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.

Purchasing Updates

Our latest Purchasing Newsletter, Dollars and Sense - February 2017, has been released.

Some of the highlights from this edition are:

Professional Services Policy and Procedure Updates

The Professional Services Policy and Procedure changes have been approved and are now in effect. Changes include stripping out the VCPS language, more specific examples, simplified overall language, and the addition of a policy statement clarifying that professional services may not be purchased "out of pocket" nor by using the PCard.

Additional information regarding the new Policy and Procedures can be accessed at the University Policy Library.

We've also updated the Professional Services Information Sheet (PSIS) which can be accessed in the Purchasing Forms Library.

Attachments to Requisitions & Amendments/Change Orders

In EFS, problems can arise when contracts are held up and system transactions have to re-route to approvers too often due to confusion with attachments. To help avoid these delays, Purchasing recommends using this document (pdf) to give users a better understanding of the behavior of attachments and comments on requisitions entered into PeopleSoft.

Purchasing Newsletters

"Dollars and Sense" is a biannual publication that provides articles and announcements on all aspects of purchasing at the University. Feel free to access and read our latest (and past) Newsletters below:

If you would like to subscribe to receive "Dollars and Sense" directly to your inbox, please sign up to our Purchasing Listserv.

Making the Most Common Purchases

Use this summary to understand the basics of your purchase decision. Additional information about each purchasing method can be found on our Purchasing Methods & Procedures webpage. Employees involved in departmental purchasing are expected to fully read and adhere to all departmental, sponsored, and University policies. Do NOT sign or agree to the supplier’s Terms and Conditions. Because the University is a constitutional function of the State of Minnesota, certain laws and regulations apply to our contracts that do not apply to other customers, so insist on using the University’s Terms and Conditions. Additional information about contracts can be found in the University’s Policy on Entering into Contracts.

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

Commodity Example U Market Internal Sales/ Auxiliaries 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)