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Policies & Procedures

General Information
Purpose: These procedures are a summary guide for University departments, outlining procedures for processing requirements through the Purchasing Office. Through these procedures, we have attempted to relate policies and objectives necessary to procure goods and services for your department.

Authorities:    All purchases must be made through the Purchasing Office.

Procurement Code:    The South Carolina Consolidated Procurement Code governs the expenditure of all funds regardless of source unless specifically exempted.

  • The Purchasing Office will adhere to and abide by the Procurement Code and its implementing regulations.

Where a procurement involves the expenditure of federal grant or contract funds, Francis Marion University is required to comply with the federal law and authorized regulations which are applicable even if not presently reflected in the South Carolina Procurement Code.

Certification:    The Office of General Services of the Budget and Control Board has certified Francis Marion University to make direct purchases of up to $250,000 for goods/services, $150,000 for construction, consultant services and $150,000 for information technology.

Contracts:    A purchase order constitutes a contract binding the University and the supplier.

  • The Vice President for Business Affairs, Director of Purchasing, and designated procurement officers are the only persons authorized to bind Francis Marion University except as delegated under the purchasing card program.

Correspondence with Vendors:   

  • All correspondence pertaining to a purchase order involving prices, terms, conditions, delivery, quantity, substitution, complaint, or anything whatsoever involving the commitment, shall be conducted by the Purchasing Office.
  • Direct correspondence by faculty and staff is accepted practice for obtaining instructional information, availability, or requests for literature, etc.
  • Faculty and staff personnel should refrain from any correspondence which may be interpreted as committing Francis Marion University to a binding contract.

Coordination:    Departments are encouraged to coordinate with the Purchasing Office in advance of purchase requisition submission for complex high-value procurement actions.

Procurement Planning:  The vast majority of purchases require that departments properly plan their purchasing actions.

  • Purchase requisitions are forwarded to the Purchasing Office after completion.
  • Departments must allow for competition and purchase order processing time when establishing requirements.  (Additionally, check enclosure requirements must take into consideration purchase order processing time and the check write dates.)

We cannot overemphasize the need for departments to plan their needs well in advance and involve the Purchasing Office in the planning stage.

It is the responsibility of the Purchasing Office to originate, control, and analyze quotations, bids and proposals.

  • The requisitioning department is responsible for defining quality, quantity, specifications, delivery date requirements and all other pertinent information essential to proper purchase.
  • The requisitioning department should also suggest sources, when known, especially for unusual or unique items.
  • The requisition or may be called upon to assist the procurement officer in evaluating the quotes, bids or proposals received.

Purchase Requisition Procedures

Originator Responsibilities:                                   

  • Determines if the purchase will require special facilities need.  (If so, see Equipment Purchases).
  • Completes Purchase Requisition in triplicate, retains the third, and forwards for appropriate signatory approval.  Purchase Requisition order forms are available from the Purchasing Office.
  • Is the designated recipient of delivered goods unless otherwise noted on the requisition.  Storage and/or installation are the responsibility of the originator.

Purchasing Office Responsibilities:

  • Upon receipt of the requisition, verifies that appropriate signatures have been obtained and sufficient funds are available.  Requisitions not properly signed or lacking sufficient funds in the referenced budget will be returned to the originator for required signatures or budget resolution.
  • Determines appropriate solicitation methods and issues a Purchase Order, or obtains competition as appropriate.
  • Sends copy of the Purchase Order to the originator, who verifies it as being consistent with the requisition.  Discrepancies should be immediately brought to the attention of the Purchasing Office.  After verification, the Purchase Order should be retained by the originator, or in a central location as determined by the Department Head for future reference.
  • Forwards a "Receiving Copy" of the Purchase Order with printed completion instructions to the originator.  The Department Head shall verify receipt of goods or services when received and forward the Receiving Copy to the Purchasing Office.  The Department Head may designate a limited number of staff to accomplish this on his/her behalf.  Purchasing will request and maintain a current listing of authorized designees for verification purposes.

Department Head or Designee Responsibilities:

  • Notes the Receiving Copy appropriately and forwards to the Purchasing Office.  Timely and accurate completion of this document is the basis for payment to the vendor.  It is important to forward it as soon as possible.

