- Per state statute and Minnesota State policy, all purchases require an approved
encumbrance, or purchase order, in the financial system prior to payment. An approved
encumbrance is obtained primarily through the initiation and approval of a Requisition
Form. If consistent with law, policy and financial requirements, the requisition may result
in issuance of a purchase order, which is a binding legal agreement between the State and
the vendor. Unless delegation of authority is provided, all requisitions must be submitted
by the budget authority.
- The College has several alternative purchasing mechanisms: (a) a purchasing credit or
credit card can be obtained with approval from the budget authority and the Vice President
of Finance and Operations. Refer to Saint Paul College Policy 07.03.01.0 and Procedure
07.03.04.1; (b) a blanket purchase order can be obtained with approval from the budget
authority and the business office; and (c) a Field Purchase Order (FPO) can be obtained
with approval from the budget authority and the business office. Use of the “FPO” is
limited to specific individuals, who are delegated to purchase certain specific items up to
$1,500 per purchase. State law and policy do not allow purchase of item over $1,500 by
staff outside the Business Office, largely to ensure compliance. Direct purchasing (“FPO”
purchases) up to the $1,500 level are by authorized staff only, and limited to supplies and
repairs. The College reserves the right to remove “FPO” purchasing authority for non-
compliance by any staff member having such temporary purchasing rights.
- All equipment items and all items costing over $1,500 must be purchased through the
use of a Requisition Form. The requisition must be completed in electronic form.
- Completion of a requisition form, including all necessary approvals does not authorize
a purchase. That is done only by appropriate staff in the Business Office, through
issuance of a State of Minnesota purchase order after necessary encumbrance and
other controls are completed.
- Faculty-or staff requisitioner initiates and fully completes electronic purchase requisition
with specifications and emails to Dean or budget authority for approval.
- Dean or budget authority reviews and approves purchase requisition.
- If proposed instructional purchase requisitions are over $25,000, Dean emails the Vice
President of Academic Affairs for her/his approval.
- Purchase requisition with electronic email approvals from all required managers emailed
- Business Office completes a required Request for Bid (RFB) process when necessary and
awards all purchases in compliance with Minnesota State Board policy. This may or may
not result in an award to the vendor listed on the original requisition.
Note: Purchase requisitions with incomplete/inaccurate information, insufficient budgets,
or that lack the necessary quotes, bids or proposals as mandated by Minnesota State’s
threshold policies (See http://www.finance.Minnesota State.edu/contracts-
purchasing/purchasing/index.html) will be returned to the budget authority for correction.
Before submitting purchase requisitions to the Purchasing Technician, the Budget
Authority should verify that there are sufficient funds in the cost center’s budget.
Arrangements should be made with the Budget Director if there is insufficient budget
available before submitting to the Business Office.
- If a purchase requisition is computer-related, it must be reviewed by technology staff and
signed-off by the Vice President of the respective area, and Chief Information Officer, or
his/her designee. The purchase requisition should provide the employee’s name, room
number, and cost center.
- The IT Department will review for compatibility, get quotes and send to the Business
Office to place the order.
- This evaluation or review is necessary because there may be infrastructure and support
requirements existing outside the department proposing the purchase. There also may be
Minnesota State system technology policies/procedures, and other factors, concerning
which the initiating department may not be knowledgeable. If there are issues resulting
from the technology review, as described above, they will be brought to the attention of
the Vice President of Academic Affairs for further review at the Executive Management
- The equipment budget is allocated to the president. Once the approval has taken place, a
budget transfer is completed into the dean equipment accounts. The dean is authorized to
electronically complete the requisition and forward it to the Business Office for processing
of a Purchase Order consistent with Minnesota State purchasing guidelines. If the
purchase includes computer or telecommunication equipment, it must be reviewed by the
Vice President of the respective area and the Chief Information Officer, or his/her
designee before the Business Office is authorized to process the purchase order and
obligate the state.
Lead Time Required for Purchasing
- Sufficient time must be provided to process the purchasing order for all parties involved.
The Purchasing Technician requires a minimum of five (5) business days to process a
purchase requisition; at varying times of the year, more time may be needed. New
vendors require additional processing time. It is now mandatory that new State vendors
complete a W-9 and provide additional contact information.
- The Business Office will maintain all records related to all College purchases, including
the electronic requisitions described above. The Business Office, consistent with policy,
will also retain all bid records and other back-up materials related to College purchasing
- The Business Office will promptly return, to the initiating party, any improperly
completed or incomplete requisition, with copies to any approving authority.
- Special rules apply to proposals for leasing equipment/lease purchase proposals,
etc. Generally, these are expensive to administer, require significant State
involvement, and there are additional State rules pertaining to them. The College
will not pursue leasing arrangements without substantial documentation, including
cost benefit analysis, and buy versus lease analysis conclusively supporting leasing as
the preferred option.
Professional Technical Service Contracting
- Refer to Saint Paul College Policy 5.14.01 – Professional Technical Service Contracting.
No contracting of any sort, excepting customized training, is authorized by any
staff member outside the Business Office. Contract proposals are initiated by
completion of the appropriate form, which is available on the intranet site. Request for
proposals and request for bids for professional and technical contracts will be completed
by the business office. Template copies for these contracts should be taken from the
Minnesota State website each time the Requisitioner initiates a new contract. The contract
may be signed by properly delegated administrators on behalf of the college. In addition, a
Data Disclosure form must accompany all Professional Technical Service Contracts. The
contract should be forwarded to the Business Office with supporting quotes. Only
business office staff may sign the encumbrance and form/execution verifications on the
contracts. The Business Office will award all contracts in accordance with State law and
Minnesota State policy. Staff proposing contracts involving the College should discuss
their proposal in advance with appropriate Business Office staff; especially those
requisitions in excess of $50,000.00 which requires a Request for Proposal (RPF) or
adequate documentation to display “sole source” eligibility.
Technology Fee Equipment Purchases
- There are special rules which apply to purchases made using Student Technology Fees.
Students have a role in approving purchases financed from this funding source. See
separate policy concerning distribution of technology fee equipment allocations.
In general, all staff members are advised to talk to the College Buyer in the Business Office well
in advance of any proposed purchase, especially in unusual purchases or large purchases, or any
purchases not described above.