Business Services

Purchasing Policies

The Purchasing Department provides includes timely purchases of goods and services at the lowest possible cost with consideration of quality, quantity and delivery based on market conditions.

In recent years, the University has benefited from policy changes which have granted increased spending authority.

Along with these enhanced abilities comes greater responsibility to follow laws, rules and regulations of the State of Minnesota, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and St. Cloud State.

Code of Ethics

State employees are covered by Minnesota Statute 43A.38 Code of Ethics and Minnesota Statute 43A.39 Compliance with Law. It covers such topics as acceptance of gifts, conflicts of interest, and use of confidential information.

Per Minnesota State Policy 5.14.5 Part 11 Subpart B:

"Minnesota Statute 15.43 states that no employee of the state in direct contact with suppliers or potential suppliers to the state, or who may directly or indirectly influence a purchasing decision or contract by establishing specifications, testing purchased products, evaluating contracted services, or otherwise has official involvement in the purchasing or contracting process may:

  1. Have any financial interest or have any personal beneficial interest directly or indirectly in the contracts or purchase orders for goods or services used by, or purchased for resale or furnished to the system office, college or university; or
  2. Accept directly or indirectly from a person, firm, or corporation to which a contract or purchase order has been or may be, awarded, a rebate, gift, money, or anything of value other than items of nominal value. No such employee may further accept any promise, obligation or contract for future reward.

Textbooks, software, and other course materials authored by an employee of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities may be used as required course material. Instructors may accept free samples of textbooks and related teaching materials.”

Violation of the procedures above may result in reduced spending authority.

Governing Statutes & Policies

Obligation Incurred Prior to an Encumbrance

Definition: Employees shall not commit the University to a purchase or agreement before the purchase order is approved or the contract is fully executed.

Policy: Obligations incurred prior to an encumbrance in Marketplace is a violation of M.S. 16A.15 subdivision 3 and Minnesota State Purchasing Policy 5.14.5 Part 5.

“Funds must be encumbered prior to making an obligation through an authorized employee certifying that the accounting system shows sufficient allotment or encumbrance balance in the fund, allotment, or appropriation to meet it. An expenditure or obligation authorized or incurred prior to encumbering funds is illegal and ineligible for payment until made valid and is in violation of M.S. 16A.15, Subd. 3. An employee authorizing or making the payment, or taking part in it, is liable to the state for the amount paid. A knowing violation of M.S. 16A. 15, Subd. 3 is just cause for the employee’s removal. The state cannot agree to indemnify third parties or hold them harmless (M.S. 10.17); Minn. Const. Art. XI, Sec. 1.”

It is understood that the University has sufficient allotment of reserves and carry-forward balances that violations under $15,000 can be covered using those means and no violation would occur.

Procedure: The individual in violation must complete a 16A form. It is to be signed by the person responsible for the violation and uploaded to Marketplace with the invoice. The Director of Business Services will determine whether payment is approved.

16A violation forms are kept on file and are subject to review by internal and legislative audit.

Purchases less than $15,000

Purchases less than $15,000 do not require written quotes. The $15,000 limit is not by item, but by total purchase. The requester is encouraged, however, to check with more than one vendor to obtain the lowest price.

Purchasing cards may be used for purchases for many purchases under $15,000. Refer to the Purchasing Card Manual for additional information.


Purchasing $15,000 to $50,000

If the amount of the purchase is estimated as $15,000 or more, but less than $50,000, the purchase may be made by obtaining two or more written quotations, (one being the successful vendor). If the purchase is from an approved state contract vendor then one written quote from that vendor referencing the state contract number is all that is required. Quotations may be obtained in written form via Facsimile (Fax), US Postal Service, Delivery Service, or Internet. Quotations must have a specific date and time for submission. All quotations obtained will be kept in Purchasing on file until audited. Please download the quote form (DOC) and use at your convenience.

Valid quote must include:

  • Name of company
  • Signature of company representative
  • Delivery charges are FOB Destination
  • Date of quote
  • Price
  • Valid for 30 days

Note: Purchasing reserves the right to re-bid any purchase order request if quotes are unacceptable or if no quotes are submitted.

Purchasing of $50,000 or more

If the amount of the purchase order is estimated as $50,000 or more, Purchasing will conduct a sealed bid process. If the purchase is from an approved state contract, only one written quote from that vendor referencing the state contract number is required.

