Policy and Procedure

Rollins College
Purchasing Policy and Procedure


Effective Date

March 2010


Purpose and Scope

At Rollins College most purchasing actions are conducted by academic and administrative department employees. The purpose of this policy is to convey the basic purchasing principles which include obligations for ethical behavior, compliance with government regulations, proper transaction documentation, and fiscal responsibility.

Methods of Purchasing

There are several methods that may be used to request items or services. They include direct check requests, purchasing card (P-Card), and purchase requisitions and orders.

Direct Pay/Check Request: Used to request payment for purchases not covered by a purchase order or P-Card. Forward the Direct Pay/Check Request form and supporting original documentation (invoice, receipts or other evidence of charge) to Accounts Payable for processing.

Purchasing Card: The Rollins College P-Card is intended to provide an efficient, cost-effective method of purchasing and paying for small dollar transactions within established usage limits. The program is designed to replace other purchasing options such as small-dollar purchase orders and direct payment vouchers, and reduce the need for expense reimbursement requests, departmental cash advances and petty cash reimbursements. Using the card will provide quicker turn-around time on your orders, and  greater flexibility in ordering goods and will also reduce paperwork processing. Specific guidelines on the usage of the Rollins College Procurement Card Program can be found in the Cardholder Handbook on the Rollins College Finance web page.

Purchase Requisitions and Orders: A purchase requisition may be submitted to Purchasing requesting product/service for which cost is in excess of the department's maximum P-Card transaction limit. Purchasing will determine if bidding is required and award a purchase order accordingly.

*Within limits, it is at the discretion of the department which method to use when purchasing items or services. The Purchasing Department personnel will work with departments to determine an appropriate method to purchase items or services.

Purchasing Procedure

The Purchasing Department is typically responsible for soliciting written quotes and proposals based on requests provided by individual departments. In the event that the departments have secured, or secure, the necessary quotes themselves, this supporting documentation should be attached to the Purchasing Requisition form and forwarded to the Purchasing Department for review. The Purchasing Department may secure additional quotes if deemed to be in the best interest of the College.

In selecting the vendor, the department's product quality and delivery time requirements will be considered, in conjunction with the total price.

  • In general, purchases under $1,000 may be processed using the Rollins College P-Card as long as they have proper authorization from their budget manager and all decisions and actions are based upon proper business considerations. See "Purchasing Card" on Rollins College Finance Web page.
  • Purchases from $1,000 - $25,000 may be processed by the department or by submitting a purchase requisition to the Purchasing Department. For purchases made directly from a vendor (not on a purchase requisition) who agree to bill the College for payment, you must ensure that you personally receive the invoice and submit it to Accounts Payable with a Direct Pay/Check Request.
  • A purchase requisition is required for the purchase of commodities over $25,000. Documented quotations from two or more vendors by telephone, fax, e-mail, (or justification why not obtained) by the requesting department or by the Purchasing Department are required.
  • If the department has an ongoing need to pay the same vendor the same amount monthly, complete a purchase requisition or Direct Pay/Check Request form and mark the box to indicate frequency of payments.
Requisitions should be prepared far enough in advance to permit Purchasing to obtain competitive prices and to allow sufficient time for deliveries to be made. The duration of time required for delivery of the item(s) after receipt of the requisition and correct and complete specifications by the Purchasing Department is dependent on availability of materials and whether the quotation or formal bid process must be used.

Allow three to five working days on purchases not requiring quotations or sealed bids. The quotation and formal bid process may take a minimum of four weeks.

NOTE: Those persons authorized to approve requisitions are certifying that adequate funds are budgeted and available.

A request for proposal (RFP) may be prepared by the Purchasing Department with the assistance of the requesting department. RFP's will then be distributed to an appropriate selection of suitable vendors. Departmental end users and the Purchasing Department will jointly analyze written quotations from vendors and prepare final recommendations.

Departments are encouraged to contact the Purchasing Department well in advance for major projects or technically complex needs to plan for the acquisition of equipment and supplies.

Sole Source Items

In instances where required items are highly specialized or of a technical nature, and therefore not available from multiple sources, the requesting department will mark "Sole Source" in the special instructions of the "Type of Order" section.

Emergency Purchases

The Purchasing Department will authorize emergency purchases during circumstances that are beyond the control of the College involving health, public safety, imminent loss or injury, or where an immediate action would reduce more extensive repairs later.

Depending on the urgency or complexity of the issue, the Purchasing Department will either assign a Purchase Order number or place the order directly with the vendor using their Rollins College P-Card. Other cardholders across campus have the authority to use their College-issued purchasing card to purchase items required in an emergency as described above.

Purchases with Special Requirements

  • Computers, Computer Equipment, and Audio-Visual Equipment - The Office of Information Technology must approve all purchases for computers, servers, workstations, printers, peripherals, and software that will be supported by IT.
  • Furniture - The Purchasing Department is required to obtain quotes for all furniture purchases. Only the Purchasing Department can make exceptions to this directive.
The following commodities and professional services require the review and approval from specific College departments other than the Purchasing Department:

Architectural and Engineering Services- Contact Facilities Management
Audit Services- Contact Finance Department
Construction Contracts- Contact Facilities Management
Employment Services- Contact Human Resources Department
Insurance- Contact Assistant Vice President of Human Resources and Risk Management
Legal Services- Contact Assistant Vice President of Human Resources and Risk Management
Travel Services- Contact Finance Department

Purchases of Goods and Services for Personal Use

The Purchasing Department does not assist or become involved in any transaction for purchases of a personal nature. The Purchasing Department may also question transactions that seem to be of a personal nature or an inappropriate use of College funds. 

Receipts of Goods and Forwarding of Invoice

  • It is the responsibility of departmental end users to immediately inspect all incoming shipments for shortage and defects. The responsible vendor should be alerted of any problems or discrepancies. Persisting or unresolved situations should be brought to the attention of the Purchasing Department.
  • It is the responsibility of individual departments to ensure that packing slips, invoices, and freight bills are checked for accuracy and then forwarded to Accounts Payable.

Equipment on Loan from Vendors

  • Departments accepting equipment on loan or temporary trial should ensure vendors understand the agreement does not constitute a commitment to purchase by the College, and the College will not be liable for any theft, loss, or damage to the equipment whatsoever. The College's sole responsibilities will be limited to exercising reasonable care of, and providing reasonable security for, the equipment. The Purchasing Department will provide a Product Evaluation Agreement upon request.

Conflict of Interest and Gratuities

  • Faculty and staff members who would benefit financially from a given potential supplier selling goods and services to the College may not participate in the vendor selection process.
  • College employees may not personally receive any kind of gratuity from a vendor or individual in connection with any decision affecting a College purchase.
  • No employee should be or appear to be subject to influences, interests, or relationships which conflict with the best interest of the College.

An employee or any member of an employee's immediate family who holds a financial interest in a disclosed blind trust shall not be deemed to have a conflict of interest in regard to matters pertaining to that financial interest.

Adherence to Applicable Laws

The College and its employees are expected to obey and adhere to laws and regulations applicable to the College's activities.

This document is intended to provide the basic policy and procedure as well as a general understanding of good purchasing practices so our employees can buy on behalf of the College with confidence and expertise.