- Office of General Counsel
- Contracting at NIU
Contracting at NIU
If you enter into contracts on behalf of the university or assist with the contracting process, you are responsible for following university policies and procedures, as well as applicable laws and regulations. Your compliance with university requirements helps ensure that the university's interests are protected and that the university does not assume inappropriate risks.
Please familiarize yourself with the information about university contracts and the contracting process.
What is a Contract?
A contract is an agreed set of terms and conditions governing the relationship between two or more parties. A contract may be called by many different names, for example an agreement, letter of agreement or memorandum of agreement, or have a title that does not include the term "contract" or "agreement". As used within the OGC Contracts Procedures, the terms "university contract" and "contract" include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Memoranda of understanding/agreement
- Letters of intent
- Settlements of disputes
- Affiliation agreements
- Liability waivers
- Assignments of rights
- Licensing agreements
A university contract may be legally binding even if no monetary payment is involved.
A university contract does not include contracts entered into between departments or units within the university, contracts entered into by or for entities that are legally separate from the university or contracts entered into by student organizations.
Types of Contracts
There are two types of university contracts, procurement and non-procurement.
A procurement contract (1) either commits funds from the university or is revenue-generating or zero-dollar, and (2) involves a vendor or service provider (a person or entity that provides goods or services to the university). Procurement Services and Contract Management is responsible for reviewing and managing procurement contracts.
A non-procurement contract is revenue-generating or zero-dollar and does not involve a vendor or service provider. The Office of General Counsel is responsible for reviewing and managing the legal review of certain non-procurement contracts. Other university units, such as Sponsored Programs Administration and Human Resource Services, have contracting responsibilities for certain types of non-procurement contracts relevant to their areas of expertise.
Online Process for Contract Review Requests
In January 2019, NIU launched a new online submission process for review requests for non-procurement contracts. The new process will be applied to procurement contracts at a future date.
The new process standardizes the way review requests are submitted and captures the key information needed to complete a contract. It will help the university ensure that contracts are properly vetted and comply with legal and university requirements.
The process has the following additional benefits:
- Provides a clear and consistent contract submission and routing process.
- Provides new online guidance and resources related to the university contracting process.
- Sends automated confirmations and reminders (for saved forms) to requesting departments to help keep contracts on track.
- Affirms each department's role and responsibilities in the contracting process.
- Helps ensure that contracts are ready for review when submitted.
- Increases the thoroughness and accuracy of information provided in review requests, which helps produce contracts which more effectively protect the interests of the university.
- The new form asks for the same information that has always been required to process a contract.
- The form includes confirmations at the end which check that appropriate steps have been followed, the requesting department understands its responsibilities, and the contract is ready for review.
- The new process does not change other existing contract procedures. It only changes the way contract review requests are initially submitted.
Request OGC Contract Review
- Non-procurement Contract Review Request Form
- Instructions for completing Non-procurement Contract Review Request Form (PDF)
Note: this form should only be submitted for the review of a non-procurement contract generally handled by the OGC.