Policies and Procedures

Temple University Procurement Policies

Policy Summary

This summary defines various types, methods and authority of procuring goods and services and the disposal of university property.

By delegation of the president, the chief operating officer is responsible for purchasing functions of the university. The chief operating officer has designated the senior director of purchasing as the person responsible for the procurement of goods and services by the university. Therefore, the Purchasing Department has authority to assist and provide guidance to all university schools, colleges and departments in the acquisition of goods and services in accordance with university policies.

Only persons designated in writing by the chief operating officer are authorized to commit the university to the purchase of goods and services; any expressed or implied commitment by other persons is unauthorized.

The chief operating officer reserves the right to review any acquisitions, commitments and/or contracts for all procurement centers.

Purchases for goods and services must be made in accordance with the University Procurement policies.



The senior director of purchasing has the responsibility for maintaining a uniform set of procedures and forms to implement the bid, proposal, and quotation processes of the University. The Purchasing Department will make forms and detailed procedural requirements available on-line for reference use by the university community.

Schools, colleges and departments are responsible for communicating their requirements to the Purchasing Department by submission of a purchase requisition and/or a request for bid that includes detailed specifications and/or requirements.

Schools, colleges and departments are required to adhere to University policies when utilizing sources other than the Purchasing Department for acquisition of goods and services.


Section 1: General Requirements

Purchases Under $5,000

An individual school/college/department may purchase non-recurring small dollar items (less than $5,000) direct from a supplier utilizing the university’s TPC program as explained below or through the Accounts Payable Check Request process.

Use of TUmarketplace Purchase Requisitions.

Requests for products or services in excess of $5,000 shall be submitted to the Purchasing Department utilizing a properly executed electronic TUmarketplace purchase requisition (PR). Products can be ordered utilizing the contracted catalog vendors. If a product is unavailable through a catalog, the non-catalog requisition should be utilized. Additional information such as suggested vendors, sole source justification, or approved Capital Expenditure Request forms (CER’s) should be attached to the requisition. The Purchasing Department will prepare the appropriate form of solicitation when reviewing the requisition request and/or detailed specifications submitted. When required, the Purchasing Department will contact the requesting school/college/department for review of responses received and finalization of award.

Solicitation of Bids

Purchases shall be made through a competitive solicitation process whenever feasible. The Purchasing Department maintains a qualified vendor data base, and shall provide assistance in obtaining additional qualified vendors. A competitive solicitation process requires soliciting a minimum of three (3) vendors when circumstances preclude the inclusion of a greater number. When selecting vendors for inclusion in the solicitation process, the university’s affirmative action goals to include disadvantaged businesses and/or community based businesses should be considered. Other considerations include but are not limited to the vendor’s qualifications, past experience, references, and ability to fulfill the requirements of the solicitation. Solicitations shall be simultaneously released to all selected vendors on a specified release date (Policy Number: P004.1REV-Request for Bid).

Sole Source Purchases

When submitting a TUmarketplace request that qualifies as a sole source purchase, a sole source procurement justification is required. This justification can be submitted by attaching a sole source form or entering an internal note to the requisition explaining the sole source justification. The sole source documentation must state the steps taken to determine the sole source status. If the item is a capital expenditure and requires a CER, the sole source explanations should have been communicated when submitting the CER for approval. The determination as to whether the procurement shall be made as a sole source shall be made by the buyer. The director of purchasing has final approval when necessary. When a sole source transaction exists, the competitive solicitation process is not utilized. The sole source supplier is required, however, to submit its proposal or quotation in writing.

  • Criteria for use of sole source justification:
    • The requested product is an integral part or accessory to existing equpment.
    • The service requested is for existing equipment, which can only be completed by the original manufacturer, or a manufacturer's designated service provider.
    • The requested product or service has unique design, performance, and/or quality specifications that are essential to a particular research protocol or teaching needs and are not available in comparable products or services.
    • The requested product or service is essential in maintaining research continuity.
    • The requested service requires a supplier that can demonstrate unique skills or expertise.
    • Only one supplier is capable of proficing supplies, services, or construction.
    • Emergency - The goods or services are needed to correct or prevent an emergency health, environmental, or safety hazard; special or time sensitive events; and/or emergency repair or replacement of existing equipment essential for daily operations.
    • The selected hotel, event location, or conference space is either the best value choice for the dates selected or the most convenient location.
    • The selected caterer is either the best value available or one of the exclusive caterers for an event location.

