Lake Superior State University
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Purchasing Department

Purchasing Policies & Procedures

The Purchasing Department serves the needs of the entire University. This office is responsible for the acquisition of all materials, supplies, and services costing more than $1,000, with the following exceptions:

  1. Purchases by the Campus Shoppe/Pro Shop for resale or consumption (see procedure 3.20.3).
  2. Purchases of various food supplies used in the food service area and other auxiliary services for consumption or resale.
  3. Purchases of library books and periodicals, and rental firm ordering (see procedure 2.4.6).
  4. Local purchases of $50 or less which should be made from petty cash funds (see procedure 3.7.8).
  5. Professional consulting services.
  6. Utilities.
  7. Employee benefit and payroll deduction payments.
  8. Space rentals (hotels, temporary classrooms, etc.).
  9. Advertising services.
  10. Real estate.

No purchase commitments over $1,000 shall be made in the name of the University by any employee other than the Purchasing Manager or University Buyer. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis, by the Purchasing Manager or the Vice President of Finance. Any commitment made in violation of this policy may be construed a personal liability of the individual making the commitment and may be cause for disciplinary action by the appropriate Cabinet member.;

Confirming purchase orders may only be issued by the Purchasing Manager or University Buyer.
Single item purchases:
Up to $1,000 - Can be done by one of the following:

  • Petty cash of $50 or less
  • Purchasing cards - Individual and/or department may purchase through use of the Lake Superior State University Purchasing Card Program. See LSSU Purchasing Card Procedures Manual. Contact the Purchasing Office to apply for and receive a University Purchasing Card.
  • Purchase Order

Up to $5,000 - Bid process will be at the discretion of the Purchasing Department. Price checks will be periodically made, and obvious competitive situations may result in written bid procedure being utilized.
Up to $25,000 - Written bids will be obtained. Verbal or telephone bids will be accepted when time constraints do not permit written bids.
$25,000 and over - Sealed bids will be issued. Exceptions to this rule may be made only with the written approval of the Vice President for Business and Financial Operations, or designee.
The following may be used instead of competitive bidding:

  • Education and Institutional Cooperative Contract
  • General Services Administration Contracts
  • State of Michigan contracts
  • Other Group Purchase Contracts
  • Proprietary purchases and emergency orders
  • Items previously bid in current fiscal year and on file.

All items will be purchased on an "or equal" basis unless sufficient and valid reasons are given for the purchases of proprietary items. These reasons must be documented and on file in the purchasing department. Requisitions for items available through Central Stores should not be submitted to the Purchasing Department, but sent directly to Central Stores. 

Purchases of goods and services funded under grant awards will be subject to the policies and procedures described in this section with one exception. Should the grant award provide for purchasing policies and procedures which are different from those contained in this section, the grant award policies and procedures may also apply.

Purchase Requisition

Purchase Requisitions can be created in the Banner on-line system. This form is used to request equipment, materials, supplies or certain services from off-campus sources.

On the requisition form the requesting department provides complete, concise detail of items including manufacturer's name, model number, specifications, and if possible, provides to Purchasing any manufacturer information.

Budget Approval of Requisitions

An individual authorized to commit funds from the appropriate fund and cost center must sign all Purchase Requisitions.

Purchase requests of $5,000 or more must be approved by the appropriate Vice President.

The President must approve purchase requests in excess of $50,000.

All contracts entered into by the President on behalf of the University for goods and services with a conglomerate amount of $250,000 or more shall require prior Board of Trustees approval; and the Board from time to time may authorize the President to execute contracts for pending matters within a pre-determined maximum amount in dollars.

Receipt of Merchandise

Receiving department receives delivery of merchandise and checks for any hidden damage or lack of agreement with specifications. If found, Receiving contacts carrier for inspection of damage. Receiving will report any problems within two (2) business days to Purchasing.

Receiving will request orders to be delivered to requesting departments. The requesting department will examine shipment for damages, failure to comply with specifications or discrepancies in order. The requesting department will report any deviations within (2) business days of receipt to Purchasing.

Return of Merchandise

Authorization for and request to return material to the vendor(s) must be coordinated between the department and the Purchasing Department of the University.

All return shipments must be accompanied by a Return Merchandise Request Form (pdf) which has been completed by the department requesting the return. The department must deliver the material to the Central Receiving dock and forward the Request to Ship Form to Purchasing for approval.

If return shipment requirements are of a nature to require positioning of materials at the Central Receiving dock, the department will make arrangements with the Physical Plant department to move the material to the Central Receiving dock.

Vendor Selection and Exhibits

Vendor selection is the responsibility of the Purchasing Department. The selection will not discriminate against any vendor because of race, creed, age, sex or national origin.

Departments may request that vendors demonstrate equipment or materials on campus but must obtain prior approval from the Purchasing Department.

Insurance Requirements

All vendors and/or individuals performing work or services on University property must carry insurance coverage satisfactory to the University. The proof of insurance certificates will be filed and monitored as being current by the Purchasing Department.

Sole Source Purchases

On relatively rare occasions, purchases are made with purchase orders in excess of $5,000 without the solicitation of competitive bids or proposals. Such purchases require detailed supporting justification and approval by University administrative officials prior to action by the Purchasing Department.

Gifts and Gratuities

University employees are prohibited from receiving any financial interest or personal gain which may influence or affect University purchasing decisions. Any such attempt may, at a minimum, lead to disqualification of a vendor. It is preferred that incentives take the form of quality, service or price considerations.


  • Calendars, desk novelties, or similar advertising items of less than $25.00 in value;
  • Reasonably priced meals accepted in settings where University business is conducted;
  • Textbooks, recorded media, software, or similar work-related items for which the school is not being charged;
  • Any other exceptions to this policy should be reviewed by the President or Vice President of Business and Financial Operations to determine if special circumstances exist to warrant the acceptance of a gift from a vendor, or to determine whether a gift should be declined or returned.

Employees must exercise caution that neither regular gifts of nominal value, nor reasonably priced meals from a particular vendor, do not gradually aggregate into an obligation. Under no circumstances shall an employee accept a gratuity where prohibited by law, policy or regulation or where the appearance of impropriety may occur. 

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