Capital Equipment

LAST UPDATED: September 8, 2015

What You Should Know

Capital equipment is defined as items of tangible personal property that individually cost more than $5,000 and have a useful life of more than one year. The $5,000 threshold includes the item itself, expenditures necessary to put the item in place, and ancillary charges such as taxes, duty, protective in-transit insurance, freight, and installation costs. For example, the capital expenditure for a piece of equipment includes the cost of any modifications, attachments, accessories, and auxiliary apparatus necessary to make it usable as well as the cost of shipping and installation.

Many capital items are available through our contract suppliers in Prime Financials and the Prime Marketplace; some of our suppliers will manufacture custom items. Capital acquisitions are identified in the PeopleSoft system and the Marketplace, and then transferred to the asset inventory system.

Please review the Capital Equipment Policy prior to purchasing. When you purchase a capital item, purchasing will issue an asset detail sheet and a bar-coded tag that you must affix to the item. Return the detail sheet, along with any noted discrepancies, to purchasing. Purchasing will perform periodic capital asset inventories using this information.

Items that departments no longer use must be turned over to the surplus program so the University capital asset records can be updated and the items can be redeployed to other departments, sold, donated, or scrapped. Purchasing manages this program to ensure that federal acquisition, funding and disposal regulations are met.

How to Buy Capital Equipment

Capital equipment must be purchased using the requisition process in Prime Financials. Many of our contract suppliers accessed directly through Prime Financials or the Prime Marketplace carry capital equipment frequently purchased by the University.

University Credit Cards cannot be used for capital equipment purchases.

All capital equipment purchases made by Princeton University are subject to pre-purchase screening by purchasing as required by federal regulations. This is necessary to avoid acquiring duplicative items and to check for availability within federal agencies. In addition, if sponsored funds are used to purchase property, there may be other pre-purchase considerations, such as title (ownership), taxability, and approval to purchase. Specific requirements are identified in each sponsored project agreement and will be routed to ORPA for approval as necessary.

Before you buy new capital equipment, consider items from our surplus program.

For more information


Tel (609) 258-3080
Fax (609) 258-0442

Princeton University
Office of Finance & Treasury
701 Carnegie Center
Princeton, NJ 08540

Google Map
Princeton Shuttle


7 New South
Tel (609) 258-3080
Fax (609) 258-5040
Open Monday through Friday,
8:45 am — 5:00 pm


Customer service, cashiering,
check pick-up, financial system access


The General Ledger is your link to updates on people, policies, and other information related to financial transactions at the University.

Download Current Issue
Download Past Issues


How can we better serve you? Submit comments, questions, and ideas to our customer service department.