Contract Approval Form (formerly Financial Impact Statement)

The Contract Approval Request Form in TUmarketplace has replaced the paper Financial Impact Statement (FIS) form.


Any information and technology - including, but not limited to, computers and ancillary equipment, instructional materials, software, videos, multimedia, telecommunications, or web-based content or products - developed, procured, maintained, or used in carrying out university activities must be compliant with Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, and other related local, state, and federal laws, as well as other related university policies. The Accessible Technology Compliance Committee may grant exceptions to this policy under circumstances including, but not limited to, undue hardship or if a reasonable accommodation can provide appropriate access.

University-wide Contracts

Individual areas should be aware of the existing university-wide contracts. Some contracts will allow for direct order placement by the individual or provide on-line ordering ability to individuals for direct order placement.

Use of Contracts and Purchase Orders

  • Execution. Purchase transactions must be executed on contract or purchase order forms reviewed and approved by University Counsel. Except as permitted expressly by this Policy, all contracts or purchase orders must be executed by the Chief Financial Officer, the Director of Purchasing, or such other University official as may be designated by the President. The Purchasing Department will forward the contract documents and purchase orders to the awarded vendor with copies to the originating office. The originating office will be responsible for administering the contract.
  • Approval purchase order or contracts. Standard pre-approved contract documents are available for Purchase Orders, for Professional (Consulting) Services, Independent Contractors, Professional Design Services, and Construction Services. Any contract for purchase of goods or services that does not utilize a standard pre-approved contract or purchase order form must be submitted to University Counsel for review and approval prior to execution.

Section 2: Purchasing Processes

All University solicitations and purchases shall be executed in accordance with the requirements of the applicable purchasing processes listed below.

These processes are summarized below, including the circumstances under which each process shall be required. Detailed explanations of the procedures to be followed for each process are available from the Purchasing Department.

If more than one process applies to a solicitation or process, each applicable process should be followed. The Purchasing Department in consultation with University Counsel will coordinate the application of the various processes.

Small Dollar Purchase Process - Temple Purchasing Card (TPC) Program

Schools/Colleges/Departments are authorized to purchase non-repetitive, non-contract items (not services) that do not exceed a total cost (including shipping and handling charges) of $5,000. The method of processing small dollar purchases is through the TPC Program. A complete TPC Manual can be reviewed on the Purchasing website.

Request for Bid (RFB) Process

The Request for Bid (RFB) process is an electronic process for soliciting pricing and availability of goods or services estimated to be $10,000 or higher. The RFB Process shall be undertaken by the Purchasing Department upon submission of a TUmarketplace requisition by a school, college or department. No other university department is authorized to undertake the RFB Process.

To ensure the confidentiality and integrity of the RFB process, competitive sealed bids shall be solicited. An RFB document includes standard university conditions related to insurance requirements, indemnification, and confidentiality, as well as detailed scope of work and specifications including, but not limited to quantity, description, delivery requirements, special conditions, and drawings. Timely RFB responses are opened and results recorded on the specified due date and time. Responses are evaluated and award is made to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder.

Vendors may be asked to make a presentation to further clarify their response and qualifications to fulfill the requirements of the project. The reviewers will then make a recommendation to the appropriate approving authority for award to the vendor determined by the reviewers to have presented the best solution to accomplish the project. The appropriate approving authority will vary from project to project (e.g. dean, vice president, provost or president).

Independent Contractor Process

The Independent Contractor process must be utilized when regular employees within the scope of their university employment cannot adequately provide expertise to fulfill a particular university commitment or objective. This process results in an independent contractor agreement with individuals or an entity not in the employment of the university. The legal determination of independent contractor status is guided by federal regulations. Further detail relating to this may be found on the Accounts Payable website.

The individual engaged as independent contractor to perform services is required to complete an Independent Contractor Determination and Certification and submit a “Scope of Work” and total cost on an executed Temple University’s Independent Contractor Service Agreement document (located in TUportal in the Staff Tools tab under the University Forms section. Search for Accounts Payable).

