Suppliers & Contracts Policy

Policy Section
Buying and Paying

Effective Date
January 18, 1995
Last Updated
September 4, 2019
Responsible Executive
Vice President for Finance and Treasurer
Responsible Office
Procurement Services
Jason Knoch
Assistant Vice President for Financial Services
(609) 258-9181


Supplier contracts have been negotiated by Procurement Services to identify preferred sources of supply that offer the best possible pricing to all University departments. All University departments are encouraged to order goods and services from preferred contract suppliers for the University.

II. Who is Affected by this Policy

Anyone purchasing goods or services on behalf of the University.

III. Definitions

Approved Supplier

An external party that maintains an ongoing relationship with the customer to provide relatively common or standard goods or services.

Contract Supplier

A Supplier who provides goods or services under a non-competitive contract with University.


An operating unit of the University.

Preferred Supplier

A Supplier who provides goods or services under a competitively bid contract with the University.

IV. Policy

Departments should first try to use an existing Preferred or Contract Supplier before entering into an agreement with another supplier. Competitive bids are not required when purchasing directly from Contract Suppliers.

If a department identifies a potential supplier or purchases goods or services repeatedly from the same supplier, the department should contact Procurement Services to explore whether it would be beneficial to establish a contract pricing agreement with this supplier.

It is critical to formalize an agreement with the other party in a written contract that clarifies each party’s obligations and includes provisions that comply with University contracting requirements.  University employees, including officers, faculty and staff, may bind the University only if they have been delegated specific authorization to do so.  Written contracts and agreements for the purchase of goods and services are legally binding and therefore should be signed by an individual with the appropriate level of transaction authority.  In order to determine which individuals have authority to bind the University, please refer to the University's Transaction Authority Policy.

Certain provisions require further review or approval by other University departments, such as Environmental Health and Safety, Risk Management, or the Office of the General Counsel.   Procurement Services can help navigate the University’s contracting requirements, provide University-approved contract forms that can be adapted to your purposes, and assist in negotiating specific contract terms.  For additional information and guidance on written contracts, please refer to the Contracting Website.

The University will not do business with a supplier who is debarred or suspended from doing business with the Federal government.

Prior to contacting a supplier to purchase commonly used equipment, departments should review the Resource Recovery Program web listing to manage demand, avoid unnecessary purchases, and limit quantities ordered. Federally funded contracts require that the Resource Recovery Program be considered prior to acquiring new equipment.

The University provides many goods and services for less than an individual order placed with a third party  - for example: restaurant services, communications, and media services. University services should be considered as a first source for the purchase of goods and services.

When purchasing any good or service, keep the University’s sustainability efforts in mind by seeking recycled and environment friendly products. Recycled office supplies are available from WB Mason, the University's preferred contract supplier for office paper and supplies.  It is Princeton University policy to purchase and use 100% post-consumer paper for all general office needs.


Commitment to supplier diversity is the responsibility of every staff member who secures products and services, and who makes purchasing decisions for the University.  It is essential that each individual considers diverse firms for contracting opportunities.  Broadening the supplier pool means better service and value for the University, and supports the University’s overall mission.


Internet auctions and private seller transaction may be an acceptable method for acquiring new or used equipment and supplies provided that buyers first contact Procurement Services.

Purchasing new or used equipment via Internet auctions or through private sellers often has potential trade-offs with product performance (i.e., guarantees, returns, warrantees, added shipping costs, etc.). Auction suppliers or private sellers may have specific requirements for participation that do not comply with University purchasing policy. The following issues must be considered before a department attempts to purchase any item through an Internet auction:

  • The auction must comply with the University’s Transaction Authority Policy.
  • The purchaser must ensure the following for all auctions:
    • The requirements for competition have been satisfied
    • All negotiations are conducted according to established purchasing policies
    • No conflict of interest is present
    • The items are for University business purposes
    • Other University purchasing policies are followed
    • Compliant with the capital equipment policy

All suppliers must be in compliance with University insurance requirements set out in the University Insurance Requirements Policy and on the Contracting Website.

In-Transit Insurance
Princeton University’s property insurance policy provides in-transit coverage for property owned or leased by the University. The University’s fine arts insurance policy provides in-transit coverage for fine arts owned by the University, and fine arts on loan to the University under a loan agreement.

In general, the shipper will provide coverage FOB point of origin and the carrier is responsible for coverage as required by SEC regulations. In the event of a loss, departments will be charged a $1,000 deductible. The Department is responsible for notifying the Department of Risk Management when the total value of a shipment exceeds the property insurance deductible amount of $250,000. The Department of Risk Management will determine whether additional coverage is needed.

Vehicles - Purchased and Long Term Lease
All vehicles purchased or leased by Princeton University will be registered to "The Trustees of Princeton University" by Procurement Services in compliance with New Jersey regulations. Procurement Services will add all purchased and leased vehicles to the University’s automobile liability policy.




Revision Log

9/14/19 - Responsible Office/Contact information: Update to Procurement Services.
Definitions: Remove “Asset”; Remove unnecessary language from “Department”; Add “Approved Supplier”, “Contract Supplier”, and “Preferred Supplier”.
Policy: Update to Procurement Services; Remove outdated text and references to programs; general updates to current terminology and practices (WB Mason, Surplus to Resource Recovery, Small and disadvantages business to diverse suppliers, Princeton Environmental Oversight Committee (PEOC) to Princeton Sustainability Committee, Project grants, Updated content from Risk Management, General removal of redundancies and overall editing for easier readability and comprehension.); New Supplier Contracts – new language --Written contracts and agreements for the purchase of goods and services are legally binding and therefore should be signed by an individual with the appropriate level of transaction authority; Section for “In-Transit Insurance” placed before section for “Vehicles - Purchased and Long Term Lease” per Risk Management.
10/1/18 - Updated Executive Sponsor listing.
3/15/18 - Update name of Surplus Program to Resource Recovery Program, per Facilities.
6/26/13 - Updated link to contract suppliers.
2/25/11 - No change to policy or substance; revised organization and language for web-based policy library.
1/18/95 - Approved