Purchasing Thresholds:

Limited Purchase Orders: A five-part form for local supply purchases under $100.00; instructions residing on the reverse of the form.  "Local" is generally defined as Florence mailing addresses.

Purchases up to $2,500.00:  Small purchases not exceeding $2,500 may be made without securing competitive quotations if the prices are considered fair and reasonable.   

  • If the total estimate is close to $2,500 or if the procurement officer feels a better price can be obtained, the order may be informally bid.
  • Final discretionary authority rests with the procurement officer.  Otherwise, the orders are processed and sent directly to the suggested vendor.

Purchases from $2,500.01 to $10,000.00:  Verbal solicitation of a minimum of three written quotations is required, prior to award.

  • These quotations will be solicited by a procurement officer, or written quotations will be accepted from departments provided the quote accurately addresses the item(s) to be purchased, is signed by the vendor, and includes sufficient information for verification by the Purchasing Office.
  • Quotations provided by departments must contain sufficient information for verification (i.e. vendor name, address, phone number, contact person).  The information may be confirmed by the Purchasing Office prior to award.

Purchases from $10,000.01 to $50,000.00:  Written solicitation of written quotes, bids, or proposals shall be made.

  • The procurement shall be advertised at least once in the South Carolina Business Opportunities publication.  (Quotations will not be accepted from departments.)

Purchases over $50,000 are required to be awarded on the basis of competitive sealed bids/proposals.  Francis Marion is certified  at the following levels:

Goods and Services:                to $200,000
Information Technology:           to $150,000
Consultant Services:                 to $100,000
Construction:                              to $100,000

  • This procurement methodology requires advance planning, advertising, public opening of bids/proposals and analysis prior to award of the contract.
  • Departments must allow a minimum of thirty (30) days for these procedures after submitting a purchase requisition.
  • The procurement shall be advertised at least once in the South Carolina Business Opportunities publication.

Purchases over the certification levels listed above must be competitively bid by the State Materials Management Office.

  • Departments must allow a minimum of forty-five (45) days for these purchases after submitting a purchase requisition.

Competitive Bids:    Requests for purchases above $50,000.00 shall be submitted with:

  • Detailed written specifications forwarded to the Purchasing Office.
  • Specifications must contain enough detail to identify the goods/services required and indicate required delivery dates.

(The Purchasing Office will provide assistance in preparing specifications, as required.)

Competitive Sealed Proposals:     Purchases that are highly technical, complex in nature and do not lend themselves to formal competitive sealed bidding can be made by competitive sealed proposals, which take into consideration factors other than cost.

Confirming Purchases:    On occasion, it may be necessary to issue a verbal or "confirming" purchase order.  To obtain a confirming purchase order, the department head or delegated representative should contact the Purchasing Office.

The following information will be required prior to issuance of a confirming purchase order:

  • Vendor
  • Amount of purchase
  • Reason for confirming purchase
  • Requestor's name

Purchase requisitions for confirming purchases will be entered in the purchasing system as a "PBR" (pay by requisition).

Pay By Requisition (PBR):     A form of direct payment to a vendor utilizing a completed requisition and corresponding invoice for repairs (less than $2,500.00), memberships, confirming purchases, subscriptions, and personal reimbursements.  The Director of Purchasing or his designee may authorize departmental use of this procedure for repairs or supplies on an as needed basis.

Emergency Purchases:    When purchases must be made on an emergency basis, the department head should contact the Director of Purchasing and request an emergency purchase.

The following information will be required prior to approval:

  • Name of vendor
  • Amount of purchase
  • Name of requestor
  • Description of item or service to be purchased
  • Nature of emergency

In cases where the exact amount of the purchase is not known, an estimate must be made.

Competition will be solicited, if possible.  The Director of Purchasing through the Vice President for Business Affairs is the approval authority for emergency procurements.  Upon receipt of the emergency purchase order number the vendor may be notified and the goods/services procured.


Fixed Price Bidding:     Fixed price bidding is used to provide multiple sources of supply for specific goods or services based on a pre-set maximum price which will be paid for such goods and services.

