The Controller's Office serves all campuses in the University of Minnesota system.

Welcome to the new Purchasing Services website. We hope that our new site provides for a more customer-focused experience that allows for easier access to the most up-to-date Purchasing information and resources you are seeking.

Please send us an e-mail to let us know how you feel about the new site or if you are having trouble locating any information from our old site.


Fall 2016

Did you know that it is now easier than ever to buy Apple products from the Bookstore or to purchase your departmental needs from

Be sure to read about this (and other exciting Purchasing stories) on our News page or sign-up for our Purchasing Newsletter to receive these updates in your inbox.

Making the Most Common Purchases

Use this summary to understand the basics of your purchase descision. Additional information about each purchasing method can be found on our Purchasing Methods & Procedures webpage. Employees involved in departmental purchasing are still expected to fully read and adhere to all departmental, sponsored, and University policies.

Best Practice    Allowable    Allowable but only in rare, specific instances    Unallowable   N/A = Not Available at this time

Commodity Example U Market Internal Sales/ Auxillaries PO PCard Non-PO Guidelines
Airfare Plane ticket from Delta Airlines N/A N/A Visit for travel-related discounts.
Animals for Research Laboratory mice or rats Research Animal Resources (RAR) is the only acceptable method.
Books & Subscriptions Text books; magazines, newspapers, or journals N/A Due to the broad types of publications and suppliers, all methods are acceptable.
Architecture & Engineering, Construction, Maintenance, Custodial Services Maintenance and repair services for existing buildings, design or construction of new buildings N/A Contact an FM Zone manager before any work in this category begins at New construction must be approved by CPPM at
Capital Equipment Copy machine, MRI machine, electron telescope Equipment must cost $5,000+ and have a shelf life of at least one year. If a U Market supplier ( cannot be used, a PO is required.
Car Rental Fleet Services; National or Enterprise Car Rental Agencies N/A Use Fleet Services ( if travel is within driving distance. Visit for other car rental discounts.
Carpet Carpeting and installation N/A Carpet is typically included in FM projects. Contact a Zone manager at
Catering Boxed lunches or snacks for events or lunches N/A University Dining Services ( is a preferred supplier. Some facilities or events require a food contract and require OGC approval.
Chemicals Reagents or other chemicals used in labs Contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (DEHS) before ordering any chemicals.
Computers & Technology Laptop, desktop computers, or software N/A Departments are expected to use U Market ( whenever possible. Purchases on the PCard may not exceed $2499.
Conference Registration Workshops or conferences N/A N/A Refer to each conference’s procedures for registration and payment.
Furnishings Office chairs or desks N/A These may be included in a facilities project. The PCard is allowable for items unavailable in U Market.
Lab Supplies Beakers, gloves, or goggles Departments are expected to purchase lab supplies from U Market suppliers ( whenever possible.
Maintenance, Supplies (MRO) Padlocks, tools, or cleaning/custodial supplies N/A Departments are expected to purchase MRO supplies from U Market suppliers ( whenever possible.
Office Supplies Paper, pens, or printer supplies Departments are expected to purchase office supplies from U Market suppliers ( whenever possible.
Professional Services Consultants, speakers, or copywriters N/A N/A Professional services $3,000+ require a contract prior to the start of work; services under $3,000 require a CPS order after completion. CPPM approval is required for architect or engineering services.
Standard Services Temp services or printing services N/A Look internally first to see if the service is provided by another department. If the service is recurring, use a PO blanket order.

Download Making the Most Common Purchases Guide. (pdf)