Purchasing Office - Purchasing Procedures  
  1. Mission Statement

The Purchasing Office mission is to procure the highest possible quality of goods and services in a cost efficient manner; aiming to support the teaching and research functions of the institution and provide the commodities and services needed to enhance the quality of student life on campus.

  1. Authorization Limits
    1. Departments have direct departmental purchasing authority for purchases up to $1,000 and may be made directly with the vendor using a departmental purchase order (DPO) (see example) or a purchasing card (P-Card).


    • Departments are not authorized to make capital equipment purchases regardless of the amount. (See Equipment Purchases and Sales  under the Fiscal Affairs Policy  link http://www.trinity.edu/departments/fiscal_affairs/fapolicy/

    • Computer and related items:  All DPO’s for computers, software and related items (printers, scanners, monitors, etc.) from all areas of the University must be processed through and approved by the director of Information Technology Services (ITS)
    1. Purchasing Card:  For purchases $1,000 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 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.  (See P-Card section for specific policies  and procedures).
    1. All orders exceeding $1,000 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 Section D, Number 4).
    1. Exceptions to the $1,000 limit are reimbursements, honoraria, services (i.e., architects, printing contractors), travel and others as approved by the Vice President for Fiscal Affairs.
  1. Approval Process
    1. Under $1,000:  The department budget officer (i.e., chair, director, principal investigator and VP) will approve the DPO by signature and date.   Some divisions of the University and some specific accounts may have additional requirements regarding signature authority. 

    1. Over $1,000:  Two signature are required; the department budget officer and that of their immediate supervisor.

    2. Over $2,500:  Furniture or equipment purchases that exceed $2,500 funded  from departmental S&E  require the approval of the vice-president and president.

  1. Department Purchase Order Preparation
    1. Purchases for $1,000 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.
    1. If the cost of merchandise is unknown, send a fax (Ext. 8229) or email (purchasing@trinity.edu) to the Purchasing Office specifying exact requirements and suggested source if known.  The Purchasing Office will obtain a quote and advise the department.
    1. Purchases  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.
    1. Purchases over $1,000:  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. 
    1. Blanket Purchase Orders:  If a department has recurring charges with a vendor that does not accept the purchasing card, a blanket order (see example) 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 any period (6-12 months) up to $1,000.   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 this vendor, the DPO number preceded by a “B” is given as the purchase order number.  For instance, if the blanker order number is 3123456 then the vendor is asked to cite B3123456 on their packing slip and invoice.
    1. Chemicals and/or hazardous materials:  A copy of the DPO must be send to the Environmental Safety Coordinator, Environmental Safety Office.
    1. 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 by the Purchasing Office.
      • Business related entertainment expenses must include the names of all guests, the business affiliation of each guest, and the business purpose of the expenditure.

      • Mileage requests must include the beginning and ending odometer reading and must include the purpose for mileage.
    1. 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 Other Services – Section D)
    1. 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.
    1. The director or chairperson or designee must sign the DPO.
      • Up to $1,000:  Forward to Accounts Payable (Business Office)

      • Over $1,000:  Forward to appropriate vice president for signature.

    2. The department copy 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 to Purchasing.
    1. If the department picks ups 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.
    1. If the department receives the merchandise directly from the vendor after the DPO has been processed, notify Central Receiving centrec@rintiy.edu giving the vendor’s name and the DPO number so that the order can be accepted on the university’s data base system.
    1. All invoices received directly by the department must be sent to Accounts Payable.
    1. A department may be assessed a $15 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. 
    1. 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.
    1. 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.

      Federal Rules require that when a non-federal entity enters into a covered transaction that is expected to equal or exceed $25,000.00 with an entity at a lower tier, the nonfederal entity must verify that the entity at the lower tier is not suspended, debarred, or otherwise excluded from federal contracts. This verification may be accomplished by checking the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) maintained by the US General Services Administration (GSA), collecting a certification from the entity, or adding a clause or condition to the covered transaction with that entity (Office of Management and Budget circular A-102, Grants and cooperative Agreements with State and Local Governments, section 1.d and A-110, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations, Subpart B.13, Executive Orders 12549 and 12689, Debarment and suspension; Title 45, code of Federal Regulations, Part 76, Government-wide Debarment and Suspension)

      Trinity University has a procurement policy that requires vendors to complete a debarment certification form if they participate in the bid or proposal process involving federal funds in the amount of $100,000.00 or more. For procurements between $25,000.00 and $ 100,000.00 that are bid out, the University's invitation to bid contains a clause that requires the vendor to certify that it is not suspended or debarred by signing and returning the bid. Trinity University will certify vendor status by checking the most current Excluded Parties List System (EPLS)

      (Grants may stipulate specific purchasing requirements. Contact the Office of Sponsored Projects or Business Office/Grant Accounting for specific grant requirements.)
    1. 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.



Questions or comments?
purchasing @trinity.edu


Purchasing Office
One Trinity Place,
San Antonio, Texas 78212-7200
(210) 999-8226
(210) 999-8229 fax