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Procurement at the University of Kansas


The University of Kansas Procurement policy establishes the parameters of a procurement program that is specifically designed to support and facilitate the instructional, research, and public service missions of the University by applying best methods and best business practices when the University is acquiring supplies, materials, equipment, goods, property, printing, certain leases, and services, including professional services.

The University shall communicate and collaborate with the State of Kansas Division of Purchases and other state universities to ensure that, when possible, mutual benefit can be obtained through procurement opportunities. 

Applies to: 

All units procuring goods or services for the University of Kansas.

Juniper Gardens
Policy Statement: 

Authority and Delegation
KSA 76-769, grants authority to the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) to approve policies regarding the acquisition of any supplies, materials, equipment, goods, property, printing, certain leases and services, including professional services (hereinafter noted as materials and/or services), required by a state educational institution. The policy applies to the acquistion of all materials and/or services paid for with funds on deposit with the state treasury. For exclusions to this policy please see the exclusions and special circumstances.

KBOR has directed the Chancellor, as Chief Executive Officer of the University of Kansas (KU), to develop and implement the policies required to administer and operate University procurement activities in accordance with all terms, conditions and requirements detailed in KSA 76-769 and KBOR policies. Pursuant to KSA 76-725, the Chancellor has delegated the KU Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) all procurement authority, including the administration of the policies and procedures consistent with the provisions of this policy. All information regarding contract review and signature authority for acquiring materials and/or services is established in KU’s Contract Review and Signature Authority policy. 

Any transaction with a total contract value over $10,000 or relates to IT hardware, software, and cloud services, regardless of total contract value, requires procurement review prior to contract execution or purchase. 

All procurement policies and procedures must comply with applicable state and federal laws, rules, and regulations including, but not limited to, those pertaining to affirmative action and access to facilities, educational and co-curricular programs, campus activities, and employment opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities.

Ethics and Conflict of Interest
All parties involved in the negotiation, performance, or administration of the acquisition of any materials and/or services or is involved in the procurement process for KU, is held to the hgiest degree of trust and bound to these expectations as well as the University of Kansas Code of Ethical Conduct, University’s Statement of Commitment to Integrity and Ethical Conduct, and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) Code of Ethics. All suppliers who provide materials and/or services must abide by the Supplier Code of Conduct.

The Institutional Conflict of Interest Policy defines the processes for articulating and resolving conflicts of interest at KU. When the CPO has reason to believe that a conflict of interest may exist, the CPO will direct the affected unit to comply with the procedures described in the Institutional Conflict of Interest Policy.

Procurement Requirements
All units applicable under this policy are required to obtain needed materials and/or services through KU’s Mandatory Contracts, Preferred Agreements, and catalogs (i.e., KU Procurement contracted suppliers), whenever feasible, and are strongly encouraged to utilize the methods and sources specified in the KU How to Buy Matrix. All units are required to avoid purchasing unnecessary or duplicative items. Further information pertaining to procurement methods for Mandatory Contracts, Preferred Agreements, catalogs, and the KU How to Buy Matrix can be found in the Procurement Procedures.

Competitive Solicitations
The University procures materials and/or services in a manner that supports full and open competition and affords suppliers a fair and equitable opportunity to earn the University’s business. A supplier is prohibited from participating in a competitive solicitation if they assist in developing or drafting specifications, requirements, scopes of work, or other RFPs documentation for that particular solicitation. Furthermore, no supplier will be given an unfair competitive advantage by the inclusion of unreasonable requirements or supplier’s unique/proprietary elements in a solicitation or otherwise.

Purchases must not be structured to break up transactions into smaller dollar increments or contract term increments to avoid triggering the thresholds described below.

A. Thresholds
i. $0 - $9,999 one quote required unless product is available under existing contracts and/or catalogs. Any purchase should be made under an existing contract or catalog whenever possible. If the purchase is unavailable from a contracted or catalog supplier only one quote is required.
Exception: All Software purchases, regardless of dollar value or source of funding, must be reviewed by Procurement, the Office of the General Counsel, and KU IT. This will facilitate the appropriate review for alignment with KU IT strategy, cybersecurity, accessibility, duplicative software purchases and assessment of any KU IT support needed.
ii. Informal Methods - $10,000 to $50,000 (three or more quotes)
Informal methods apply when there is not a preexisting University contract. Single off-contract purchases of goods and services costing more than $10,000 but less than $50,000 or contracts (single or multiyear) with a value not exceeding $50,000 will require three or more quotes. Procurement will review quotes provided and directly negotiate with suppliers on price as well as terms and conditions, as appropriate, prior to contract execution or purchase. Alternatively, Procurement or the requesting unit may select a formal solicitation method or request an Emergency, Single, or Sole Source Justification. 
iii. Formal Methods - over $50,000 (public solicitation)
Formal solicitations are required unless pre-approved by CPO for Single, Sole, or Emergency source procurement or otherwise covered under existing contracts. A formal solicitation is required where the total anticipated spend for products and services, either on a one-time basis or over the life of the contract, is expected to exceed $50,000. Any formal solicitation issued by the University of Kansas must be managed by Procurement regardless of funding, including purchases made on external grants and federal contracts  .
Circumstances may dictate forgoing the competitive sourcing process and purchasing from one unique supplier (single/sole source) for certain products or services, or if there is an emergency situation. The documentation must show that an equitable evaluation has been made and that rejection of alternative suppliers or solutions is based on objective and relevant criteria that is in the best interest of the University. Emergency situations are where health and safety are at risk and a delay due to obtaining quotes will further worsen the situation. Please refer to the Emergency Single/Sole Source Justification Form for approvals.
B. Notification
A competitive solicitation with an estimated cost that exceeds $50,000, regardless of type of competitive solicitation utilized, shall be advertised in a manner that provides reasonable notice to the public of the competitive bid opportunity. Reasonable notice typically includes, but is not limited to, posting the solicitation on the University of Kansas’ online bidding tool and other means as deemed appropriate by the CPO in accordance with procurement procedures.
C. Specifications or Requirements
Specifications or Requirements are the specific deliverables (goods or services) required to meet the unit’s needs. They shall be developed in a manner that is not unduly restrictive while recognizing the purpose of this policy. No one acting as an agent of the supplier submitting a bid shall commit any act of collusion related to the development of the bid and submission of their bid proposal.
D. Evaluations and Award
All timely-submitted proposals shall be evaluated per the selection criteria as outlined in the competitive solicitation documents. The CPO shall ensure that the award decision is made in accordance with the specifications, terms, and conditions specified in the competitive solicitation document as well as the terms of this policy and procurement procedures. Unless otherwise specified in the procurement procedures and in the specific competitive solicitation documents governing a transaction, the criteria for award shall be on the basis of lowest bid with the best value proposition meeting the specifications, terms, and conditions established in the competitive solicitation documents. Procurement, in consultation with the unit requesting the solicitation, determines the frequency in which prior solicitations are rebid. Participation in a solicitation is required for incumbent suppliers who want to continue to do business with KU.
E. Determinations Required
Any decision or finding required for a solicitation shall be supported by a written determination prepared or approved by the CPO in accordance with the procurement procedures.
F. Exceptions
See the Exclusions and Special Circumstances section.

Supplier Suspension/Debarment
The CPO may issue a written determination to suspend a supplier from doing business with the University pending an investigation to determine whether cause exists for debarment in accordance with approved procurement procedures.

Supplier suspension is temporary pending a determination on a debarment review. A written notice of the suspension and any determination shall be sent to the suspended supplier with a copy to the KU Chief Financial Officer. The suspension period will be effective upon issuance of the notice of suspension. A debarment may be initiated for a period of time commiserate with the seriousness of the findings during which time the supplier may not do business with the University. 

Dispute Resolution
The CPO or designee is authorized to resolve, in accordance with the Procurement Procedures, any protests regarding contractual, sourcing, administrative, and other procurement matters. The decision of the CPO or designee constitutes the final decision of the University regarding the matter. 

Procurement Records
Procurement records are subject to disclosure pursuant to the provisions of the Kansas Open Records Act (See K.S.A. 45-215 et seq.) and are retained and disposed of in accordance with applicable KU and State of Kansas records retention policies. 

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

For any competitive solicitation where 50 percent or more of the funding for a transaction is on deposit with the University of Kansas Center for Research (KUCR) or 100 percent University of Kansas Endowment (KUEA) funds, units shall at a minimumbe required to follow the purchasing policies for those organizations unless otherwise specified in the procurement procedures. All units are encouraged to follow the provisions of this policy regardless of the source of funds.     

Procurement has discretion to review and/or deny expenditures with KU suppliers to ensure any purchase or contract is appropriate and consistent with general fiscal discipline and to address financial constraints as may be necessary. This applies regardless of the amount or funding source.   

Pursuant to K.S.A. 76-769 for any competitive solicitation, “services” does not mean architectural services, engineering services, construction, construction management or ancillary technical services and should follow the State of Kansas procurement process if over $1,500,000.


Procurement Services

Approved by: 
Approved on: 
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Effective on: 
Monday, March 11, 2013
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

Sole Source: A Sole Source is one in which only one supplier can provide an item or service, and therefore it is not possible to obtain competitive bids.

Single Source: A Single Source procurement is one in which two or more suppliers can provide the commodity, technology, and /or perform the services required by the University, and one supplier is selected over the others. Reasons may include but are not limited to timeline/urgency, transition costs, exclusive patent, or limited rights.

Emergency Source: The product or service required is due to a health and safety emergency that could not have been anticipated, and critical need precludes any form of competition.

Procurement, Competitive Bids, Vendor Suspension, Vendor Disbarment, Code of Ethics, KSA 76-769, Conflicts of Interest, Dispute Resolution, Kansas Open Records Act, vendor, purchasing
Change History: 

05/17/2024: Substantively revised to align with current practices; clarified thresholds and authority.
03/08/2019: Changed title from VP for Administration and Finance to Chief Financial Officer and VP for Finance.
07/11/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
11/03/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
05/21/2014: Technical edits; update to Policy Owner and Campus for accuracy
03/06/2013: Approved by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.

Financial Categories: 

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