Property Control

Property Control is responsible for overseeing and keeping records of university owned equipment. We keep a running inventory and report changes to the State of Illinois, Property Control Division in Springfield. Responsibilities include:

  • Maintaining a complete listing of all items valued greater than $2,500
  • Tagging all items valued greater than $2,500
  • Tagging selected "high theft potential" items regardless of acquisition cost
  • Providing departmental tags (upon request) 
  • Coordinating annual department equipment inventory verification
  • Authorizing transfer of equipment
  • Surplus equipment

We expect NIU employees to protect the university equipment under their control, regardless of its cost. To help secure state property:

  • Avoid leaving offices or classrooms unlocked while unattended.
  • Secure small and valuable equipment when not in use.
  • Promptly report stolen equipment to Property Control and the Department of Police and Public Safety.

Each year, an annual physical inventory of tagged assets is performed by many people on campus who are responsible for assets/equipment. Inventory records are captured and stored in PeopleSoft FMS Asset Tracking.

At the start of the physical inventory cycle, responsible/secondary officers will receive an email containing information regarding the inventory cycle (due dates, missing assets reporting, etc.) and their asset listing in Excel format. A separate email is sent for each sector, so you will receive multiple emails if you have multiple sectors.

If you have multiple sectors that you are responsible for, you can add together your total assets from all sectors to help you determine your inventory due date. Inventory due dates are divided into five groups based on the total number of items assigned to each responsible officer. The total amount of assets determine the due date of the inventory:

  • 1–100 items
  • 101–300 items
  • 301–600 items
  • 601–900 items
  • 901 items or more

The more items, the longer the responsible officer will have to complete their inventory.

Training Materials

It is strongly encouraged that responsible and secondary officers review the below training materials.

Three manuals have been created, along with reference guides and tools, to assist you with the new process:

Asset Tracking Webinar (video) – March 31, 2022

Physical Inventory Process PowerPoint Presentation from Webinar – March 24, 2022

An equipment item is a movable or fixed unit of furniture or furnishings, an instrument, a machine, an apparatus, or a set of articles that generally retains its original shape and appearance with use, has a normal useful life of more than two years, is non-consumable, costs greater than $2,500 and does not lose its identity through incorporation into a different or more complex unit or substance.

NIU uses tags to identify and monitor equipment. The tag an item receives is based on its cost.

Equipment Worth Greater Than $2,500

Property Control tags equipment greater than $2,500 with a white bar-coded label including a six-digit identification number and the words "Property of Northern Illinois University." This number allows an item to be cross-referenced with a purchase order. Numbers are applied to equipment with a label and/or an indelible marking pen.

Equipment Worth $2,500 or Less

Property Control does not tag equipment that costs $2,500 or less. However, such equipment is still valuable, and the purchasing department should tag it with a green label reading "Property of Northern Illinois University." These labels are available for free from Property Control. Keep them on hand so you can tag new equipment when it arrives.

Supervisors should inform employees who have the authority to purchase equipment (through the requisition process, with a P-Card, etc.) of this procedure.

Items with High Theft Potential

Property Control tags all items identified as "high theft," regardless of cost. More information is available in the High Theft Items Policy below.

The State Property Control Act includes a provision that each year a physical inventory is to be made for all items and a full accounting of errors or exceptions reported to the state. Each department conducts an annual physical inventory of all their assets. Therefore, the university prepares a complete listing of all equipment each year. The lists are sent to those individuals who are accountable for the equipment, and it is their responsibility to report to the Property Control Department any differences between the published list and the actual inventory. Missing or stolen assets are to be reported on Form 15, which can be downloaded, filled in and emailed to Property Control or printed and sent to Property Control.

Property Control assists departments in locating missing inventory or helps to resolve any other property discrepancies.

Annual inventory process and best practices

When a move occurs and the assets remain in the same sector, responsible officer's much change the location of the item in Asset Tracking. Those assets left in the old location will remain the department's responsibility until Property Control has received proper notification that they have been transferred to another department (Department Transfer form required) or have been removed from that location for surplus.

The Property Control department must be contacted first, if you would like to make changes to assigned equipment within your department.