  • Award is made to all responsive and responsible bidders.

Best Value Bidding:     Best value bidding is used to allow factors other than price to be considered in the determination of award for specific goods or services based on predetermined criteria identified in the bid.

  • Award is made taking into consideration all evaluation factors set forth in the bid.

Sole Source Purchases:  The basis for the sole source determination and the reason no other product or vendor is suitable are required.  The Purchasing Office cannot adequately answer these questions without your input.  The Vice President for Business Affairs is the approval authority for sole source procurements.


Equipment Purchases:  The purchase or acquisition of high value equipment may require in excess of 30 days to process; therefore, it is important to anticipate needs.

  • Printing Equipment:  All procurements of printing equipment in excess of $25,000 require approval of the state's information technology planning office.
  • Equipment-Lease, Lease/Payment, Installment Purchase and Rental:  Acquisition of equipment by any means other than purchase must be fully justified.  (Most purchases in this category require prior approval from General Services or the State Treasurer and involve long lead time; therefore, plan accordingly.)
  • Equipment Trade-in:  Items may be used for trade-in credit when purchasing or leasing new, like items.

Consult with the Director of Facilities Management to insure all requirements can be met prior to requisitioning any equipment:

  • That requires permanent connection to the building or to any building service (electricity, water supply or drain, ventilation, gas, air, steam, etc.)
  • That requires the addition or extension of any building service, including electricity at a different voltage or increase in power available.
  • That requires special cabinetry, support, or housing not acquired as part of the equipment.
  • That requires special environmental conditions, such as control of temperature or humidity.
  • That is particularly large or heavy.
  • That requires any cutting, patching, or building modification.

Standing Purchase Orders (SPO):  SPO's are contracts issued to establish and monitor use of products or services for a specified period of time and to increase efficiency in administration of those agreements.  Contracts issued as such will be competed appropriately by the Purchasing Office and when established will clearly indicate term and pricing on the purchase order.  The using department will be responsible for:

  • Reviewing invoices for accuracy and resolving any discrepancy with the vendor.
  • Identifying and noting the applicable purchase order number on the invoice.
  • Forwarding the invoice to the Office of Accounting for payment.
  • Monitoring expiration dates.

Consultant Services:     Departments requesting consultant services should submit a purchase requisition that contains the following information:

  • Definition of need.
  • Expected results from consultant.
  • Specific qualifications the consultant must possess.
  • Period services will be needed.
  • Selection criteria to be used in judging consultant proposals.
  • Number, type and frequency of reports required. 
  • Payment terms.

Professional Services:   When professional services are to be obtained under an independent contractual relationship, wherein the University relinquishes the RIGHT to DIRECT or CONTROL the professional in the method of performance or the end results of his/her efforts as defined in IRS regulations, then procurement must be accomplished as directed in the South Carolina Procurement Code and ensuing Regulations.

  • Professionals with fees over $2,500 who are unique in their applicability to University programs may qualify for "sole source" procurement action.  Such determination can only be made by the Vice President for Business Affairs.

Proposed contracts, which do not qualify as "sole source" will require competitive bidding.

Employee Services:    Requests for employee services are to be made to the Office of Human Resources.

Repair Services:     Requests for repair services, under normal or non-critical circumstances, will be processed as a routine purchase.

  • Whenever equipment is in need of immediate repair or the repair service is critical to department operations and regular procedures cannot be followed, the department should follow the Confirming Purchase procedures.

Legal and Auditing Services:  Payment for legal services will require prior approval of the State Attorney General's Office.  Procurement of certified public accountants and public accountants to perform financial and/or compliance audits are exempt from competition but are subject to approval by the State Auditor's Office.

Printing Services:     Francis Marion University Publications and Printing Office is the preferred source for all printing requirements.

  • Printing services from outside printers shall be solicited in accordance with the State Printing Manual using the printing specification sheet or forms specifications.
  • Departments requiring printing services from outside sources shall enter a purchase requisition in the purchasing system and forward the appropriate specifications to the Purchasing Office.
  • Required specification sheets or forms specifications may be obtained from the Purchasing Office.