Certificate of Compliance (Affirmative Action)


Minnesota Statute 363A.36 requires vendors to submit to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights the business’ affirmative action plan for the employment of minority persons, women, qualified disabled individuals, and veterans for any state contracts in excess of $100,000. The proof of approval from Minnesota Department of Human Rights is a Certificate of Compliance. This certificate is valid for four years.

The vendor must have an approved certificate before award of the contract. If the vendor is in the process of obtaining a certificate, it must be proved that the vendor applied for the certificate prior to the bid or proposal opening.

Vendors are exempt from the requirement if they did not employ more than 40 full-time employees on a single working day during the previous 12 months in the state where the business has its primary place of business. This is verified by State of Minnesota-Affirmative Action Certification form.


A Certificate of Compliance is required for all purchases over $100,000.


All awards exceeding $100,000 will include either a Certificate of Compliance from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights or State of Minnesota-Affirmative Action Certification form verifying the vendor is exempt from M.S. 363A.36.


Certificates of Insurance


An ACORD certificate of insurance is verification that a vendor’s insurance limit meets or exceeds state requirements to contract with the University.


All vendors are required to submit an ACORD certificate of insurance prior to the start of work on campus.


The vendor shall not commence work under the contract until they have obtained all the insurance described below and Business Services has approved such insurance. All policies and certificates shall provide that the policies shall remain in force and effect throughout the term of the contract.

Policy Requirements

  1. Workers' Compensation Insurance:
    1. Statutory Compensation Coverage
    2. Coverage B Employers Liability with limits of not less than:
      • $100,000 Bodily Injury by Disease per Employee
      • $500,000 Bodily Injury by Disease Aggregate
      • $100,000 Bodily Injury by Accident
  2. Automobile Liability Insurance
    1. Minimum Limits of Liability:
      • $2,000,000 Per Occurrence - Bodily Injury and Property Damage Combined Single Limit
    2. Coverages:
      • Owned Automobile, if any
      • Non-owned Automobile
      • Hired Automobile
  3. General Liability Insurance
    1. Minimum Limits of Liability:
      • $2,000,000 - Per Occurrence
      • $2,000,000 - Annual Aggregate
      • $2,000,000 - Annual Aggregate applying to Products/Completed Operations
    2. Coverages:
      • Premises and Operations Bodily Injury and Property Damage
      • Personal & Advertising Injury
      • Blanket Contractual
      • Products and Completed Operations
      • Other: Please List_________________________________

    Named as Additional Insured: The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and its officers and members, to include St. Cloud State University, the State of Minnesota, officers and employees of the State of Minnesota, the Architect and its agents (if applicable) shall be named as Additional Insureds. The Additional Insured coverage is limited to insured claims arising out of the Contractor’s negligence or the negligence of those for whom the Contractor is responsible, excluding coverage for the Additional Insureds’ separate or independent negligence.

    Contractor's policy(ies) shall be primary insurance to any other valid and collectible insurance available to the Owner and all Insured Parties with respect to any claim arising out of this contract. The Contractor will provide Owner and all Insured Parties with thirty (30) days advance written notice of cancellations, non-renewals or reduction in limits or coverage or other material change.Contractor is responsible for payment of insurance deductibles. If Contractor is self-insured, a Certification of Self-Insurance must be attached.

  4. Professional Liability/Miscellaneous Liability Insurance (Only necessary if there is a professional liability exposure)
    Coverage for negligent acts, errors or omissions arising out of the performance of professional services included in the contract.
    1. Minimum Limits of Liability:
      • $2,000,000 - Per Occurrence
      • $2,000,000 - Annual Aggregate
    2. Any deductible will be the sole responsibility of the Contractor and may not exceed $50,000 without the approval of the State.
    3. The retroactive or prior acts date of such coverage shall not be after the effective date of this contract.
    4. The Contractor shall maintain such insurance for a period of at least three (3) years, following completion of the work. If such insurance is discontinued, extended reporting period coverage must be obtained by Contractor to fulfill this requirement.
  5. Additional Insurance Conditions
    1. Contractor’s policy(ies) shall be primary insurance to any other valid and collectible insurance available to the State of Minnesota with respect to any claim arising out of the contractor’s performance under this contract.
    2. Contractor’s policy(ies) will provide the State of Minnesota with thirty (30) days advance written notice of cancellation.
    3. Contractor is responsible for payment of contract related insurance premiums and deductibles.
    4. If Contractor is self-insured, a Certification of Self-Insurance must be attached.
    5. Contractor’s policy(ies) shall include legal defense fees in addition to the liability policy limits, with the exception of 4. above.
    6. Contractor shall obtain insurance policy(ies) from insurance company(ies) having an “AM Best” rating of A- (minus), Financial Size Category of VII or better, and authorized to do business in the State of Minnesota.
    7. An Umbrella or Excess Liability insurance policy may be used to supplement the Contractor’s policy limits to satisfy the full policy limits required by the Contract.

