MTSU Purchasing Guidelines

Following are general guidelines for MTSU employees who wish to make University purchases. If you have questions, please contact Procurement Services at 898-2944.

Department Local Purchase Authority

If the total estimated amount of any purchase is less than $10,000, the purchase may be negotiated and procured through MT$ource.

For any purchases less than $5,000 MTSU Departments and employees may use a PCard to procure the supplies and/or services. All University Departments or employees must utilize State of Tennessee, MTSU, Tennessee Board of Regents (Including all TBR Institutions), and University of Tennessee (Including all UTK Institutions) contracts as the primary sources to procure any needed goods and/or services. If the item or service can be procured at a lower price or is unavailable on these contracts then the purchase may be made elsewhere, however all PCard purchases shall be made utilizing best bid prices. All documentation pertaining to purchases and/or services shall be available for review and audit by Procurement Services. A list of current State of Tennessee, MTSU, Tennessee Board of Regents (Including all TBR Institutions), and University of Tennessee (Including all UTK Institutions) contracts are available on the MTSU Procurement Services Website.

Any MTSU Department and/or employee not utilizing the MTSU PCard for local purchases will be given a 'local purchase limit' of less than $500 and will be required utilize a requisition for any purchase of supplies and/or services exceeding $500.

All purchases made for supplies and/or services under $5,000 shall be made with a MTSU PCard unless the vendor requires a University Purchase Order or in rare circumstances a "Check Enclosed". For these situations a Requisition will be completed utilizing MT$ource and forwarded to Procurement Services with an explanation.

Refer to MTSU PCard Policy for more information.


Requisitions for computer hardware, peripherals, software and related maintenance or support requests of ($1,000 or more) shall include an attached "Explanation of Need" which includes the intended usage and, if hardware, the type of equipment to which it will be attached. Also the requisition will include the location, including building and room. The requisition is routed thru the Information Technology Division Office for approval, prior to coming to Procurement Services go through the Office of Information Technology before it comes to the Purchasing Department.

Any computer purchased for less than $1,000 should be coded as Object Code 74596.


Equipment is $5,000.00 or more.

Any equipment purchase must be submitted on a requisition through MT$ource to Procurement Services (Reference University Procurement and Contract Standards 631). The definition of equipment refers to an item costing $5,000.00 or more with a life expectancy of three years or longer and does not lose its identity when incorporated into another unit.


The following steps should be followed:

  1. MTSU employee who wishes to make purchase (requisitioner) completes a Requisition* in MT$ource BEFORE an order is placed with a vendor (Non-Catalog Form).  Obtain an estimate from the vendor, then create your Requisition.  
  2. The Requistion* will flow through a workflow within MT$ource for online approvals according the index approval tree.      
  3. A Purchase Order will be sent to the vendor informing them of the approved purchase; they will then fulfill the order.  
  4. If you need assistance with professional services agreements, contact the Procurement Office at x2944.  

A detailed Authorized Purchasing Process document is located on our Resources page.  

Bid Process:  

Purchases of $10,000 or more (including Sole Source requests) must be submitted for bid. 

Complete a Non-Catalog form, use Supplier Unknown, and check the “Bid” box on the requisition.  Attach all your specifications and information you gather about what you want to purchase.   A Procurement Specialist will communicate with you about your request.  They will set up the bid through a program called Ionwave.  Suppliers must be registered in Ionwave to get the bid specifications.

Purchases under $10,000 do not require a formal bid, but contacting other Suppliers will assist in obtaining the best price when purchasing with University funds.   Complete a Non-Catalog form for the Supplier you wish to use*, and attach the quotes you obtained from the Suppliers you contacted.   (*If Supplier is not already in MT$ource, create the Non-Catalog form with Supplier Unknown)

If item(s) are not on contract with the State of Tennessee, TBR, MTSU or UTK, Procurement Services will issue an Invitiation to Bid.  After the Bid Closing Date and Review by Procurement Services, bids are forwarded to the Requisitioner.  The Requisitioner will review the bids and make an award recommendation to Procurement Services.  After determining all specifications are met and policies are followed, Procurement Services forwards Purchase Order to the awarded vendor and to the MTSU requisitioner.

* Requisitions are in PDF format and require the user to have Adobe Reader installed on his computer. Reader is free from the Adobe web site.



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