Transfers/Changes Within the University

  • Transfer from one inventory location to another
  • Transfer permanently to another NIU department
  • Surplus and remove from department inventory
  • In such instances, the Property Control department will initiate the necessary equipment transfer authorization, a copy of which will be supplied to Distribution Services to allow the pick-up to be scheduled.
  • Transfer from the surplus equipment pool in the Dorland building to a department inventory location (Property Control personnel will complete the necessary paperwork for the transfer and coordinate delivery through Distribution Services)

Transfers Outside of the University to Another Agency or Organization

  • Appropriate authorization from a dean or assistant or associate vice president must be received by the Property Control department in order to initiate an exemption request from the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS).
  • Information required to process the request includes, but not limited to:
  • Reason(s) as to how this benefits the university and State
  • Name of organization to receive property along with the address and contact information
  • CMS has 30 days to rule on the request for exemption. If an exemption was denied, we would have seven days from receipt of the denial to supply additional information to make our case that the transfer would be the best benefit to the state and university.
  • Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) exemption information

The private and/or personal use of university property is expressly prohibited; however, situations may arise where university responsibilities can justify the temporary use of portable equipment off-campus. The criteria for off-campus usage is more efficient utilization of university resources and not the personal convenience of the employee.

Off-Campus Property Control Procedure

JCAR Title 44, Section 5010.470, "Reporting ‘on location’ equipment for annual inventory report" requires that property used off-campus be documented to ensure appropriate control. Realizing that most equipment taken off-campus for university missions are either used for long periods under one borrower/holder or used for short and/or frequent periods by multiple borrowers/holders, two control forms are available for use.

  • Long-term off-campus property control form.
    • Intended for durations longer than a semester (three-year maximum).
    • Property loaned to non-NIU personnel.
  • Short-term/frequent off-campus property control log.
    • Intended for durations of up to one semester.
Long-term Off-Campus Property

Instructions for completing the Long-term Off-Campus Property Control form:

  1. Complete all information. Items should not be removed from campus prior to receiving approval from the dean or associate vice president (or designee).
  2. Complete anticipated return date with a date that is within three years or less from the request date. If the equipment will be used in multiple locations, a home address may be used as a default address.
  3. If this request is for multiple NIU tagged items, please submit another request form for each additional piece of NIU tagged equipment.
  4. Be specific about the purpose for borrowing University equipment for off-campus use. (For property being loaned to a non-NIU employee, justification must accompany the request explaining the need for NIU property to be used by non-NIU individuals. These requests must be renewed annually, so the anticipated return date should be one year or less.)
  5. After the form has been submitted in OnBase and approved by your dean or associate vice president, it will be routed to the responsible officer and then finally to Property Control.
  6. When equipment is returned to campus the borrower must notify the responsible officer with the actual return date and name of employee they returned the equipment to. The responsible officer should notify Property Control with this information. Property Control will enter the actual return information on the form. When this is complete, the responsible officer will receive a confirmation email.
Short-term/Frequent Off-campus

Instructions for short-term/frequent off-campus use of property:

  • The responsible officer (or designee) must maintain a log of equipment that is checked out for short periods of time.
  • Items should not be removed from campus prior to recording all information with the department-authorized log maintainer. A sample log can be obtained from Property Control.
  • Responsible officers should retain the logs for a period of one year from the last entry on the log.

Responsible officers have delegated the responsibility of maintaining proper accountability and control of the equipment within their inventory sector(s). Responsible officers have the following responsibilities regarding the off-campus use of university equipment:

  • Ensure that forms are completed properly and renewed timely.
  • When renewing the long-term request, a new form must be completed to maintain the accuracy of records. Maintaining a tickler file of expiring authorizations is a recommended best practice.
  • Complete an annual inventory verification of equipment as required by Property Control and complete form 15 by the due date.
  • Know the location of all equipment inventoried and assure that the equipment is reasonably secure from possible theft or hazards.
  • Assure that assigned equipment is being used in the best interest of the university.
  • Monitor use of short-term/frequent off-campus property control logs.

Note: Long-term off-campus Property Control forms are used to track tagged items. If someone is removing untagged items to be used off campus, the department should track these items internally to ensure proper care and return of these items after use.

