The Purchasing Guide helps university faculty and staff determine the best method to procure goods or services. Purchase guidelines for unique categories such as employee household relocations, food, and construction services are also included.
How Do I Purchase at the University?
There are 4 ways to purchase goods and services at the university:
- Purchase Orders can be created in eSHOP or SAP. Use the interactive Purchasing Decision Tree to help you decide which method to use to create a Purchase Order.
- Prime suppliers should receive first consideration for purchase.
|Dollar Amount||Who Can Make the Purchase|
|$0 - $4,999||
|$5,000 - $24,999||
|$25,000 - $149,999||
|$150,000 and greater||A PO in this dollar range is the result of a formal bidding process|
Purchase Order Restrictions
The following items should not be purchased with university funds:
- Alcoholic beverages or controlled substances
- Flowers, holiday decorations, or personal objects (such as facial tissue, greeting cards, invitations, paper cups or plates, pictures, radios, coffee pots, heaters, refrigerators, microwave ovens, art objects, etc.)
- Food items, except for laboratory research or teaching projects
- Gifts, donations, or contributions to individuals or organizations
A formal bid is required for all purchases $150,000 or greater per Board of Regents Policy (Section RP-6.2.6 (a)). Formal bidding, subject to Board of Regents Policy (Section RP-6.2.6 (e)) shall not be required for the following types of purchases which include, but are not limited to:
- Unique or non-competitive articles or services
- public utility services
- telephone services
- specially designed business, research or scientific equipment and related software
- Contracts for professional services
- Purchases necessary in emergency situations
- Maintenance or servicing of equipment with the manufacturer or manufacturer's authorized service agent
- Purchases from:
- any purchasing cooperative
- U.S. government or any agency thereof
- State of Nebraska or any political subdivision
- any governmental or public entity created by an inter-local agreement
- any private or public postsecondary educational institution
Please allow additional approval time for formal bids over $400,000. Purchases over $400,000 will require the Board of Regents approval.
Contact the Buyer assigned to the commodity you are considering for purchase. You can determine the Buyer by referencing Commodity Listings.
Purchases requiring the use of a contract is covered under Contracts.
Unique Purchase Guidelines
Contact the Director of Procurement Services for emergency P-card purchases over $5,000.
Outside regular university working hours the department should:
- Fully document the purchase
- Present documentation to Procurement Services as soon as possible
- The university will only reimburse employees for moving expenses if approved by an appropriate administrative officer.
- Special authorization is required to reimburse new professional staff and current employees.
- For approved moves, this constitutes the general policy for the reimbursement of moving expenses for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Reimbursable expenses include:
- The cost of transportation of the employee and members of his or her household from old to new residence.
- The cost of transporting household goods and personal effects. However, the university will only pay or reimburse expenses for the shipment of an automobile, boat, mobile home, camper, and/or trailer with the pre-approval of the hiring department.
- The cost of meals and lodging en route.
- Temporary living expenses for up to 30 days at a new location.
- Expenses of traveling (including meals and lodging) from the former residence to the new place of employment for the principal purpose of searching for a new residence.
- Reimbursement for the cost of relocating personal vehicles from one's former home to the new residence is limited to one trip, one way, for one vehicle only. Travel Services Current Mileage Rate.
- Effective January 1, 1994, the distance between the employee's old residence and the new job site must increase at least 50 miles over the distance between the old residence and old job site.
- Payment will be made to the moving company by state warrant.
- If the employee elects for a "do it yourself" move, the employee may submit an Employee Expense Voucher with receipts for reimbursement only if the expenses are within the department's guidelines.
- The following expenses are reimbursable:
- air, bus or train tickets or mileage for one automobile
- rental of trucks, trailers and moving carts
- packing crates
- loading and unloading help
- parking and toll fees
- The university will reimburse the employee on the Employee Expense Voucher. However, payments for moving made to an employee will be reported on the employee's W-2.
- The IRS also requires the university to withhold income tax and FICA taxes on reimbursements of meals for the employee and family, pre-move house hunting trips, and temporary living expenses.
- The amount of any reimbursement will be reported to the payroll office and an adjustment will be made against the employee's wages in the next payroll cycle for the taxable portions of any reimbursements. Due to the tax requirement, reimbursements will not be processed until the employee is on the university payroll.
- The following expenses are reimbursable:
Household Moving Services Prime Suppliers
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has established agreements with the following moving service companies which provide discounts to the university. All three companies have provided required insurance documentation.
- Chieftain Van Lines
- Graebel Van Lines
- Armstrong Relocation
Instructions for Obtaining Household Moving Estimates
- Begin the process as soon as possible.
- Complete the Relocation Order Form:
- Provide origination location and contact information of the person moving.
- Provide the department name, contact person, address, email, and phone number.
- This form serves as a not-to-exceed estimate. Estimate should be returned to the person moving and to the department for approval.
- Email the completed Relocation Order Form to the company. The company will contact the person moving, usually within 48 hours.
- Once approved, the department will create a PO in eSHOP which will automatically be sent to the moving company to formalize the move.
- Once the move is complete, process the invoice for payment against the PO. If storage or multiple deliveries were necessary, multiple invoices may need to be submitted.
- University departments are to use these contracts when the estimated costs are less than $25,000.
- University P-card cannot be used to pay for household moving services.
- Visit the Travel Services Employee Moving Expense page for additional information regarding qualifying expenses for relocations.
For assistance with household relocation, contact these Sourcing Specialists.
Interstate Household Moves Supplier Contracts (one state to another)
- UNL Supplier ID # 216816
- Do NOT select “Grabel Companies” when creating a PO
- Email the Relocation Order Form to firstname.lastname@example.org
Graebel Representative: Jonathan Cutlip
Intrastate Household Moves Supplier Contracts (within Nebraska)
Firearms & Ammunitions
The purchase of weapons and ammunition are guided by the University Police Weapons Policy. Procurement of firearms and ammunition must be processed with a purchase order issued by Procurement Services with prior approval of the UNL Police Department.
For assistance with firearms & ammunitions, contact these Sourcing Specialists.
Contracts are established for use by University Dining Service for the following products: groceries, produce, dairy, and breads. If needed other categories of food where volume would indicate usage adequate to establish a prime vendor contract can be pursued. Departments can purchase food and related items by contacting the appropriate Sourcing Specialist. These uses are as follows:
- Laboratory research and teaching projects
- Documentation of research projects to be provided with purchase order
- This includes all food purchased for resale to students or the general public
- General ledger codes 571210 & 571211 must be used when processing these purchases
- Non-Travel Related Meals (This includes receptions when approved as official functions and conferences.)
- Visiting faculty, guest speakers, or consultants – meals and receptions
- Faculty and staff retreats or training sessions with external presenter(s)
- Recruiting new faculty and staff members – meals and receptions
- Advisory board meetings
- Student orientation or other student recognition events
- Student organizations – meals and receptions
- Meals and receptions with students in attendance
- Site or accreditation visits
- 4-H camps
- Grocery store purchases
- Purchases may be made from university approved vendors using a P-card or store charge card where available
- To begin this process, please contact the P-card office
- Non-Valid University Food Purchases – The following may NOT be purchased by staff and faculty using university funds:
- Catering from a grocery store or supermarket
- Food at a restaurant, coffee house, gas station, donut or bagel shop
- Non-Pepsi products
- Food purchases prohibited for the following university events:
- Employee recognitions
- Retirement receptions
- Department receptions and meetings with no external speaker
- Faculty or staff meeting with no external speaker
- Research grant receptions
For assistance with food purchases, contact these Sourcing Specialists.
Facilities Planning & Construction handles construction-related matters such as:
- New construction
For assistance with construction and remodeling projects, contact these Sourcing Specialists.
The Purchase of Laboratory Animals policy covers the procedures for ordering laboratory animals for teaching or research projects at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
For assistance with laboratory animal purchases, contact these Sourcing Specialists.
The purchase of goods and services from a sole source requires additional procedures and documentation. Please refer to the Sole Source Policy for further details.