Procurement Guidelines

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Overview of Procurement Environment

At Gettysburg College the acquisition of goods and services is made by departments to which institutional funds are allocated. Purchases of goods and services are to be made in accordance with College procurement policies and guidelines which have been developed to preserve the value of College resources complying with regulations which protect the College against legal liability, provide for receipt of goods and services in a timely and organized manner, supply accepted standards of quality and service, properly hold vendors accountable for their goods and services, and provide accountability for College expenditures.

Section I - Authorization and Approval Guidelines

A. Purpose

To define which individuals may obligate the College for the purchase of goods and services:

Delegation of Purchase Authority Memo (pdf)

B. Purchase Authorization

 1. General Purchase Authorization Parameters

The following represents general purchase authorization thresholds for the acquisition of goods and services:

<=$15,000 Department Chair, Director, or Program Coordinator may delegate
<=$75,000 Department Chair, Director, or Program Coordinator


(individual transaction or total contract value of multi-year contracts)

Divisional Vice President AND either Vice President for Finance & Administration or the President
Additional Purchase Authorization Considerations-Certain restrictions to general authorizations apply:

Transactions limited to specified departments: 

See B.2: Restrictions on Purchasing Authority

  • Acquisition/lease of real estate
  • Acquisition/lease (>3 months) of vehicle
  • Financing Transactions, including lease or rental of capital assets (>3 months)
  • Credit card, banking, and other financial services
  • Building and grounds maintenance
  • Copier equipment
  • Technology - requiring IT installation, support or connectivity to College network
  • Employee search and temporary employment services

The College's Conflict of Interest Policy precludes purchasing from organizations included on the Restrained Participation list. 

See II.C.2. Business with Restraint on Participation

2. Restrictions on Purchasing Authority

a. Authority for the acquisition of certain goods and services is limited to designated departments or positions within the College, regardless of purchase authority or payment amount. 

Transactions limited to Specified Departments:

The following College departments facilitate the purchasing of stated goods and services on behalf of the entire campus. These departments have sole responsibility for the acquisition of listed services and materials.

Acquisition and lease of real estate Vice President for Finance & Administration or President
Acquisition and lease of vehicle (>3 months); Vehicle includes any over-the-road conveyance requiring vehicle registration or insurance.  Director of Facilities Planning
Financing transactions, including lease or rental of capital assets (>3 months) Vice President for Finance & Administration or President
Credit Card, banking and other financial services Financial Services
Maintenance and operation of College buildings and grounds Facilities Services
Copier equipment Auxiliary Services
Technology purchases requiring IT installation, support, or connectivity to the campus network Information Technology
Employee search and temporary employment services Human Resources

b. Questions regarding purchasing authority may be directed to the Assistant Director of Procurement, Accounts Payable Office, Assistant Controller or Controller.

3. Multi-year Contracts

a. The total of multi-year contracts must be used to determine the level of purchase authorization necessary for execution. 

b. Multi-year contracts with a total contract cost of $75,000 or greater (as calculated over the term of the contract period) must be authorized by the Divisional Vice President and either the President or the Vice President for Finance & Administration. 

4. Delegation of Purchase Authority

a. Purchase authority may be delegated during the annual review process facilitated by Financial Services or by notifying the AP Office of the requested change. 

b. Additional considerations for delegating purchase authority are included in the Delegation of Purchase Authority Memo (pdf).

c. While purchase authority may be delegated, budgetary responsibility, including monitoring and oversight, remains a function of the Department Chair, Director, or Program Coordinator. 

5. Other Purchase Authority Considerations

a. All agents of the College are responsible for compliance with the College's procurement guidelines as described herein. 

b. Authorized employees, as defined above, are the stewards of departmental funds and are responsible for ensuring availability of department budget funds prior to initiating a purchase and submitting a request for payment. 

c. As a general practice, regardless of purchase threshold, employees must seek a supervisor's approval for the following financial transactions: 

  • Requestor listed as payee (i.e, travel reimbursements); and/or
  • Requestor personally benefits from purchase

C. Unauthorized Purchases

1. Commitments made in excess of General Purchase Authorization levels or not previously approved by the President or the Division Vice President are considered unauthorized. The individual may encounter a personal obligation to the supplier or provider.

D. Non-Allowable and Restricted Purchases and Expenditures

All purchases and expenditures of are required to meet the ordinary business standard of reasonable and necessary.