Under both long and short-term off-campus use of university property, the person borrowing the equipment is responsible for reasonable care. To emphasize this responsibility each form contains the following acknowledgment:

"I understand by providing my full name below, I acknowledge responsibility for safeguarding the equipment and the potential liability for any costs of damage or replacing the equipment if it is lost, stolen or damaged beyond repair. I also acknowledge that equipment is being used for official purposes and not for private/personal use. Additional acceptable-use guidance for information, computing and communication resources is located in the Acceptable Use Policy."

Responsible officers have the following responsibilities regarding the off-campus use of university equipment:

  • Ensure that forms are completed properly, renewed and copies of the long-term forms are forwarded to Property Control for awareness.
  • When renewing the long-term authorization, a new form must be completed to maintain the accuracy of records. Maintaining a tickler file of expiring authorizations is a recommended best practice.
  • Monitor use of short-term/frequent off-campus property control logs.
  • Complete an annual inventory verification of equipment as required by Property Control and complete the form 15 by the due date.
  • Complete "Missing Asset Internal Investigation" form for all items marked as "missing" on Form 15.
  • Know the location of all equipment inventoried and assure that the equipment is reasonably secure from possible theft or hazards.
  • Assure that assigned equipment is being used in the best interest of the university.
  • Report to Property Control any items you wish to transfer to another department, donate or surplus.

Departments receiving any gift of equipment must notify the NIU Foundation of the donation and provide that office with the following information:

  • College and department
  • Date gift was received
  • Fair value of the gift determined by appraisal of current market value
  • Description of gift
  • From whom the gift was received

The Foundation office will notify Property Control if the gift is to be tagged and registered as state property with the Department of Central Management Services - Property Control Division in Springfield. Once tagged the equipment becomes the property of the State of Illinois and Northern Illinois University, and cannot be disposed of without written authorization by the Property Control Department.

University personnel who bring personal property to campus do so at their own risk. Personal property of any individual brought to university premises is the responsibility of the individual. The university can assume no liability for loss, theft or damage. Such property should bear a note or tag showing that it is personal property and listing the owner's name. Employees desiring to protect their personal property from damage or loss should make their own arrangements for insurance.

When equipment appears to be stolen, a report must be filed immediately with the NIU Police Department, with a copy to the Property Control Department, indicating the NIU tag number, description of the missing item(s), and circumstances leading to the disappearance. If the item is later located, both the NIU Police Department and the Property Control Department must be notified. For items that have gone missing, responsible officers must complete a "Missing Asset Internal Investigation Form" and submit the form to Property Control.

In an effort to improve controls on assets we will require that a Missing Asset Internal Investigation form be completed for all items reported missing or stolen during the current inventory cycle. Completion of the Missing Asset Internal Investigation Form is not optional; it is required.

Last updated Feb. 17, 2023

Marking of State-Owned Equipment (JCAR Title 44, Section 5010.210.c)

Equipment with a value that is greater than the nominal value and equipment that is subject to theft with a value less than that nominal value must be marked with a unique identification number to be assigned by the agency holding the property. The administrator has determined that all agencies shall consider all vehicles and firearms to be subject to theft. Additionally, each agency is responsible for adopting policies clearly delineating categories of equipment considered to be subject to theft. (Updated 5/3/19)

Inventory of Equipment (JCAR Title 44, Section 5010.220)

All equipment with an acquisition value greater than the nominal value and equipment that is subject to theft with a value less than that nominal value must be reported to CMS by the holding agency. Equipment with an acquisition value of less than the nominal value that is not subject to theft is not subject to reporting; however, agencies will be responsible for establishing and maintaining internal control over these items. (Updated 5/3/19)

According to JCAR, it is up to each agency to determine what items are considered high theft. Based on inventory reported missing through the annual inventory process the following items are considered high theft and must be tagged regardless of acquisition value. These items will be inventoried each inventory cycle to ensure that the items are accounted for.

  • Portable electronics – laptops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets
  • Computers (PC’s)
  • Firearms
  • Vehicles

Please follow P-Card procedures for all equipment purchases (account code beginning 88).