Procurement and Payment Standards

Overview:  The State of Ohio delegates the authority to the Board of Trustees (BOT) to establish and govern University policy and business standards for adherence to state laws.  BOT designates University Purchasing and other finance/fiscal areas to guide and apply procurement standards on their behalf.  Policies related to procurement may include Purchasing, Expenditure, Fiscal Stewardship, Assets, PCard and Travel.  All University policies are located at  NOTE:  This document only addresses procurement using University (non-OSP) funding.  OSP funding procurement facilitated by GSSC. 


Key Business Standards for Procurement (not all-inclusive)

  • Amount & Funding Type:  Policies and business standards are applied consistently regardless amount and/or funding type (e.g., general, start-up, endowment, advancement, discretionary, grants, etc.). 
  • Catalog (contracted) vs. Non-Catalog (non-contracted) Supplier:  Priority is given to catalog suppliers.  A supplier (vendor) achieves “catalog” status by participating in RFP (bid) process facilitated by University Purchasing and is awarded a contract.   Additionally, government and higher-education consortiums may have suppliers the University can deem as “catalog” also.   
  • Spend (Bid) Limits with Non-Catalog:  To be in accordance with state laws the BOT imposes spend limits with non-catalog suppliers.  These limits are $25,000 for “goods” and $50,000 for “services”.  Use of catalog suppliers does not have imposed spend limits.  Also, some “non-catalog suppliers” may be required to meet Risk Management requirements (liability, negligence, licensing, etc.).
  • Supplier & Payment Prioritization:  Updated policies require selection of supplier and payment be assessed by a series of progressive decision-making steps.  It’s recommended proactive assistance be requested from department and college finance/fiscal staff to navigate these assessment processes (see below).
  • Understanding Approvals:  All procurement requests cycle through multiple levels of review and approval.  Approvals are required from department, college and central University.  A request is only considered “approved” once each designated workflow role is complete.  Care should be taken to not make any commitments or inferences with suppliers until final approvals occur.   
  • Exceptions:  A circumstance may warrant deviating from BOT resolutions and/or University policies.  Exceptions are only considered as a “last resort” given sensitivity and risk in deviating from State of Ohio laws or other critical business process.  Proactive dialogue with college and University fiscal/finance staff ensures a vetted, substantial, and objective business argument exists warranting an exception.      


Progressive Decision-Making:  Supplier Type

1st Option

Internal Supplier

Internal University suppliers should be given initial consideration when possible.  Examples include UniPrint, OSU Stores, University conference/meeting centers (Blackwell, Shisler, Fawcett, Ohio Union, 4H Building, etc.).

2nd Option

Catalog Supplier

Catalog suppliers are given next priority for goods or services.  Some specific commodities require only catalog suppliers be used.

3rd Option

Non-Catalog Supplier

Non-catalog suppliers are last consideration.  Some specific purchases and/or costs exceeding BOT spend limits requires central University guidance and approvals to proceed.


Progressive Decision-Making:  Payment Method Type

1st Option

Internal Supplier

Internal Service Delivery (ISD) billing journal.

2nd Option


MarketPlace (BuckeyeBuy) automated PO purchases from catalog suppliers. 

3rd Option

Purchase Order (PO)

Purchase Orders (POs) are the University’s primary and preferred payment method with external suppliers.  POs should be used at every opportunity.

4th Option


PCard is only to be considered when a PO is unavailable and the purchase meets all University policies.   

5th Option

Personal Funds

Personal funds must only be used on rare occasion for non-travel goods and services.  Also, internal dialogue is strongly encouraged prior to use of personal funds to ensure reimbursement will be approved.  Reimbursement can be denied.