1. Non-Allowable Expenses


1. Political contributions
2. Charitable contributions other than benevolences
3. Commuting costs
4. Any purchases prohibited by another College policy

Travel Related

  1. First class travel (elective travel upgrades are the personal expense of the employee)
  2. Non-refundable travel expenses for individuals who are not employees or students
  3. Membership fees for benefits derived from travel
  4. In-flight or in-room entertainlment
  5. Insurance for rental vehicles sold by vendor
  6. Traffic fines
  7. Towing fines
  8. Fees for exercise rooms
  9. Locksmith fees/charges
  10. Optional conference activities not included in conference fee
  11. Host/hostess gifts > $50
  12. Loss of personal items
  13. Personal items required in route (umbrella, luggage, clothing, prescriptions)
  14. Personal services en route (hair, car wash)
  15. “No show” charges
  16. Cost of care for family members, pets, houses, etc. while traveling
2. Restricted Purchases

The following types of purchases may not be charged to a College credit card.

  1. Benevolences to charitable organizations
  2. Gift cards/certificates for employees or student employees
  3. Fuel for personal vehicles (mileage reimbursement should be requested when using a personal vehicle).
  4. Purchases made at internal campus locations such as the College Store, all dining venues, Majestic Theater (department charges allow the College to avoid bank fees charged to process credit card transactions).

In addition, the College has blocked card usage with some groups of merchants, typically those consumer oriented or unrelated to higher education. Card transactions with vendors registered with VISA under certain classifications will be rejected at the point of sale. Purchases deemed necessary via these merchants should be invoiced.

3. Approval Requirements and Special Considerations

1. Meals for spouse or other family members unless business purpose exists and approved by the Provost or a supervisor. Payments of this nature are generally considered taxable compensation to the employee.

2. The College does not provide funding for the travel and/or entertainment expenses of a spouse, a dependent, or another who accompanies a College employee on business related travel except when specifically provided by employee contract or in relation to an off campus program assignment. Such payments must be approved by the Provost or Executive Vice President for Human Resources and Risk Management. Payments of this nature are generally considered taxable compensation to the employee. 

3. The College does not support the business use of an employee's personal residence with any form of payment.

4. The College may provide housing for specific duties as a condition of employment and for the convenience of the College. Under these circumstances, housing is provided for an employee in order that he/she is to  be able to properly perform official roles and required duties. The value of College housing meeting these conditions is not taxable compensation to the employee. The requirement for College provided housing for an employee must be recommended by the appropriate divisional Vice President and approved by the President. A Housing Agreement, created in accordance with Internal Revenue Code, Section 119 criteria, will specify services the College, as landlord, will provide to the employee, as tenant. Such services are limited to the general maintenance of the property consistent with the general maintenance of all College owned properties.

Section II - Purchasing and Contracting Guidelines

A. Purpose

1. To define the means by which the College purchases goods and contracts for services and facilitates payment in exchange.

2. To position departments to procure goods and services under the most advantageous terms for the College.

B. General Guideline Statement

The authority to enter into any purchase or service agreement is vested with certain employees defined in Section I who act as authorized agents of the College. Agents must determine the most appropriate procurement tool that adheres to College guidelines for the planned acquisition, ensuring appropriate procurement or payment procedures are not avoided or bypassed by use of the College's purchasing card.

C. Considerations for Selecting a Supplier or Service Provider (Sourcing)

Departments may make decisions concerning product and supplier selection and engage directly with a vendor to meet their requirements, with due consideration given for the business practices below: 

1. Internal Service Providers

Specialty business units of the College serve as preferred providers. Services provided by College departments are as follows: 

Catering services Catering Department
Mail and postage services Ricoh
Duplication services Ricoh
Promotional items College Store
Safety and security services Department of Public Safety
Computer services Computing and Infrastructure Department
Telecommunication services Telecommunications Department
Transportation services Transportation Services

2. Business with Restraint on Participation

Under the College's Conflict of Interest Policy, the College shall not transact business with a related party and no related party shall solicit business from the College. Acquisition of goods or services from organizations on the Restrained Participation List is specifically precluded by the Conflict of Interest Policy unless one of the listed exceptions applies. Potential exceptions should be reviewed with the Executive Vice President or the Director of Financial Services/Controller prior to initiating a purchase. Certain exceptions require approval of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. 

3. Other Sourcing Considerations

a. Comparative pricing is recommended to maximize the value of each dollar spent unless sole source is justified. Competitive pricing is recommended for major purchases and required under certain grant agreements.

b. Departments should utilize existing institutional vendor relationships to obtain their goods and services whenever possible.

D. College Purchase Order

1. A purchase order is the recognized, business-to-business, standard instrument used to procure tangible goods. It defines the agreement between the buyer and the seller. Once accepted by both parties, it is a binding contract. It commits buyers to accept and pay for the described goods and the supplier to deliver them as ordered.

2. The terms and conditions appearing on the College Purchase Order form are beneficial to and protective of the College. For this reason, the College Purchase Order is a useful procurement tool whose use is encouraged, especially when: 

  • No other written contract/agreement exists
  • P.O. is required by vendor
  • Departmental ordering processes would benefit from enhanced record keeping

The College Purchase Order template/form is available herein and may be issued and maintained by departments in accordance with processes defined by the user departments. The College Purchase Order must be signed by an authorized employee in accordance with Section 1.

