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Guideline: Purchasing

General Guidelines

  • No goods or services may be ordered in the name of the college without a written Purchase Order issued from the Business Office.
  • Please complete the Internal Requisition form for all purchasing (supplies, service/contracts, and equipment).
  • You can find the Internal Requisition form on the Intranet under the Business Office- Purchasing section.
  • Funds must be encumbered, and a purchase order number applied, and if a service contract, all signatures received, prior to making an obligation.
  • If an expenditure is authorized or incurred prior to encumbering funds, it is illegal and ineligible for payment until a 16A form is completed by the requestor explaining why that happened.
  • To ensure that a purchase order is processed in a timely manner, please submit internal requisitions 4 to 5 working days prior to the event or ordering the supplies/materials.
  • College-issued purchasing cards are not being discontinued. Purchases on these cards must continue to follow the same purchasing guidelines.

M.S. 16A This form needs to be filled out any time you purchase, order product, or have services rendered before you encumber above $250.00-dollar amount.

  • $0-$250: the form doesn’t have to be completed, but still tracked
  • $250.01-$1999.9: the form is completed and signed by the respective Vice President
  • $2000.00 and over: the form is completed and signed by the President

SUPPLIES AND MATERIALS (Services are covered under the Contracts section)

  • If purchase is $5000.00 or less (including shipping & tax if applicable), no quotes are required.
  • If the purchase is $5,000.01 to $24,999 (including shipping & tax if applicable), two or more written quotes are required.
    • Written quotes may be obtained by written form, facsimile (FAX), email or a copy of dated published catalog price are acceptable. Written quotes must have a specified date and time of submission and the original quote is to be submitted with the requisition.
  • If the purchase is $25,000 to $100,000, sealed bids must be requested. Sealed bids must be made by public notice through publishing a two week notice in the State Register.
  • If the purchased service is $50,000 to $100,000 sealed bids must be requested.
  • If the purchase is over $100,000, written approval from the vice chancellor-chief financial officer of the Minnesota State System Office is required.
  • It is recommended that at least one bid be obtained from a targeted group business.

Blanket Purchase Orders (informally called open purchase orders):

  • Maximum Amount per Item: $2500

Limit per Requisition: $5000 – Once limit is reached, a new requisition & quote must be submitted for approval. Blanket purchase orders are allowed; however, this requisition limit applies to any single purchase that is over $5000.

  • Requisitions for blanket purchase orders may be set up on a fiscal year basis, ending on June 30th.
  • Prior to submitting a requisition, programs/departments are required to obtain a quote from the vendor with a list of items that they will purchase or may have a need for and attach the original quote to the requisition. Two quotes are needed for a single purchase over the $5000.00.
  • Equipment may not be purchased with a blanket purchase order if the item is $2,000 or more.
  • Faculty/staff are to cancel any unused portions of their blanket purchase orders once there is no longer a need.


  • S. 16A.41, Subd. 1, prohibits the state from paying in advance.
    • The state can only make prepayments for software maintenance contracts for state-owned or leased computer equipment, sole source maintenance agreements, exhibit space, subscription fees for newspapers and magazines, and the Library of Congress.
  • Examples of allowable prepayments:
  • Registration fees when advance payment is required or when an advance payment discount is offered.
  • Airline tickets-pay when the reservation is made.
  • Pay up to 30 days in advance for subscriptions and memberships.
  • Wireless phone services/pager services/answering services.
  • Advertising-if prepayment terms documented.
  • Where referenced in a Contract’s payment terms (a very unique circumstance).
  • Please contact the Business Office to review special circumstances.


  • Contracts must be prepared for any service that is $500.00 or more.
  • Contracts must be prepared for all software purchases regardless of amount.
  • Contracts must be completed in Marketplace.
    • Any modifications to a contract must be approved by the Attorney General’s Office, Submit modifications to the business manager for approval.
  • An Internal Requisition form must be submitted along with the completed contract.
  • Funds must be encumbered prior to making an obligation and the contract must be signed by the vendor and the college authorized agents before the vendor starts work.
  • Contracts for Vendors using their Social Security number as their tax ID need to be under $2000.
  • If a contract is Over $2000, it must be submitted to the Human Resources Department for review, unless the vendor is a contractor as defined by IRS guidelines


  • Forms must be completed IN ADVANCE by all employees and students who are traveling when funded by the college operating fund, student activity fees or grant funds.
  • The form must be completed prior to the trip and must be approved by your supervisor, the Vice President and/or President depending on expense.
  • The “Special Expenses” part of the form is filled out when State employees are provided meals or when a conference registration is greater than $500.00.




05/2020           Adopted

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