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

COVID-19 and Purchasing

All purchasing policies are still in effect. Authorized purchasers still need to discuss acquisition of goods and services with their leadership during this time. Consider whether the resource needed exists on campus and can safely be retrieved before purchasing a new item. Summary of the guidance Purchasing Services has provided.

Purchasing Updates

Are the procurement requirements in the uniform guidance in OMB 2.CFR.200.320 applicable to existing and new awards?

The University of Minnesota has chosen to delay implementation of the new procurement requirements in OMB 2.CFR.200.320 until July 1, 2018. All other regulations in OMB 2.CFR.200.320 are applicable to new federal awards issued after December 26, 2014 and may be applicable to existing federal awards depending on agency implementation plans.

Purchasing Newsletter

"Dollars and Sense" is a periodic publication that provides articles and announcements on all aspects of purchasing at the University.

If you would like to subscribe to receive "Dollars and Sense" directly to your inbox, please sign up for 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 may be paid via Non-PO payment if the department does not desire a contract. 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)