Art Purchases:    To purchase art objects such as paintings, antiques, sculptures or similar objects costing above $1,000.00, the President is required to provide written determination specifying the need for such objects and the benefits to the State.

  • Such written determination will be forwarded to the South Carolina Arts Commission for approval prior to purchase.
  • Departments/activities desiring to purchase art objects will enter their purchase requisition and forward a memorandum to the Purchasing Office specifying the need for such objects and the benefits to the State.

Purchases from Other State Agencies:    Purchases from other state agencies, except those specifically exempted, must meet the same competitive tests as purchases from outside vendors and require a purchase order in advance.

Purchases of In-State Conference Facilities:    There are guidelines which must be followed when selecting conference facilities for which expenditures of State funds are involved.  The guidelines apply to all hotel or motel facilities regardless of what the gathering is called, e.g., meeting, seminar, conference, workshop, retreat, etc.  If such a meeting is being planned, contact the Director of Purchasing for details.

Catering Services:     The University's official food service contractor is the primary source of catering for official functions. 

  • Catering from outside vendors will not normally be authorized unless the food service contractor cannot provide the requested service.
  • Catering services from outside vendors, when authorized, must be solicited in accordance with the South Carolina Procurement Code.

This policy is both a contractual matter and an economic matter since Francis Marion University receives a designated percentage of catering services revenues from the University's food service contractor.

Reimbursements:     Under some circumstances, traditional methods of purchase may not be applicable or practical.  In those cases, faculty/staff members may opt to expend personal funds for necessary departmental supplies and be reimbursed for cost of those supplies, provided that:

  • Established purchasing methods are not feasible (i.e. purchase order documents or procurement cards are not an option).
  • The reimbursement request relates to departmental supplies only.  Services, travel, or other forms of personal reimbursement will not qualify.
  • The requestor insures their departmental policies or procedures are not violated.
  • The request does not exceed $500.00.
  • Reimbursements in excess of $500.00 must have prior approval by the Director of Purchasing.
  • The items do not conflict with established contracts.

Reimbursements should be the last purchasing method considered.   Requests not in compliance will require completion of a Ratification of Unauthorized Procurement form prior to processing.

Reimbursement requests should be submitted on a Purchase Requisition form, appropriately signed, with all supporting documentation attached.  Important:   The name, mailing address and social security number of the person to be reimbursed must be included.

The Purchase Requisition form will be noted "PBR-Reimbursement" and will be forwarded to the Office of Accounting for payment processing.

Procurement Cards:    The Procurement Card is a tool offering an alternative method of obtaining supplies with a total value of $2,500.00 or less.  Cards are issued to qualified applicants in the name of the cardholder and are to be used for official University purchases only.

Construction Procurements:    The University will adhere to guidelines established by the Office of State Engineer in conjunction with the South Carolina Procurement Code requirements for construction procurements.  The Facilities Management Department administers construction procurement.

Unauthorized Procurements:     An unauthorized purchase is defined as the obligation of payment for goods and services made by any person without the requisite authority to do so by an appointment or delegation under the provisions of the South Carolina Procurement Code and Francis Marion University guidelines.  When an individual without that authority commits the University to a contract, State law requires that the agency head ratify that contract.  This is accomplished by having a Ratification of Unauthorized Procurement form completed and signed by the individual.  The form should then be routed through those responsible for the budget for signature, then to the President for final approval.

Revenue Generating Contracts:     Revenue generating contracts are those where there is a sales management agreement with an outside contractor and the contractor pays Francis Marion University a commission or some other consideration.  These contracts are subject to the South Carolina Procurement Code.  Examples of management services covered are:

  • Bookstore management
  • Food Service management
  • Vending management
  • Sports marketing
  • Novelty and trademark rights
  • Cash management by banks

Photocopying and Duplicating:     Copy machines are located in various locations on campus and are provided with codes for recording departmental copies.   Please contact the Purchasing Office if you have a question regarding departmental copier usage.

  • (Supplies for Copiers)  Paper for departmental copies are requested by calling the Purchasing Office.

Gifts policy and procedure are located on the Policies & Procedures Guide's Development page: 

Fundraising Policies and Procedures


Last Published: May 15, 2014 9:43 AM
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