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Purchasing Policy and Procedure

Contents of this page:

A.  Mission Statement
BAuthorization Limits
C.  Approval Process
D Department Purchase Order Preparation

Mission Statement

The mission of the Purchasing Office is to procure the highest possible quality of goods and services for the University at the lowest possible cost.  We aim to support the teaching and research functions of the institution as well as to provide the commodities and services needed to enhance the quality of student life on the campus.  We assist departments in identifying problems and finding the best solutions within budgetary constraints.

To accomplish our mission, certain guidelines and procedures have been established.  These procedures must be adhered to in order to ensure budgetary control over University resources, compliance with applicable federal, state and local government regulations, maximum value for funds being expended and adequate testing and inspection of purchased materials.

Authorization Limits

1.  Departments have direct departmental purchasing authority for purchases up to $1,000.00 and may be made with the vendor using a departmental purchase order (DPO, see example) or a purchasing card (P-Card).


2.  Purchasing Card:  For purchases $1,000.00 or less the purchasing card is the preferred method of payment.  The purchasing card program is designed to streamline the order of and payment for purchases of $1,000.00 or less in total cost.  Other forms of payment including invoice billing, check requests and petty cash transactions should be used only when payment by a purchasing card is not accepted by the vendor.

3.  All orders exceeding $1,000.00 must be processed through the Purchasing Office on a departmental purchase order so that a purchase order (PO, see example) can be issued.  (Refer to Department Purchase Order Preparation, number 4 below)

4.  Exceptions to the $1,000.00 limit are reimbursements, honoraria, services (i.e., architects, printing, contractors), travel and others as approved by the Vice President for Finance & Administration.

Approval Process

1.  Under $1,000.00:  The chair or director will approve the DPO by signature and date.  The principal investigator's signature is also required to expend funds from a grant.  Some divisions of the University and some specific accounts may have additional requirements regarding signature authority.

2.  Over $1,000.00:  The chair or director will approve the DPO by signature and date.  The principal investigator's signature is also required to expend funds from a grant.  Forward DPO to the vice president for approval.

Department Purchase Order Preparation

1.  Purchases for $1,000.00 or less:  The DPO is to be completed at the time the order is placed, indicating the vendor's name and address, amount to be paid, and a full description of the items being purchased.  If freight is to be paid, note the amount or an estimate on the DPO.  "Per invoice" or "Per attached" is not an acceptable description.

2.  If the cost of merchandise is unknown, send a fax to Ext. 8229 or email the Purchasing Office at specifying exact requirements and suggested source if known.  The Purchasing Office will obtain a quote and advise the department.

3.  Orders placed directly with the vendor by phone or in person must be assigned a DPO number at the time the order is placed.  Instructions must be given to the vendor to cite this number on all invoices, packing slips and correspondence pertaining to the order.  Request that the merchandise be shipped to:  Trinity University/Central Receiving, 607 Kings Court, San Antonio, TX  78212.  The DPO must be processed as soon as practical and the "Yes" box marked on the DPO so that the order will not be duplicated.  If this box is not marked, it is assumed that the order has not been placed and the Purchasing Office will place the order.  If duplication occurs, it will be the sole responsibility of the department to contact the vendor to return the merchandise and for any fee associated with the return.

4.  Purchases over $1,000.00:  The DPO is completed indicating the preferred vendor's name and address, full description of the merchandise and price if known.  If the department has received a quotation, attach to the DPO and forward to the appropriate vice president for approval.  The vice president's office will forward the approved DPO to the Business Office.  The Purchasing Office will ensure that the DPO has the appropriate approvals; the best price is obtained and places the order.

5.  Blanket Purchase Orders:  If a department has recurring charges with a vendor that does not accept the purchasing card, a blanket order may be issued to the vendor.  A blanket order is an authorization for Accounts Payable to pay invoices, as directed by the department, to a vendor without the need to process a DPO for each invoice.  A blanket order may cover a period of 6 to12 months, up to $1,000.00.  Complete a DPO indicating the vendor's name, address and estimated amount for the period with a description of the merchandise to be purchased or services to be rendered.  Indicate that the order is to be processed as a "BLANKET ORDER".  Purchasing will process the DPO as a blanket order using the DPO Number as the blanket number. When merchandise or services are requested from the vendor, the DPO number preceded by a "B" is given as the purchase order number.  For instances, if the blanket order number is 3123456 then the vendor is asked to cite B3123456 on their packing slip and invoice.

6.  Chemicals and/or hazardous materials: A copy of the DPO must be sent to the University Safety Coordinator.

7.  Reimbursement:  The individual's full legal name and social security number must be entered in the vendor area of the DPO.  All original receipts must be attached.  These DPO's are processed by Accounts Payable and not the Purchasing Office.

8.  Relocation (Moving) Expense Reimbursement:  DPO's for reimbursement of moving expenses for newly hired faculty (as approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs) are initiated and processed by the Purchasing Office. (Refer to Convenience Copy Center, Other Services, section D - Employee Moving Allowances) 

9.  Honoraria (Guest Speakers):  The individual's social security number and address must be in the vendor area of the DPO and a letter of engagement must be attached to the DPO.

10.  The director or chairperson or designee must sign the DPO.

11.  The department copy of the DPO will be detached and retained in the department file copy.  If merchandise is to be delivered directly to the department by the vendor, note on the DPO and retain receiving (gold) copy.  When merchandise is received, sign the receiving copy and forward it to Purchasing.

12.  If the department picks up the merchandise and invoice before processing the DPO, the receiving copy must be signed (leave attached) and forward all copies of the DPO to the Business Office.

13.  If the department receives the merchandise directly from the vendor after the DPO has been processed, notify Central Receiving at, giving the vendor's name and the DPO number so that the order can be accepted on the university's data base system.

14.  All invoices received directly by the department must be sent to the Business Office/Accounts Payable

15.  A department may be assessed a $15.00 processing fee by the Business Office if an invoice is received in Accounts Payable and a corresponding DPO has not been processed by the department.

16.  Trade-in or exchange of university property must be approved by the appropriate vice president prior to making the commitment.  The trade-in or exchange must be noted on the DPO and must include a full description, the University asset number and the value received from the vendor.

17.  Orders totaling $25,000.00 or more must have a minimum of three documented bids or justification for sole sourcing.  Departmental staff may solicit bids or request that the Purchasing Office do so by providing detailed specifications of the product(s) being solicited. (Grants may stipulate specific purchasing requirements.  Contact the Office of  Sponsored Projects or Business Office/Grant Accounting for specific grant requirements.)

18.  Conflict of Interest:  Any actual or perceived conflict of interest by either the person initiating the request for goods or services or by an individual approving the request must be disclosed to the Purchasing Office prior to a commitment to purchase goods or services.  This includes, but is not limited to, any circumstances which may provide financial gain to the University employee or a member of his or her family or household or to a business partner.


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For further information, please call (210) 999-7306, or write to:

Trinity University
Office of Finance & Administration
One Trinity Place
San Antonio, TX   78212-7200

This page is provided to you for informational purposes.   Trinity University does not assume liability for omissions, typographical errors, or policy changes that are not updated immediately on this or other official university web pages.

This page was last modified on June 25, 2012.