Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 70: Purchasing

General Purchasing Information

BPPM 70.01

For more information contact:
   Purchasing Services

1.0  Introduction

This section provides general information regarding WSU purchasing. For specific procedures, refer to the Business Policies and Procedures Manual Chapter 70.

Note: Washington State University implements federally funded procurements in accordance with Uniform Guidance requirements. (2 CFR 200)

2.0  Procedures

2.1  General Procedures

The University provides several purchasing methods. Refer to Table 1 below to determine which method to use. Use the applicable procedure that is closest to the top of the table.

Table 1
Description BPPM Reference Form Used Restrictions/Explanation

Interdepartmental purchases from University resources


Interdepartmental Requisition and Invoice

Internal Service Delivery (Workday)

Buy from WSU departments authorized to sell goods and services. See also BPPM 30.15.

See the Workday Internal Service Delivery reference guide for ISD instructions.

Small purchases


Procurement Card

See 70.08.

Purchases from specified suppliers


Supplier’s invoice

See 70.19 for suppliers and amounts.

Purchases from outside suppliers



Procurement Card

Create Requisition (Workday)

See 70.08 for limits and restrictions.

See the Workday Create Requisition reference guide for instructions.

2.2  Special Procedures

For purchasing procedures for special circumstances search Chapter 70 in the BPPM. A few special procedures are listed in Table 2.

Table 2
Description BPPM Reference Form Used Restrictions/Explanation

Alcoholic beverages


Banquet Permit

To purchase alcohol for University functions.

Cash advance


Suppliers’ receipts

Used for grants and contracts.

Purchases from discretionary accounts (function FN057)


Standard University purchasing forms


Carpeting, floor coverings, window coverings, furniture requiring connections to the building or building utilities

Note: Does not include purchases by Housing and Dining Services.

80.45, 80.56

Online form: myFacilities

(Users who are unable to access the myFacilities website may contact Facilities Services, Operations; telephone 509-335-9000.)

To obtain indicated commodities.

Personal services


Contract Request form (Workday)

To obtain services of nonemployees.

Petty Cash Fund


Suppliers’ receipts, State of Washington Invoice Voucher

For miscellaneous small or emergency purchases.

Telephone Services

85.39, 85.41

Telecommunications Service Request, Toll Call Authorization

To obtain telephone/network services or telephone calling cards.

Travel purchases

95.08, 95.20

Expense Report (Workday)

To make purchases while in travel status.

3.0  Authority

Purchasing Services is responsible for managing procurement by purchase, lease, or rental of all materials, services, supplies and equipment required by the various departments of the University regardless of the source of funds.

3.1  Delegation of Signature Authority

The University President delegates signature authority to certain individuals to approve procurement transactions, as indicated in signed letters of delegation.

3.1.a   Procurement Through Contracts

Only officials holding delegated contract signature authority, as indicated in signed letters of delegation, may sign contracts or agreements that commit University resources. (See BPPM 10.10, 10.11, 70.10, 70.13, and 70.19.)

Nothing in this policy grants any other University employees authority to sign contracts.

3.1.b    Direct Procurements (Up to Direct Buy Limit)

Departments are authorized to make direct purchases of goods and services (i.e., without being required to submit the purchases to Purchasing Services for processing), as long as all three of the following conditions are met:

  • The purchase of the good or service is not otherwise listed as a prohibited purchase at the departmental level (see Prohibited Purchases in BPPM 70.08); and
  • The amount of the purchase does not exceed $10,000; and
  • The purchase is not processed with a contract.

3.2   General Dollar Limit Thresholds

The general dollar limit thresholds for purchases of goods and services by order or contract are described in Table 3. Threshold amounts include tax and shipping.

Table 3
Maximum Limits of Purchase Authority
Department (Goods and Services) $10,000
Campus Buyers (Goods and Services) $100,000
Central Buyers (Goods and Services) $250,000
Purchasing Director (Client and Personal Services) $500,000
Purchasing Director (Goods and Services) $1,000,000
Senior Associate Vice President, Deputy CFO, Finance and Administration $1,000,000
Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration $5,000,000
Amounts over $5,000,000 must be approved by the University President or the Regents of the University.

4.0  General Policies

Basic requirements are determined by statute and state and University administrative regulations. Purchasing Services has primary responsibility for interpreting these requirements and establishing appropriate guidelines.

4.1  Prior Approval

To assure compliance with all regulations, all purchases must have the appropriate prior approval. (See Table 1 and Table 2 for a list of applicable policies.) Any person making an unauthorized purchase must assume full responsibility for that purchase.

4.2  Purchasing Services’ Objective

Purchasing Services’ objective is to obtain specified goods and services at the lowest price, maintain quantity and quality, comply with regulations, and spend public money wisely. To achieve this goal, suppliers are contacted locally, in state, out of state, and internationally through the competitive bidding process.

4.3  Sole Source

The term “sole source” is defined as a supplier providing goods or services of such a unique nature or sole availability at the location required, that the contractor is clearly and justifiably the only practicable source to provide the goods or services.

