”

Report an issue - Last updated: 01/21/2022