E. Contracts

1. Most of the many, independent, business transactions of the College are contractual in nature, whether written or not. A contract is an agreement between parties having four essential components:

  • An offer and an acceptance
  • Mutual obligation
  • Competency of parties
  • Legality of purpose

2. It is efficient for the College to offer our forms of agreement to other parties as these forms have been pre-approved by the College's legal counsel. The department obligating the College is responsible for determining the suitability of the governing instrument and/or obtaining purchase authority as described in Section I. The Procurement Office is available to provide guidance. 

3. The College is able to reduce the complexity of our transactions by standardizing certain common forms of agreement for departmental use. These templates are described and accessible from the table below. Please bear in mind that these standard forms may not meet all business transaction requirements. Departments may modify a standard agreement template. The Procurement Office is available to provide guidance.

Description of Services

Type of Agreement

A very basic agreement providing a format for written documentation of an oral agreement and payment information. This document is intended for use with independent contractors coming to campus for a variety of reasons, but whose presence presents little or no risk. Examples: speakers, facilitators, DJs

Event Agreement and Check Request (xls)

An agreement for tangible services that remain on campus upon completion.
Examples: Carpet installation, data input processing, storage services

Independent Contractor Agreement for Tangible Services (pdf)

An agreement for services provided by certified professionals.
Examples: Software programmers, engineers

Independent Contractor Agreement for Professional Services (pdf)

4. Departments should consider the relationship of a potential contractor to the College and ascertain that individuals engaged to provide services are independent contractors, and are not engaged in such a manner to suggest that they could be determined to be employees of the College. The Employment Status Checklist provides criteria which may assist in making this determination. The Accounts Payable or Payroll Office is available to provide guidance. 

5. Certificates of Insurance are important addenda to contracts for work to be performed which creates special risk to the College. For example, Certificates of Insurance would be required for the services of software programmers and pyrotechnicians. The contractor's insurance carrier extends specific coverage to the College for the duration of the contract. Certificates of Workers Compensation Insurance may also be required. The Risk Management Office is available to provide guidance.

Please refer to the Information Directory below to contact the most appropriate individual for contract related concerns.


 For Business Practice Questions Regarding:


Email and Phone Ext.

 Certificates of Insurance

Mary Ann Remaley
Risk Management
Ext. 6069

 Issuance of Checks, Travel Advances

Brandy Briggs

Nicki Wilson
Accounts Payable
Ext. 6290
Ext. 6201

 Employment Status (Independent Contractor vs. Employee)

Sharon Dayhoff
Ext. 6276

Preferred Providers, Vendors, College Purchase Orders, Contracting, Purchasing Card

Pat Verderosa
Ext. 6225

6. The College is presented with many contracts for execution which have been prepared by the provider of the service. Each is service and/or product specific and, therefore, it is not efficient for the College to standardize contractual language. Checklists of important terms and conditions are provided.


Standard Terms & Conditions


Service or maintenance contracts for the upkeep of equipment



Agreements which grant the College the right to use copyrighted materials

Software Licenses


Hospitality contracts for the College's use of premises



F. Receiving and Storage

1. The College's receiving services are performed in the Central Energy Plant or the campus post office. Receiving hours are 8:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday.

2. Orders for tangible goods (except contracted desktop delivery) should include instructions to ship to the College's business address at 300 North Washington Street. Facilities Services or Mail Services will facilitate delivery of your goods to the respective campus building.

3. Furnishings, equipment, etc. removed from departments upon request become general surplus property of the College and will not be held in reserve for a department unless pre-arranged with Facilities and so marked upon removal.

4. Boxed records removed from departments upon request and moved to local storage areas (basements) or remote storage (Knouse Building) must be labeled for content and also with the date contents may be destroyed or otherwise stored in accordance with the College's Archive Policy.

G. Methods of Payment

1. College checks, the College's purchasing cards, and electronic transfer of funds generated by the Office of Financial Services are the only means of releasing a payment that satisfies an obligation of the College.

2. Issuance of a College Purchase Order or execution of an Agreement will not generate a payment within the College's financial management system and therefore, does not complete the transaction cycle of an acquisition. The cycle closes when a department submits a request for payment to the Accounts Payable Office and payment follows in due course.

H. Sales Tax Exemption

Gettysburg College is generally tax-exempt from Pennsylvania Sales and Use Tax for purchases made in accordance with the College's 501(c)(3) status.  The College also holds tax exemption certificates for the following areas:

  • Florida
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • District of Columbia (if used in DC)

Information regarding sales tax exemptions along with copies of the state specific exemption forms can be obtained from the Accounts Payable website. 

