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 at $500 or more
  • Tagging all items valued at $500 or more
  • Tagging selected "high theft potential" items regardless of acquisition cost
  • Providing departmental tags (upon request) for items under a $500 value
  • Coordinating annual department equipment inventory verification
  • Authorizing transfer of equipment
  • Surplus equipment

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

The Property Control Department tags furniture and equipment costing $500 or more with a white bar-coded label showing a six-digit identification number and the words, "Property of, Northern Illinois University." The NIU tag numbers identify the items so they can be cross-referenced to the purchase order on which an item was acquired. Identification numbers are applied to furniture and equipment using either a label, an indelible marking pen, or both.

Items costing less than $500 are not normally tagged by the Property Control Department. An exception is made for items classified as "High Theft Potential" items. Such items are tagged regardless of acquisition cost. Examples of these types of items are antiques and firearms.

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. 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. Discrepancies are to be reported on Form 15, which can be downloaded, filled in and emailed back or printed and sent to Property Control.

Property Control assists departments in locating missing inventory or otherwise helps to resolve any other differences. A random sampling of capital assets is inventoried every year by employees of the Property Control department. Each department, however, conducts an annual inventory of all their assets (100%).

Upon request, the Property Control Department will update a department's inventory following a physical move to another location. A list of assets will be sent to the responsible officer of that department. The responsible officer will identify those assets they wish to retain and those assets they wish to surplus. 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 or have been removed from that location by university movers for surplus.

The Property Control Department must be contacted first when a department wishes to have assigned equipment:

  • Transferred permanently to another department
  • Surplused and removed from inventory
  • Transferred from one inventory location to another
  • Transferred from the surplus equipment pool to their inventory location

In such instances, the Property Control Department will initiate the necessary equipment transfer authorization, a copy of which will be supplied to the university's movers to allow the move to be scheduled. The requesting department will also receive a copy when the university movers complete the work.

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 a 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 (3-year maximum)
    • Property loaned to non-NIU personnel
  • Short-term/frequent off-campus property control log
    • Intended for durations of up to one semester

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. Please print/write legibly.
  3. 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.
  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 is completed and signed, send a copy to the responsible officer.
    • The responsible officer will send a copy to Property Control for their records.
  6. When equipment is returned to campus, fill in the actual return date and notify the responsible officer.

Instructions for completing the Short-term/Frequent Off-Campus Property Control log (PDF):

  • Complete all information. Items should not be removed from campus prior to recording all information with the department-authorized log maintainer.
  • 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, 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
  • Complete an annual inventory verification of equipment as required by Property Control and complete the 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.

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:

"By signing this form, requesters 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. Requesters 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 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 as code M-5 (missing) or M-8 (other) during the current inventory cycle. Completion of the Missing Asset Internal Investigation Form is not optional; it is required. A sample form is provided to help you better understand how the form should be completed.

(Effective: November 1, 2016)

JCAR Title 44, Section 5010.210.c “Marking of State-Owned Equipment” – Equipment with a value of $500 or more and equipment that is subject to theft with a value less than $500 must be marked with a unique identification number to be assigned by the agency holding the property. Each agency is responsible for adopting policies clearly delineating categories of equipment considered to be subject to theft.”

JCAR Title 44, Section 5010.220 “Inventory of Equipment” – states “all equipment with an acquisition value of $500 or more and equipment that is subject to theft with a value less than $500 must be reported to CMS by the holding agency.”

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)
  • Projectors
  • Firearms
  • Antiques

Property Control retains usable office furniture and equipment for redistribution within the University. These items are available to be seen on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, or by appointment. You may also submit a request to Property Control for surplus items you are looking for. Please use the Surplus Item Request form to submit a request.

Equipment owned by the university which has become obsolete, damaged or broken, worn out, or is no longer needed by a department should be surplused in a timely manner. To surplus equipment, the department should prepare an email and send it to the Property Control Department Property_Control@niu.edu. The email should contain the following information:

  • NIU inventory number (if applicable)
  • Description (i.e. secretarial chair, black, AllSteel, etc.)
  • General condition or usability
  • Reason for scrapping or surplusing
  • Department name
  • Building and room number where the equipment is located
  • Contact person's name and phone number

Property Control will then prepare an equipment transfer authorization form and arrange for the item to be picked up and removed surplus items that are found to be in good condition are stored in the surplus viewing area in Materials Management for repurposing within the university. Other items will be evaluated for either transfer to the state property control division in Springfield or for scrapping. View the scrap metal recycling policy.

Departments are responsible for the emptying of the contents of all file cabinets, storage devices, desks, furniture, etc. in advance of surplussing the items. Surplus should be stored in a manner so that it does not pose a safety hazard until it is picked up. If temporary storage boxes are needed, please contact Distribution Services at Distribution_Service@niu.edu. Request Tyga boxes and carts. These can be delivered by Distribution Services.

Computer Systems with Hard Drives

State of Illinois Public Acts (93-0306, 96-0045 and 97-0390) and the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees approval to implement a new policy effective 1-04-2010 requires that all hard drives returned with surplus electronic data processing equipment be wiped clean of all data and software by overwriting every track at least ten (10) times and certifying in writing that this process has been completed. NIU Property Control will only accept complete systems that have been certified by attaching a sticker (available from Property Control) with the Agency name, serial #, NIU asset tag #, application used to overwrite, Name of person overwriting the disk, date, and signature of certifier. This sticker must be applied on the left-hand side of the face of the unit. Laptops must be labeled on the topside of its cover.

All of the electronic data processing equipment that belongs with the system should be returned whole and intact. If the hard drive has been removed or is not operating and unable to be wiped clean, the certification label must state that the hard drive was removed or is not operable.

All requests for surplus electronic data processing equipment must comply with these procedures and be properly labeled before NIU Property Control and Materials Management personnel will be able to pick-up these items from the departments.

Surplus Item(s) Request

Property Control retains usable office furniture and equipment for redistribution within the University. These items are available to be seen on Tuesday mornings between 8 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. and Thursday afternoons from 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., or by appointment. You may also submit a request to Property Control for surplus items you are looking for. Please use the Surplus Item Request form to submit a request. We will monitor surplus to see if we can fulfill your request.

Furniture Resale Program

If you’ve been unable to find what you are looking for in surplus, check out the furniture resale program run by Furniture Repair. They resell new and lightly used items, refurbish items that come through surplus. If we do not have what you are looking for in Furniture Resale, we can check with local suppliers to see if we can find something to fit your needs.

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