Policies & Procedures

NIU Business Procedures Manual

Business Procedures of the University

All purchasing activities for the University community are governed by the Illinois State Procurement Code, effective July 1, 1998, and the Procurement Rules of the Chief Procurement Officer, effective November 20, 1998 as well as University policies and regulations. See Illinois Laws Governing Procurement.

While there are many larger purchases that require the use of the Sealed Bid or Request for Proposal procedures, there are also many other orders for items which local vendors may be able to provide.  Smaller dollar purchases may use some other competitive selection process.  The type of purchase establishes the dollar threshold for an order requiring the use of the formal bidding process, as follows:

  • For Professional and artistic services:
  • For purchases of commodities, equipment and supplies:
    Greater than $55,400 ($55,800 as of July 01, 2015)
  • For construction-type work
    Greater than $77,700 ($78,300 as of July 01, 2015)
  • For Architect/Engineering work:
  • For Real property and Capital Improvement leases:
    $100,000 or more (or 10,000 Sq. ft. or greater)
  • Other exceptions granted to Universities (contact Procurement):

All bids, as well as all awards and special notices, are advertised in the Illinois Higher Education Procurement Bulletin.  This is a web-based Internet site available without charge to all potential bidders.  Notices for upcoming Bids and Requests for Proposal appear in the Procurement Bulletin for a minimum of 14 days.  The University has also recently begun placing entire bids on this web site, available for direct downloading by vendors. The web site is available 24 hours a day and also carried bid notices for the other 12 campuses of Illinois Public Education.  The address for this web site is: www.procure.stateuniv.state.il.us/dsp_browse.cfm?browseMode=inst&univ=NIU.

The Procurement Services Department at NIU is the only department that is authorized to prepare and issue purchase order obligations for the university.

The university's purchasing system requires a formal written purchase authorization in order to initiate a business transaction between a vendor and the university except as noted. Purchases may be made under the P-CARD program or a under a small expenditure pre-approved procurement authorization. See Procurement And Payment To Suppliers Without A Purchase Order. Without a written purchase order prepared by the Procurement Services Department, or an order with a required contract document prepared by the Office of General Counsel Contracts Administrator, the university may not initiate payments on invoices submitted. The university may also not honor invoices dated prior to the issue date of the related university purchase order. 

Where a two-party signed agreement is required, no work on any such procurement should begin until all authorized parties to the contract have signed a formal written document. 

If a vendor ships goods or provides services to the university without having a valid purchase order, the university is not obligated to pay the invoice - only a valid Purchase Order provides that obligation. This is true even if a university employee requests of a potential vendor that items be shipped or services provided.

True emergency situations do occur from time to time that may require goods to be shipped or services performed before a purchase order can be issued. Should that occur, written authorization from the Office of Procurement Services will be required to authorize payment.

Questions or concerns about this policy may be addressed to the Director of Procurement Services or any Buyer in the department.

Businesses interested in becoming vendors are urged to make contact with the office of Procurement Services.  The University is always looking for qualified vendors who can provide quality goods and services required to operate the University.  An important first step for any business desiring significant work with the university is to register as a vendor on the State of Illinois Higher Education Procurement Bulletin.  See the information as follows at http://www.procure.stateuniv.state.il.us/dsp_doingbusiness.cfm and be sure to follow all requirements.

Our address is Lowden Hall 107, DeKalb, IL 60115, as given in the Bidder Application Form.  The main office phone number is 815-753-1671, and hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.