Minnesota State Risk Management information

Purchasing of Information Technology (IT) - computers, A/V, phones, software, etc.

IT resources purchased by St. Cloud State University are state property and fall under the statutes and policies noted below. SCSU Information Technology Services oversees technology purchases. Purchases of these items must be processed on a purchase order or ordered through IT Purchasing, they may NOT be purchased on most Purchasing cards.

Computers and Printers

Purchases such as computers can still be initiated with your primary technician(s). They will be able to best instruct you on the device that will work in your department and within the campus environment.


Including televisions, monitors, smart boards, projectors, etc.

Mobile Devices/Cellular Phone/Smart Phone/Tablets

Employees must review and verify their cellular phone usage on billing documents sent by IT Purchasing. Managers and supervisors are responsible for monitoring and reviewing cellular phone billings of their staff on a monthly basis to ensure proper employee usage and cost-effectiveness, and for approving billings for payment processing. IT Purchasing processes a charge back to the cost center tied to the phone.

Departments who choose to purchase cellular phones/plans must annually review cell phone users and determine if the need still exists for employee usage, and if the existing calling plan still meets the users’ needs.

The use of state cellular phones for personal use is prohibited. Improper use of this equipment will result in disciplinary action in accordance with applicable laws, rules, procedures and labor contracts. The purchase of prepaid cellular phones and prepaid phone cards is prohibited.

Employees are eligible for reimbursement of business calls on their personal cell phones with departmental approval. To be reimbursed, copies of the cellular phone service provider invoices identifying state business calls attached to the Employee Business Expense form and approved by the manager/supervisor is submitted to Business Services

Copiers (Multi-Purpose Devices)

All multi-purpose devices are administrated through IT Purchasing under a CSC contract with Marco. IT Purchasing will bill the department through the charge back system.

If you have questions on multipurpose devices, please call ext. 8-4375.

Software Agreements and Licenses

For those attempting to purchase IT-related goods that have associated legal documents (such as Terms and Conditions, a User License Agreement, a Privacy Policy, a contract, etc.), you will need to upload to Marketplace all applicable legal documentation for General Counsel review.

Statutes and Policies

IT resources purchased by St. Cloud State University are state property and fall under the following statutes and policies:

Food Purchases


Food purchases include grocery, restaurant, or catering.


Food purchases are strictly limited to agency accounts (900xxx) and accounts where budget was established in either object code 1850 or 3137. All other cost centers are prohibited from food purchases. Exceptions to this policy are only allowed with special expense approval or with special Senate Finance Committee approval.


Proprietary Advertising


Proprietary advertising is for marketing purposes. It enables the University to reach a specific audience with information. Most advertising is considered proprietary (sole source) because of the specific audience being addressed, the choice of specific radio or television stations, during certain time periods, or the necessity to advertise in a specific publication to reach a particular market.

Proprietary advertising is for the rental of billboards, payment for time on radio and television, and payment for advertising space in written publications. Proprietary advertising is not for vendors that make/create the “ads.” That would follow the policy for professional/technical services contracts.


Proprietary advertising is considered sole source.


A purchase order request is processed through Marketplace. Any purchase order of $15,000 or more will require one written quote and an approved Single Source Exception Form.

Purchases over $100,000 will require approval from Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Vice Chancellor-Chief Financial Officer.

Single Source Items


Single source items are items that can only be purchased from one source because that one source legally controls the sale or distribution of the items. Single source items are NOT available on the competitive, open market, but must be purchased from only one source. Some examples of possible sole source purchases are:

  • Computer Software (including licensing, license renewals, rental and software maintenance services)
  • Educational Supplies
  • Equipment Maintenance Agreements
  • Repair Parts
  • Subscriptions
  • Advertising


Single source purchases are required to follow all purchasing procedures except the requirement of competitive process. To justify single source, the Single Source Exception to Board Policy form is completed to obtain documentation from the vendor proving single source and provide justification as to why the sole source item is necessary.


