Purchasing Restrictions

This page captures the commodities, dollar limits and special purchases that have purchasing restrictions either requiring extra approvals, extra documentation or special vendor selection. See the Training tab for more information about procurement. Click on the commodity below to jump to the section with information to help you make your purchase. 

Alphabetical Commodity List

Aircraft - Including Drones (UAVs) Gas Cylinders Renovation and Construction
Alcohol Gifts Rental Car Companies
Amazon >$100 Gifts for Employees Satellite Dishes and Equipment
Apparel >$1,000 Gifts for employees Security Alarm Systems
Auditing and Accounting Services >$25,000 Goods >$50,000 Services
Beverages - Direct Delivery Inflatables Shipping - Express outbound
Catering Insurance Signage
Cellular Services and Data Connectivity Master Equipment Lease Skilled Trades
Charter Buses Moving Services Sponsorships
Computers Off-Campus Leased Spaces >$10,000 Sponsorships

Consultants, Independent Contractors and Payments to People for Services

Office Supplies Survey Tools
>$50,000 Consultants Parking Telephones and Supplies
Copiers Professional Organization Memberships Toner
Envelopes, Letterhead, Business Cards Promotional/Branded Items Travel Agencies
>$5,000 Equipment Radio Equipment Vehicles
Faculty Club Expenses Radioactive Material Vending Services
Food and Beverage - PCard and Reimbursements Relocation Expenses Video Production
    Weapons, Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives


Key Contracts
Preferred and Strategic Contracts
Restricted Commodities, Special Approvals and Processes
Dollar Amount Restrictions
State of Ohio and Federal Buying Laws

There are Key Contracts and there are Preferred & Strategic Contracts that provide favorable pricing and terms for the university. Please utilize the Key contracts and Preferred & Strategic contracts to minimize cost and risk for the university. These contracts are listed below and additional details are in the Contract Book (university login required). 

Key Contracts 

Key Contracts are mandatory

  • Beverages: 
    Aramark Refreshment Services - office coffee and hot beverage service
    Coca-Cola Product List - If you are purchasing or serving beverages in Franklin County, they must be Coca-Cola brand. OSU has an exclusive contract. 
         The College of Arts and Sciences Business Services Center has a great PowerPoint with pictures of Coke brand products. Check it out here.
    DS Services - office water service

Preferred and Strategic Contracts 

Preferred and Strategic contracts are not mandatory but are heavily monitored and may often seem as though they are mandatory. Use these vendors whenever possible. Requests to add new vendors in these categories may be denied by Purchasing.

See the Contract Book (university login required) for specific vendor information. 

Information about Regional View of Catalogs in eStores

  • Moving Services
    Contract Book: Accelerated Moving, Corrigan, Andrews Moving, E.E. Ward, Herlihy
  • Signage

    On Campus Signage: If you are located on the Columbus or Wooster campuses and need permanent signage for buildings start by accessing Facilities Operation and Development Project Request Form. FOD will help you through the process of design and purchase for on-campus signage. The vendor for On-Campus Signage will be UniPrint and will be processed on an eRequest - Internal Order

    Off Campus Signage: If you are located off campus and need signage you must work with CFAES Communications. Request assistance from CFAES Communications via the Project Request Form. Local vendors can be used for off-campus signage, but an eRequest - Standard Purchasing Request is required in order to create a Purchase Order. 


Restricted Commodities, Special Approvals and Processes

List of approvals required before submitting an eRequest or eTravel

These commodities, while maybe not tied to a specific vendor require extra approvals. Because of this, units will likely be limited to the vendors already in the University system. 

  • Cell Phone, Internet and Data Connectivity Guidelines - See the CFAES Guidelines on this commodity
  • OSU Faculty Club meals - purchases require a business purpose and attendee documentation which should be attached to the invoice received from the Faculty Club. Tips are not permitted with University funds because the Faculty Club has that built into the 19% facility fee charged on the receipt. 
Additional Restrictions Contact your Service Center Representative for assistance
Aircraft - including drones   Telephones and Supplies
Auditing and Accounting Services Portable and Mobile Radio Equipment Vehicles
Master Equipment Lease Radioactive Material Vending Services
Gas Cylinders Satellite Dishes and Equipment Video Production >$5,000
Insurance Security Alarm Systems Weapons Ammunition or Explosives


Dollar Amount Restrictions

Amounts greater than:

  • $50,000 Services  - Require a public bid unless purchased from a vendor on an OSU contract
  • $50,000 Consulting Agreements - Require extra approval 
  • $25,000 Goods - Require a public bid unless purchased from a vendor on an OSU contract
  • $20,000 Extension Checking Account - maximum allowable to be maintained in an Extension Checking Account on average
  • $10,000 Sponsorships - Require extra approval
  • $7,500 PCard - Service Center Card Type -  $7,500/transaction and $50,000/cycle
  • $5,000 PCard - Department Card Type -  $5,000/transaction and $10,000/cycle
  • $5,000 PCard - Individual Card Type -  $5,000/transaction and $10,000/cycle
  • $5,000 Purchase Orders - Require purchasing approval
  • $5,000 Equipment  - Is capitalized and requires a purchase order
  • $3,000 Invoices and all invoices on blanket purchase orders - Require department approval before payment
  • $1,000 Employee Gifts - Requires Dean/VP approval and OHR approval
  • $1,000 Extension Checking Account Payment - maximum amount allowable for one transaction (including all related payments) from the checking account 
  • $100 Employee Gifts - Requires Dean/VP approval
  • $100 Extension Checking Account Payment to Reimburse an individual - maximum amount allowable for one transaction (including all related payments) for reimbursements to people for non-travel expenses.

State of Ohio Buying Laws

Guidelines on Accepting Gifts from Vendors

Think Ohio First

Encouraging Diversity, Growth, and Equity (EDGE)—The EDGE program is designed to facilitate access to state government contracts an business services for EDGE certified businesses. The program establishes goals for state agencies in awarding contracts to certified EDGE businesses. EDGE procurement contracts apply to: goods and services, professional services, information technology services, construction, architecture and engineering. To meet minimum eligibility requirements, and EDGE participant must be a small socially and economically disadvantaged business enterprise owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are Ohio residents.

Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)—MBE directs business to minority-owned Ohio companies. To meet the eligibility requirements for the MBE, the business must be a for-profit operation and must have been founded at least one year prior to applying to the MBE program. The owner must belong to one of the following groups: African American, Native American, Hispanic, and/or Asian/Pacific Islander. The owner and operator must also be a U.S. citizen and an Ohio resident.

Office of Procurement from Community Rehabilitation Programs (OPCRP) - OPCRP is a resource that assists state agencies in the purchasing of supplies and services from local organizations that employ individuals with work-limiting disabilities.

Ohio Penal Industries (OPI)—OPI is an industrial training program for offenders who are incarcerated within the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. A total of 2.8 million work hours were logged last year by the offender population in OPI’s operations. The training and skills acquired through this program better prepares the offenders for successful reentry to society upon their release. OPI is self-sufficient and receives no tax dollars. OPI contributes greatly to the state’s economy by spending millions of dollars with Ohio companies. OPI uses raw materials purchased from these companies for the wide range of quality products OPI produces.

Rehabilitation Services Commission, Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI)—Administered by BSVI, the Ohio Business Enterprise Program (BEP) enables Ohioans who are legally blind to enjoy careers in food services management. Today BEP operates more than 120 food service and vending enterprises in Ohio. BSVI specialists help ensure success on providing management consulting services to food service managers. Through the Ohio Revised Code, state agencies, colleges and universities are mandated to use BSVI food services.

Buy Ohio—Refers to in-state preference law that entitles Ohio bidders and border state bidders to receive a 5% price preference. Intent of program is to foster business for Ohio products and services.

Federal Buying Laws

Buy American Act - The Buy American Act of 1933 requires the federal government to buy American–made iron, steel, and manufactured goods wherever possible. A product is defined as American–made under “Buy American” if at least 50 percent of its constituent parts and/or materials originated in the US. Since 1933, several additions to that policy have been enacted. A product is defined as American–made under “Buy America” if all of its manufacturing processes, constituent parts and/or materials originated in the US. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, created yet another standard, which applied to all projects with Recovery Act funds (both direct federal and federal–aid). This new Recovery Act standard is distinct from the others in that it supersedes the other two requirements where they would normally apply, establishes a new definitions of American–made, and applies the requirement to sectors of the construction market that have never had to comply with either of the previous requirements before. A foreign end product may be purchased if the contracting officer determines that the price of the lowest domestic offer is unreasonable or if another exception applies. The purpose of the Buy American Act is to provide preferential treatment for domestic sources. The act requires the federal government to purchase domestic supplies for use in the United States, if: The supply contract exceeds the micro-purchase threshold; or the supply portion of a contract for services that involves the furnishing of supplies exceeds the micro-purchase threshold. In determining what are domestic goods, the place of mining, production, or manufacture is controlling.

Fly America Act - Federal travelers are required by 49 U.S.C. 40118, commonly referred to as the "Fly America Act," to use United States air carrier service for all air travel and cargo transportation services funded by the United States Government. This applies for CFAES to all federally funded projects that run through the Office of Sponsored Programs. 

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