Sole source purchases are discouraged because of the lack of competition, which creates the potential for higher prices and terms more favorable to the supplier.

Most sole source purchase requests must be documented by memorandum from the requisitioning department. Some purchase requests that are on the list of purchases exempt from competition maintained by Purchasing Services may not require a sole source memo. Contact Purchasing Services for more information. A written quotation or bid must also be obtained by Purchasing Services to substantiate the price, terms, delivery, etc. before an order is committed. All sole source requests are closely reviewed by state and federal auditors.

4.4  Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property

Licensing out of WSU intellectual property is not a purchase of or contract for goods or services, even if terms in the license impose some commercialization diligence requirements on the licensee, and thus is not within Purchasing Services’ purview. (See EP38.) For such transactions, refer to the Office of Commercialization (OC).

If, notwithstanding the above policy, contracts that license out WSU intellectual property are deemed to constitute a purchase of or contract for goods or services within the meaning of RCW 39.26.120(1), the University has determined that requiring a competitive solicitation process is not appropriate or cost-effective for such contracts. Based on this determination and exercising independently in accordance with RCW 28B.10.029(1)(a) the powers granted to the Director of the Department of Enterprise Services in RCW 39.26.125(7), WSU exempts contracts from the competitive solicitation process that license out WSU intellectual property (IP), including those IP contracts that are deemed to constitute a purchase of or contract for goods or services within the meaning of RCW 39.26.120(1).

Nothing in this policy gives the OC purchasing authority otherwise delegated to the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Office of Real Estate and Business Operations (REBO), or Purchasing Services, which is outside of the licensing out of WSU-created IP and technology or as expressly delegated to the Vice President and WSU Pullman Vice Chancellor for Research or the Director of the OC.

4.5  Small Businesses, Minority Firms

Small business and minority firms are used as suppliers to the extent it is consistent with effective performance policies, particularly in subcontracting under federal contracts.

The University’s goal is to increase its spending with small and diverse businesses, especially within the state of Washington. A directory published by the state of Washington is available to help identify small business and minority firms.

Suppliers providing goods or services to WSU must certify agreement to Executive Order Number 11246, which states a commitment to the active pursuit of equal employment opportunity.

4.6  Conflict of Interest

University employees may not participate in purchasing transactions which involve economic benefit to themselves, their immediate families, or businesses with which they are directly associated (see BPPM 70.15).

Direct all questions relating to specific transactions which may involve a conflict of interest to the Director of Purchasing Services.

5.0  Assistance

5.1  Buyers

Purchasing Services buyers assist departmental personnel in obtaining information about any item.

Employees with departmental purchasing responsibilities are encouraged to discuss questions about purchasing procedures with the buyers. Within state law and regulation and University policy, procedures can be developed to meet special needs, speed purchases and/or cut handling costs.

5.2  Purchase Methods

There are several ways to purchase equipment and supplies at the University. The method used depends upon the item and its anticipated use. Refer to Table 1 or Table 2 above, or BPPM Chapter 70 to find the appropriate procedure.

6.0  State Purchasing

Some commodities are bid on one bid for the entire state by the State Department of Enterprise Services. The State Department of Enterprise Services advises WSU Purchasing Services concerning acquisition procedures.

Purchasing Services acquires certain services and commodities from state supplier agencies, e.g., State of Washington Central Stores.

7.0  Auxiliary Services

Purchasing Services has several auxiliary services. These responsibilities are described in subsequent sections of BPPM Chapter 70. These services include (but are not limited to) relocating laboratories, coordinating personal services contracts, and licensing and titling motor vehicles.

8.0  Sponsored Projects

Sponsored project expenditures are subject to the same treatment as state-appropriated funds. The existing State of Washington Purchasing Policies therefore apply to all such purchases. Federal audits have found these guidelines acceptable.

8.1  Equipment Screening

Before a requisition is prepared for equipment to be purchased with grant or contract funds, the requisitioning department must review equipment currently available. If the equipment is available, it must not be purchased (see BPPM 40.12 and 70.10).

8.2  Prior Review

The project investigator and the individual with account expenditure authority are responsible for ensuring that all equipment requisitions to be purchased with sponsored funds are in accordance with University, state, and sponsor policies, regulations, and guidelines.

8.3  Special Terms and Conditions

Federal grant- and contract-funded purchases are subject to the terms and conditions agreed upon between the University and federal government, which are available from the Purchasing Services Standard Procurement Documents website.

Revisions:  Mar. 2023 (Rev. 610); Jan. 2021 (Rev. 560); Jan. 2020 (Rev. 541); Sept. 2018 (Rev. 518); Sept. 2017 (Rev. 500); Nov. 2015 (Rev. 461); Sept. 2014 (Rev. 438); Dec. 2007 (Rev. 311); Nov. 2003 (Rev. 238); Aug. 2001 (Rev. 193); July 1990 (Rev. 81).