The department should process a purchase order request through Marketlplace. Single source purchase order requests of $15,000 or more require one written quote from the sole source vendor along with the Single Source Exception form completed and signed.

Reference all documents in the comments of the purchase order request and upload them to Marketplace.

Purchase requests over $100,000 will require the approval of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Vice Chancellor-Chief Financial Officer.


Special Expenses


Special expenses are expenses incurred in connection with work-related responsibilities or official functions not generally supported with public funds.


Except in emergency situations, approval is required before any special expense is incurred and before commitments involving special expenses are made.

Employees must obtain approval of special expenses before incurring such expenses or the payment may be denied. Requests received after the event or too late to provide a proper review must include an explanation why the request was not provided in a timely manner.

Expenses Covered

The following expenses are covered where the benefits of the employee's attendance or participation will accrue primarily to the state:

  1. Food/Catering
  2. Clothing
  3. Giveaways (including promotional items)
  4. Items outside the normal mission of the cost center

Expenses Not Covered

  1. Refreshments or meals for routine staff meetings.
  2. Private club memberships.
  3. Alcoholic beverages.
  4. Entertainment.
  5. Employee parties (including holiday parties).


Complete a Request to Incur Special Expense Form prior to the event. The form should identify the account number and be signed by the person responsible for that account. Submit the form to Finance and Administration at least one week prior to the event. The Director of Business Services has the final approval on the form. All special expense forms are returned to the originator to be uploaded in Marketplace.


Targeted Group/Economically Disadvantaged/Veteran-Owned Vendor Program

The Minnesota Department of Administration, Materials Management Division (MMD) operates a program for Targeted Group, Economically Disadvantaged or Veteran-Owned small businesses. Businesses must be registered with the State to be considered for preference. Vendors eligible must be certified prior to the solicitation opening date and time to receive the preference.

Once certified, Targeted Group small businesses may be eligible for up to 6% preference in selling their products or services or bidding on construction projects to the state.

To be certified as an Economically Disadvantaged small business, the business must be located in an Economically Disadvantaged Area in Minnesota. These areas include labor surplus areas, as designated by the federal government, and low income counties in Minnesota. Economically Disadvantaged small businesses must be certified as such by MMD in order to participate in the program. Certified Economically Disadvantaged small businesses may be eligible for up to 6% preference in selling their products or services to the state, and may be eligible for up to 4% preference on construction projects.

Eligible and verified Veteran-Owned small businesses with their principle place of business in Minnesota may receive up to 6% preference when responding to solicitations issued by state agencies.

Once certified, Targeted Group, Economically Disadvantaged or Veteran-Owned vendors are added to the state's bid list, and are listed in the Directory of Certified TG/ED/VO Vendors. To get a list of vendors for the commodity you are requesting, contact extension 8-3136.

Helpful Hints & Reminders

Payment Requests (1400 Form)

The PR-1400 Payment Request form is used for the following:

  • Employee reimbursements
  • Student reimbursements from local fund accounts
  • Payments made using revenue object codes
  • Payment to and from SCSU


Certificates of Insurance

An ACORD certificate of insurance for liability and workers compensation is required whenever a vendor is on campus to repair, remodel, deliver, install, etc.

Equipment Purchases

Individual items over $10,000 are categorized equipment purchases (and Federal grant funded equipment over $5,000 each) use object code 4000.  Individual items under $10,000 are considered supply items use object code 3000.  Sensitive items that need to be recorded by Inventory use object code 3006. If you have any questions regarding inventory, contact extension 8-4002.


Agreements, Contracts

Any kind of agreement or contract must be entered into Marketplace.


Send To:
St. Cloud State University
“Your Building Code and Room Number”
720 4th Avenue South
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

Do not include a person’s name in the address. Indicate only the building code and room number.

All subscriptions are property of the University and must be sent to the University. Subscriptions cannot be sent to a home address.

Marketplace Comments

Use the Comments button within Marketplace to make notes to yourself or to someone in Purchasing. Notes written in the Comments will not print on the final purchase order.



M.S. 16A.41, Subd. 1, prohibits the University from paying in advance. The University can only make prepayments for software or software maintenance contracts for state owned or leased computer equipment, sole source maintenance agreements, exhibit space, subscription fees for newspapers and magazines, registration fess where advance payment is required or advance payment discount is provided and the Library of Congress.