The Right Choice for Your Success

Types of Purchases


Used for the purchase of goods and services of less than $5,000.

Departments are authorized to place orders of less than $5,000 without obtaining approval from the Purchasing Office. These orders are useful for expediting small dollar and non-repetitive purchases. Payments may be made using a Direct Pay Authorization.

Authorization to use departmental funds for this type of purchase should be approved by the fiscal agent for the department. Any purchase of $1,000 or more needs prior approval of the respective Vice President. These orders may take the form of: Internet orders, fax/telephone orders, or direct pick-up of goods from local vendors. Illinois sales tax should not be paid. Sales tax paid by employees making University purchases is not reimbursable from University accounts.

Fiscal agents should take special precautions to prevent using multiple transactions to circumvent the $5,000 limit. Repetitive purchases, also known as "stringing" per the Procurement Code, must be avoided.

The cost of goods or services paid on a Direct Pay Authorization must be less than $5,000. Memberships and subscriptions that contain contract language may require additional approvals before purchase. Please refer to the “Purchasing Approvals” section below for further details.

After the Direct Pay Authorization is properly completed, retain a copy for departmental files and forward a copy to Business Services, Sherman Hall 220. Make certain the original vendor invoice is attached to the Direct Pay Authorization. The Direct Pay Authorization must be submitted within 30 days of receipt of the invoice. The University is subject to the Illinois Prompt Payment Act (30 ILCS 540) and the Policy on Prompt Submission of Employee Reimbursements.

Online Purchase Requisition

Used for the purchase of goods and services of $5,000 or more. This also includes standing and continuous orders.

The Online Purchase Requisition is used to provide the Purchasing Office with all the information necessary to procure goods or services.

Departments submit Online Purchase Requisitions using the mainframe FRS/Purchasing system. Download detailed instructions (PDF). The Purchasing Office will train staff to input the information, as well as fiscal agents for on-line approval of requisitions.

Provide as much of a specification and description of the product/service as possible. If recommending a brand name, at least two approved brands and models should be listed within the specifications with a thorough description. It is not permissible to have a company design, specify a configuration, or participate in drawing up specifications for departmental projects or purchases. Such activity is prohibited by Illinois law. In addition, the Online Purchase Requisition must list criteria such as product specifications, to be considered when evaluating the bids. Only those criteria listed in the bid document will be considered during the evaluation of bids.

Once the Purchasing Office has received the Online Purchase Requisition, the procurement process is based on the amount of the requisition. Small Purchase Threshold amounts according to fiscal year are located under "Higher Education Bid Limits". A requisition above this threshold can take a minimum of forty-five days after posting to the Illinois Procurement Bulletin. Purchases involving contracts are contingent on the amount of negotiation needed for both parties to come to an agreement.

When the Purchasing Office issues a Purchase Order, a copy will be sent to the requesting department.


Once the goods/services are received in full, invoices are to be signed and dated with an “Okay to Pay” and promptly sent to the Purchasing Office. From there, the invoice is processed against the purchase order. Any problems with the goods or services should be reported to the Purchasing Office immediately. The University is subject to the Illinois Prompt Payment Act (30 ILCS 540) and must make payment or deny payment within 90 days. Failure to do so will result in additional charges to the department to cover the interest due the vendor.

Standing/Continuous Orders

A master order used to cover repetitive orders for a given fiscal year.

A department which orders on a repetitive basis from a vendor should prepare and submit an Online Purchase Requisition estimating the total amount to be paid to that vendor during a fiscal year.

Departments may be required to submit a list of the most frequently ordered items and estimated quantities. These items may be handled through the quote or bidding process. The Purchasing Office will issue a continuous order for the estimated amount. After the continuous order has been issued, the department may order (either in writing or verbally) goods or services as needed, regardless of the dollar amount, as long as the amount of the continuous order is not exceeded.


When the goods/services are received, as well as an invoice identified with the continuous purchase order number, the department should verify receipt of those items and mark the invoice with an “Okay to Pay”, sign, date and forward to the Purchasing Office. From there, the invoice is processed against the continuous order, the vendor paid, and the available balance reduced.

Emergency Purchases

Occasionally, departments must have goods and/or services immediately and cannot wait for the purchase to flow through the normal procedures. Contact the Purchasing Office if you have an immediate need. Written justification will be required and must be approved by the State before proceeding.


Please reference the section on this website entitled “Contract Procedures”.

Procurement Card (PCard)

Please reference the section on this website entitled “PCard”.