Independent Contractor Service Agreements must be attached to a Purchasing Requisition and forwarded to the Purchasing Department with a copy of all Independent Contractor forms for review and approval by Accounts Payable. Issuance of a contract purchase order will follow upon approval of documentation by Accounts Payable and Purchasing.

Capital Expenditure (CER) Process

Purchases which are subject to the Approval of Capital Expenditure Policy # 04.32.01 will not be awarded prior to receipt of an approved CER form. The two page CER form and instructions for completing the form may be found on the Capital Budgeting website.

Bid solicitation may proceed prior to CER approval, but no award may be made without an approved CER.

Emergency Order Process

An emergency order is defined as an immediate need for goods or services. The failure to act expeditiously exposes the university to risk of harm to persons or university property or when failure to act jeopardizes the learning environment.

When the need for an emergency order exists, the school/college/department must enter a requisition in TUmarketplace, using the priority code "Urgent." An internal note should be entered on the requisition stating the emergency and product or service needed. The requestor will need to notify his/her approvers and Purchasing of this request in order for it to process quickly and be assigned a purchase order. The Purchasing Department will communicate to the requisitioner the purchase order number by phone and a comment will be placed within the requisition. Once the emergency order is received, the requisitioner may contact the vendor to expedite delivery of the product or service requested.

Issuance of an emergency order is at the discretion of the Purchasing Department.

Contract Commitment Process

All purchases of goods and services or any other commitments of University resources must be processed in accordance with this policy in order that the university is aware of and able to identify all contracts and contractual commitments, and to capture vendor solicitation and/or award information including demographic, affirmative action initiatives and financial obligations. Such information shall be included on the Financial Impact Statement, as described below.

  • Commitment of Contract – Those contracts which require a commitment to the operating budget will be encumbered in the general ledger accounting system by the Purchasing Department.
  • Contracts where the commitment is open ended - Those Contracts which do not require a commitment (i.e. no fixed contractual amount, no requirement to purchase) will be assigned a “not to exceed total contract dollar value” blanket purchase order through the Purchasing Department. Blanket purchase orders do not create commitments of the total contract dollar value at the time of execution, but the Purchasing Department will track payments made against the contract.
  • Contracts where NO commitment is required – Those contracts which do not require a commitment (i.e. revenue, employment) will not pass through Purchasing.
  • Payment of Contracts –Contract payment invoicing must reference the purchase order number assigned.

Blanket Order

A Blanket Order is an arrangement with a vendor that does not obligate University funds but allows the flexibility for order placement on as-needed basis for a specified period of time (no greater than 12 months). The blanket order defines the general product or service, total dollar limit for a specified time period, and the transaction dollar limits for each order placement.

Submission of a Blanket Order Form found at TUmarketplace is required when requesting a blanket order.

Computer Hardware and Software Process

Computer hardware and software requests are to be submitted via TUmarketplace. To ensure technical compliance with the university's computing strategy, please review the information on Computer Services' Departmental Hardware Purchasing and Departmental Software Purchasing websites.

Publication Process

Publications, brochures or literature related to the image of Temple University or recruitment, in addition to printed materials that require creative services and or production (not including scholastic information) regardless of dollar amount, are to be submitted on a TUmarketplace PR and require the review and prior approval of the Creative Services office.

Radioactive Material and Select Chemical Agents Process

Regardless of dollar amounts purchase of radioactive materials, certain chemicals and certain biological agents are to be submitted on a TUmarketplace requisition and require the review and prior approval of the Environmental Health and Radiation Safety Department (EH&RS). Temple University is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Federal Government to possess radioactive materials, and Environmental Health and Radiation Safety has sole authority regarding procurement of radioactive materials for the university.

A list of Select Chemical Agents that require Environmental Health and Safety approval may be found on EH&RS’s website.

Use of Minority or Women Business Enterprise (MBE/WBE) Vendors

Temple University is committed to dealing with all suppliers with an ethical manner to support and encourage business with diverse groups. Temple University's policy is to provide opportunities to all diverse suppliers which include but not limited to minority and women owned businesses. Temple University encourages all internal departments to include diverse suppliers when looking to source a service or commodity. It is Temple University's commitment to do business with any supplier that can provide competitive price and quality for services and commodities which meet Temple University's business needs.


  1. History: This policy replaces any previously issued Purchasing Policies
  2. Cross References:
  3. Website Addresses – Cross References: