Procurement Services’ policies follow the Board of Regents bylaws and policies, as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln bylaws and policies and the State of Nebraska statutes and laws.

General Policies

Our campus, along with the Board of Regents and Central Administration, has established overarching purchasing bylaws and policies that build upon each other to provide guidance to university staff as well as a source of reference for interacting with suppliers while procuring goods or services.

link iconUniversity of Nebraska Central Administration Board of Regents Purchasing Policies

link iconUniversity of Nebraska Central Administration Bylaws & Policies

link iconUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln Policies

Sustainable Purchasing

University of Nebraska Procurement Services pursues the promotion, development and procurement of environmentally preferred goods and services whenever possible. Procurement Services will work with departments, employees, contractors and suppliers alike to seek out and provide resources and information that will enable our customers to make informed purchasing decisions, while promoting environmental stewardship.

Procurement Services is committed to buying more environmentally preferable goods and services as long as they meet our performance needs and they are available within a reasonable period of time at a reasonable cost. By including environmental considerations in our procurement decisions, along with our traditional concerns with price, performance and availability, we will remain fiscally responsible while promoting products and services that have a reduced effect on human health and the environment.

Our “Green Purchasing” strategy is to develop policies consistent with the following:

  1. Minimize the consumption of natural resources by reviewing current and proposed future usage and evaluating the pros and cons of alternatives.
  2. Seek alternatives to products and processes that are detrimental to the environment by using more “environmentally friendly” products and processes.
  3. Minimize waste, including any packaging, waste produced by the product (or service) in question, and waste generated by the eventual disposal of the product.
  4. Maximize the reuse and recycling of materials.
  5. Stimulate demand for “environmentally friendly” products by letting manufacturers and suppliers know the environmental performance we are looking for in products.

Code of Ethics

This code applies to all in the university community who purchase goods and services and anyone who influences those purchases.

  • Give first consideration to the objectives and policies of the university. Comply with the Board of Regents Bylaws 1.1 and Regents Policies 1.1.2.
  • Purchase without prejudice, seeking to obtain maximum value for each dollar expended on behalf of the university.
  • Strive to continually increase competition in supplier selection and endeavor to prevent any collusive activities among suppliers. Avoid soliciting or accepting money, loans, credits and acceptance of gifts, entertainment, favors, or services from present or potential suppliers that may influence, or appear to influence, supply management decisions.
  • Refrain from any private business or professional activity that would create a conflict between personal interests and the interests of the university.
  • Treat information of a confidential or proprietary nature to the university and/or suppliers with due care and proper consideration of ethical and legal ramifications and governmental regulations.
  • Promote positive supplier relationships through courtesy and impartiality in all phases of the procurement cycle.
  • Refrain from reciprocal agreements which restrain competition.
  • Do not use university purchasing systems for personal purchases, or use university buying power for personal benefit.

Public Records Request

  1. A public records request must be in writing. An email is a writing. Public records requests may only be granted or denied by the Director of Procurement Services (or designee), the Associate Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, or the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance.
  2. Upon receipt of a request for access to, or copies of, a public record, Procurement Services shall provide, within four (4) business days of receiving the request, either (a) access to or copies of the public record, or (b) if there is a legal basis for denial of access or copies, a written denial of the request together with the information required by Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-712.02. If the entire request cannot with reasonable good faith efforts be fulfilled within four (4) business days after the actual receipt of the request due to the significant difficulty or extensiveness of the request, a written explanation must be sent to the requestor within the required four (4) business days. The explanation must include the earliest practical estimated date for fulfilling the request, an estimate of expected cost of any copies, and the opportunity to modify or prioritize the items within the request. This written response may be delivered via email. If copies of public records are estimated to cost more than fifty dollars ($50), the requestor may be required to pay in advance or furnish a deposit before the request is fulfilled.
  3. The requestor shall be charged twenty-five cents ($0.25) per page with duplexed copies counting as two (2) pages. The same charge rate applies to scanned copies sent electronically. In lieu of the per page charge, an hourly rate for the staff member compiling the copies may be charged to the requestor as well as any other incidental expenses incurred in fulfilling the request. The total charge will be calculated and collected from the requestor before compiling the copies if the estimated cost is more than fifty dollars ($50).
  4. Bids submitted to the university are presumed to be public records. If bids contain trade secrets, academic or scientific research work in progress and unpublished, or other proprietary or commercial information which, if released, would give advantage to business competitors and serve no purpose, it is the responsibility of the bidder to designate such content as confidential. When bids are opened to determine a successful bidder, all bids will be available for public inspection. Any reasonable segregable portion of the bid that is not designated as confidential shall be provided for public inspection after deletion of the portion or portions of the bid which may be withheld. Price terms appearing in bids or proposals, invoices, purchase orders or other documents calling for the expenditure of public funds may not be designated as confidential or withheld from public inspection.
    A bidder shall be solely responsible for providing the defense to any challenge of a decision to withhold information contained in a proposal, based upon bidder’s identification of the information as confidential.
  5. The Associate Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance shall be notified of any records request received by Procurement Services immediately upon their receipt. Prior to denying any part of a request, or in the case of a disagreement with a bidder over the characterization of information marked by the bidder as confidential, or any other concern with respect to compliance with public records laws, the Associate Vice Chancellor, in consultation with the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, may consult with the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel.

Supplier Policies

Bid/RFP Protest Policy

Bid/RFP protests must be received in the office of the Director of Procurement no later than seven (7) calendar days after the contract award notification is received.

mail icon Associate Chief Procurement Officer
University of Nebraska
1700 Y Street
Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0645

Protests must be written and include, at a minimum, the following:

  1. the name and address of the protestor
  2. solicitation number
  3. a statement of the reasons for the protest
  4. any available exhibits, evidence, or documents supporting the protest
  5. the remedy requested

Protests that do not strictly address the solicitation process, specifications, evaluation or award will not be considered. Pursuant to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents Policy, the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance reviews all bid protests. The decision of the Vice Chancellor will be communicated in writing to the protestor and is final.

University Faculty & Staff Policies

Federal Uniform Guidance

Effective July 1st, 2018

Uniform Guidance (UG) is a set of federal regulations that consolidates federal guidelines affecting research administration. UG significantly reforms federal grant making to focus resources on improving performance and outcomes. It is intended to reduce administrative burdens for grant applicants and recipients and reduce the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse.

Uniform Guidance applies to all purchases and includes EVERYONE on EVERY CAMPUS, not just federal grant purchases.

Key Impact Areas

  • Micro-purchase: Purchases where aggregate dollar amount does not exceed $10,000. When practical, distribute micro-purchases equitably among qualified suppliers. No competitive quotes are required if management determines that pricing is reasonable.
  • Small purchase: Includes purchases at $10,000 up to the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, which is currently $150,000. Informal purchasing procedures are acceptable, but pricing or rate quotes must be obtained from an adequate number of sources.
  • Competitive proposals/RFPs: No change. Still used for purchases over $150,000.
  • Contractors who assist in drafting specifications for requests for proposals (RFP) must be excluded from competing for those opportunities.

200.320(f) – Updated Non-Competitive Purchase Requirements

Procurement by noncompetitive proposals. Solicitation of a proposal from ONE source is considered legitimate when only one or more of the following circumstances apply:

  • The item is available only from a single source;
  • The public exigency or emergency for the requirement will not permit a delay resulting from competitive solicitation;
  • The Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity expressly authorizes noncompetitive proposals in response to a written request from the non-Federal entity; or
  • After solicitation of a number of sources, competition is determined inadequate.

Procurement Tips for Uniform Guidance

Remember to USE eSHOP
The eSHOP e-Procurement system helps Procurement Services to review and manage purchase orders against updated UG regulations.
More to come
Planning more information sharing, newsletters, eSHOP training and seminars to help you and your team.

Please contact your Procurement Office with any questions or if you need assistance.

Authority to Purchase

This policy defines who has the authority to:

  • Buy on behalf of the university departments, faculty and staff
  • Approve purchase orders
  • Sign contracts
Quick Overview of Contract Signature Authority
Dollar AmountSigned by
Up to $5,000 and 1 year or less Department Head or Chair
$5,000 + Reviewed by Procurement Services

Supporting Policies

State Statutes Regarding Purchases

The University of Nebraska is a governmental corporation with the registered name being “The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska” and, as such, its corporate powers, including its contracting powers and the ability to “enact laws for the government of the university”, are defined in the Nebraska Revised Statutes.

UNL Bylaws Regarding Contract Approval and Signature

The Bylaws also set the requirements regarding who has the authority to approve and sign contracts on behalf of the University. (Chapter 6.3)

Board of Regents Policy Regarding Contract Approval and Signature Authority

link iconThe University of Nebraska–Lincoln Statement of Delegated Signature Authority

RFP Evaluation Committee Guidelines

Evaluation Committees are formed to assist in the Request for Proposal (RFP) process when bidding services and goods. Committee members must comply with standard rules and procedures and commit to tasks as described in the RFP Evaluation Committee Guidelines.

link iconRFP Evaluation Committee Guidelines

Purchases Involving University Personnel

The responsibility for compliance with board policy and the Political Accountability and Disclosure Act rests with both the faculty or staff member and the campus department.

Prior to any requested purchase, faculty and staff must disclose, in writing, to the department and their direct supervisor that a university employee has an interest in the selling entity or in the transaction. The campus department is then required to forward information on the proposed purchase to the Director of Procurement Services for review and approval by the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance. This includes employing or purchasing from a family member. The Family Member Decision Tree document lists steps for procedures and approval.

  1. It is the responsibility of Procurement Services to promote and monitor compliance with this policy.
    • Procurement Services will place this policy in a prominent position on its web page; emphasizing it in all purchasing, eSHOP, and SAP training to the campus; and publish in all appropriate publications, both print and electronic.
    • Procurement Services will review all requests for purchases from an employee to ensure all supporting information is included and confirm whether other sources of supply have been considered and dismissed for appropriate cause.
    • The Director of Procurement Services may reject a request and return it to the department for more justification or require the department or Procurement Services to solicit bids.
    • Only the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance is authorized to approve a purchase from an employee or an employee-owned entity.
  2. The university will implement internal procedures to monitor purchases involving university employees.
  3. The university will review potential violations of this policy on a case by case basis and, in the event a violation is confirmed, may take any action the university deems appropriate including, but not limited to, voiding the transaction.

Supporting Policies

Please review the following policies regarding university employees and the purchase of goods and services. If you have any questions, contact Procurement Services at 402-472-2126.

Purchases of goods or services from a university faculty or staff member are not allowed without prior approval from the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Business & Finance, RP Purchases from university personnel must comply with the conflict of interest provisions of the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act, Neb. Rev. Stat., §§ 49-1493 through 49-14,104.

Non-Competitive Purchase Policy

Procedures for purchase of goods and services from a non-competitive:

  • Each request for a non-competitive purchase shall be accompanied by a signed written justification from the requesting unit
  • Each non-competitive purchase must have prior written approval by the principal business officer.
  • non-competitive purchases under $10,000 must have prior written approval by the department head.
  • For non-competitive purchases, $10,000 and above, additional approval is detailed in the following table.
Dollar AmountReviewedSignature Approval
$5,000 - $9,999 Procurement Services Department Head
$10,000 - $149,999 Procurement Services Director of Procurement Services
$150,000+ Director of Procurement Services Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance/Vice President for Business and Finance

Supporting Policies

link iconThe University of Nebraska Board of Regents non-competitive Policy (RP

Purchase Order Restrictions

The following items should not be purchased on a purchase order:

  • Alcoholic beverages or controlled substances
  • Flowers, holiday decorations, or personal objects (such as tissues, greeting cards, invitations, paper cups or plates, pictures, radios, coffee pots, heaters, refrigerators, microwave ovens, art objects, etc.)

Items with Special Circumstances for Purchase

The following items have special processing needs. Please contact the appropriate Sourcing Specialist for details for processing:

  • Firearms or ammunition
  • Hazardous material or substances:
    • In a single container quantity in excess of 50 pounds (solids)
    • In a single container quantity in excess of 5 gallons (liquids)
    • Manufactured and sold primarily for commercial “bulk use” (manufactured and sold primarily for “household” or “general consumer” use and purchased at a general consumer retail outlet is permitted)
    • Purchase of or removal of radioactive materials and/or radiation producing devices
  • Lab animals
  • Construction and renovation items – restriction applies if items are being purchased for alterations/modifications to university buildings, building equipment, or building systems, unless this type of work is part of your regular job description
  • Removal or disposal of hazardous waste materials or substances
  • Purchases that require a license or permit to transport or possess (e.g. absolute alcohol, controlled substances, items regulated under the Toxic Substance Control Act)
  • Vehicles and/or equipment requiring issuance/transfer of a “title” or “certificate of origin”

Purchase of Laboratory Animals

The policy and procedures for ordering laboratory animals for teaching or research projects at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is as follows:

  • Laboratory animals, for the purpose of this policy, are defined as any USDA species which includes dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, wild animals, and any agricultural animals that are used for biomedical research, etc. In addition to the above animals, rats and mice are included in this policy.
  • In order for the IACP (Institutional Animal Care Program) to have a record of how many laboratory animals have been ordered on a project, the animal requisitions must be sent to the Animal Care Program, 110 Mussehl Hall, or faxed to 402-472-5887 for approval before Procurement Services will process the requisition. The animals for a project may be ordered by the investigator in any quantity he/she desires, but each requisition requires approval by the Animal Care Program prior to submission to Procurement Services.
  • Questions concerning this policy should be directed to the Director of Veterinary Services at 402-472-6965 or Procurement Services at 402-472-2126.