Purchasing Department

Employee Guide Purchasing Overview

The acquisition process is dynamic and complex in nature and greatly influenced by a wide range of variables and events both internal and external to the University. The procurement process begins with the purchase requisition, scope of work or specifications. The purchase requisition initiates the purchasing process.

The Purchasing Manual (pdf)

This online Purchasing Manual is intended to explain and facilitate the processes, procedures, and regulations associated with the acquisition of products and services for Western Connecticut State University. These procedures are designed to not only comply with the Procurement guidelines established by the State of Connecticut and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities  but also to provide a process in which these goods and services are acquired in a timely and economical manner. While the Purchasing Department is responsible for the maintenance of the manual, it encourages all within the University to submit suggestions or questions concerning its content. Additionally, although the ultimate intent of the manual is to cover all the potential occurrences within Procurement, the procurement process is both complex and widely influenced by events happening within and outside the University. Issues falling outside of the guidelines will be handled on a case by case basis.

Bid Process

Is a competitive bid process required?  Please use the chart below for competitive bidding dollar threshold information:


Acquisitions < $10K

Formal competitive bidding is not required in the case of minor purchases of $10,000.00 or less, excluding shipping and handling.



          Acquisitions > $10K to < $50K

Acquisitions greater than $10,000 but less than or equal to $50,000 shall be made in
the open market and, when possible, be based on at least three written quotations or
bids from responsible and qualified sources of supply.



                   Acquisitions > $50K

Acquisitions that exceed $50,000 must be based, when possible, on competitive bids or
proposals obtained via a sealed bid process.  The University shall solicit competitive bids or proposals by posting notice on the state contracting portal
for submission of sealed bids or proposals.


Exceptions to the bidding process

Sealed bidding is not required when:

   *The product or service is obtained via an available standing contract issued through organizations such as the State of Connecticut’s Department of Administrative Services (DAS) , Board of Regents for Higher Education, and purchasing consortiums.

   *The product or service is determined to be a “Sole Source” (pdf), where item requested, for reasons of standardization, quality, compatibility with existing equipment, specifications, technical features, expertise, etc., is the only brand acceptable to the requester or the University. Note that “no substitute” or “sole brand” products/services may be available from more than one source and, if so, may be subject to competitive bidding to those sources as outlined above. Note: The VP of Finance or their designee has the responsibility to determine sole source applicability or to proceed with a competitive bid.


Purchasing Definitions  AND POLICIES

Budget Authority: Person designated as having responsibility of the funds for the department, cost center, grant, or their designee.

Disbursement form (pdf): Disbursement forms are used for the following: Personal refund/reimbursements Authorize payment for PSA/Honorarium, Food Reimbursement for food purchased off campus by individuals, Memberships/Subscriptions, College Fair Registrations/tables, Online web conference registration/payments – where no travel is involved

Emergency Orders: An emergency is defined as a situation where the normal operation or portion thereof of WCSU would cease or be seriously impaired if immediate action was not undertaken to correct the contingency. Any emergency situation must be declared as such by the President of the University.

Encumbrance: Reservation of funds for a particular purchase. Funds are considered encumbered when a Purchase Order or On-Line Requisition are created in the Banner System.

Equipment: An article retaining a useful life of at least (1) year and a value of at least $1K. Supply budget money cannot be used to acquire an item defined as equipment.

Expense and Refreshment Policy: State funds may be used to provide payment or reimbursement for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in transacting University business. State funds refer to all operating and self supporting funds administered by Western Connecticut State University. This policy provides guidelines concerning when meals and refreshments may be paid for with State funds. Applicability of this policy is limited to non-travel business meals and refreshments.

PSA- Personal Service Agreement: Defined as an agreement which covers services by a corporation, partnership, or individual of a technical or professional nature (i.e.; athletes, entertainers, consultants, etc). Different from a Purchase Order in development and authority.

Purchase Order (PO): The valid purchase order duly signed by the appropriate WCSU individual and issued to a vendor, is the legal authority to deliver goods or provide service. Note that purchases of products/services without a PO are invalid and WCSU is not legally bound to pay for such purchases made by faculty or staff.


State Contracts

Accounts Payable 203837-8378

The Purchasing Manual, sole source and disbursement forms are presented in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, please download and install it from Adobe’s web site.