Section III - Travel Guidelines for Employees, Students, Groups/Teams, and Guests of the College

A. Purpose

1. To establish uniform standards of expense for all members of the College community regardless of the source of funds.

2. To ensure that members of the College community, traveling on authorized College related business, are reimbursed appropriately for allowable business expenses and are not unduly enriched or suffer personal financial losses as a result of such expenses.

B. General Guidelines Statement

1. When properly authorized and documented, the College will pay reasonable travel expenses related to the performance of College business. All such expenses are to be in accordance with IRS regulations regarding Accountable Plans. Discretionary spending accounts are not provided.

C. Travel Arrangements and Payment Options

1. College employees are able to affect travel plans directly with service providers. The College does not have a central travel service at this time.

2. The least costly means of travel and lodging that meet the requirements of the trip should be reserved.

3. Employees traveling on grants are responsible for adhering to all terms of the grant relating to expenses.

3. Allowable travel expenses for an individual/s that is/are NOT employees or students of Gettysburg College may NOT be prepaid, advanced, or directly billed to the College unless they are 100% refundable. Otherwise, these expenses are reimbursable, in arrears by submitting a Check Request/Reimbursement Form.

4. Travel advances are limited to employees who either do not have a College Purchasing Card or who will be traveling out of town for an extended period of time with travel plans including patronizing places that do not accept the College's Purchasing Card as a form of payment. A Travel Advance Request is to be completed to obtain an advance of travel funds. Please note that IRS regulations require that the travel advances be fully accounted for within 30 days. In those instances where the accounting for travel is not in compliance with IRS regulations, the College is required to treat the advanced amount as a personal expense reimbursable via payroll deduction or taxable income to the employee included on the employee's W-2.

D. Ground Transportation

1. Gettysburg College Transportation Services

a) Provider of transportation for employees and guests of the College to facilitate College related travel to and from area centers of transportation such as airports, and rail, bus, and subway stations.

b) Preferred provider of vehicles and/or drivers for students and employees to satisfy the logistics of regional, College related travel requirements.

c) Students or employees may request and drive a College provided vehicle for regional College related travel. ONLY a student or employee with driver clearances may operate the vehicle.

d) All transportation services, except scheduled shuttles, should be authorized by a department head.

2. Privately Owned Vehicle

a) Use of a privately owned vehicle is discouraged for insurance considerations, particularly when the driver is transporting other passengers on College related business.  The College's insurance does not provide coverage to its students or employees while traveling in a private vehicle. In the event of an accident or loss involving the privately owned vehicle on College business, the coverages on such vehicle prevail and may not provide adequate protection.

b) When a privately owned vehicle is used for local or regional travel, mileage reimbursement at the College's current IRS rate per mile is allowed. Current rates are maintained on the Accounts Payable webpage.

c) College Purchasing Cards or College gasoline cards should not be used to fuel a privately owned vehicle.

3. Automobile Rentals

a) Rentals should be limited to situations where other means of transportation are unavailable, more costly, or impractical. The use of a rental must be justified as a business need and not as a matter of personal convenience.  It is expected that all employees read, understand, and abide by the rental agreement terms.

b) Gettysburg College and the name of the employee should appear on the rental agreement and Loss Damage Coverage, and/or Personal Accident Insurance, and/or Additional Liability Insurance should be declined. The College will not pay for these excess coverages as it maintains comprehensive, collision, and liability insurance on all vehicles rented or leased in its name.

c) Rented vehicles may be driven only by the employee signing the rental agreement.

E. Commercial Air Travel

1. Standard air travel accommodations with the least costly fare that realistically meets scheduling needs are required unless exceptional circumstances exist.

2. The College will not pay any of the costs, including incremental fare increases, of a traveler's participation in frequent flyer programs.

F. Lodging

1. Standard business lodging accommodations at mid-market establishments are required unless unusual circumstances exist. Regional price variances are acknowledged.

2. The guest folio bill with evidence of payment is required as the supporting documentation for lodging expense.

3. Reservations for lodging within a 100-mile radius of the College should be pre-approved by a Department Chair/Director.

4. All reserved rooms should be guaranteed for late arrival. Employees should be mindful of cancellation policies.

G. Meals

1. Personal meal expense, those incurred by an employee when traveling out of the local area on College business, and business meal expense, those incurred by an employee for meals taken with a colleague, student, prospect, etc., during which a business discussion takes place may be paid for with a College Purchasing Card or is reimbursable at actual cost. All meal expenses must be reasonable. Regional price variances are acknowledged.

2. Per diem meal allowances are permissible for student groups only. Amounts are determined by the program budget but are not to exceed IRS guidelines. Funds are available in advance of an event or trip.

3. All meal expenses must be supported by original receipts and a business purpose notation provided.

H. Non-Allowable Travel Related Expenses

Please see section I. subsection D. above