Finance Division

Procurement In A Nutshell

Clemson University is a State Agency and must comply with the SC Procurement Code, utilize established State contracts when available, and allow for transparency on all purchases.

Where do I start?

If you are using 100% Clemson Foundation funds, State Procurement rules (and the information below) may not apply.  Contact your business office for specific processes.

If you are using any funds that are NOT Clemson Foundation, including grant funding, self-generated funds, etc..., then the following rules apply.

What is buyWays?

buyWays is Clemson's online catalog and ordering solution. This electronic requisitioning tool helps you to quickly locate best pricing with our preferred suppliers, find an item available through Clemson and state contracts, compare products across suppliers and much more.

All Clemson employees should have access to buyWays to shop and search contracts.  For more information on buyWays, gaining access, and how to get started in buyWays, click here

What's on Contract?

Some major commodities on State or CU Contracts (aka: Agency Contracts) are:

Office supplies, paper, computers, furniture, lab equipment/supplies, printers, software, vehicles, video conferencing equipment, etc. These MUST be purchased from our established contracts.

To start your search for contract items or what you may need, go to buyWays and use the search function to search for goods, services, vendors or contracts specifically.  Note, contracts are searchable in buyWays by keyword.  If you don't find what you are looking for on first attempt, try using alternate descriptions.  If your item is very unique, chances are there may not be a contract for it.

Procurement dollar amount limits:

The following general guidelines* apply to purchases based on dollar limitations. 

a. Purchases less than $2,500 – may be made without securing competitive bids if the prices are considered to be fair and reasonable.

b. Purchases from $2,500.01 to $10,000 – require a minimum of three (3) price references.  These need not be written quotes, but can be quotes, internet pricing, prices on the internet, email, vendor catalog, or telephones quotes.  In cases where it is impractical or not possible to get price quotes, approval of a purchase may be granted by Procurement Services with appropriate justification showing affirmation that the price is fair and reasonable.  The vendors/references and prices must be noted on the purchase requisition or in p-card supporting paperwork.

c. Purchases from $10,000.01 to $50,000 – require written solicitation via written quotes, bids, or proposals. Such solicitation must be advertised at least once in South Carolina Business Opportunities. Documentation shall be attached to the file copy of the purchase order. The award shall be made to the lowest responsive and responsible source or, when a request for proposal process is used, the highest ranking offeror.

d. Purchases from $50,000.01 to $2,000,000 – require written solicitation of written sealed bids. Such solicitation must be advertised at least once in South Carolina Business Opportunities. Such documentation shall be attached to the file copy of the purchase order. The award date must be announced at the bid opening and publicly posted. The award or intent-to-award will be posted and sent to all responding Offerors for any procurement exceeding $50,000 or $100,000 respectively.

e. Purchases of $100,000 or more must be approved by the appropriate vice president, the chief business officer or the president of the University by action of the Board.

f. Purchases over $2,000,000 – shall be sent to the State Procurement Office in compliance with the Code, using the SCIES requisition process.

* Note - purchases off existing contracts, sole sources and emergency procurements (when justified) do not have dollar limitations other than the $100,000 approval above. 

* Procurement Certification Authority can be found on the Contact Us web page.

2 Ways to Pay for Purchase

All purchases, regardless of dollar value, should be made using either a requisition in buyWays or with a p-card if appropriate. 

For P-card purchases, card holders should continue to follow the published Procurement Card Policies and Procedures.  P-card limits may be increased up to a single purchase limit of $10,000 for one-time purchases by requesting permission from the P-card Administrator.

For all non P-card purchases, a requisition should be entered in buyWays using the appropriate form, catalog, or punchout.  Purchases will route for approval and processing based on the dollar limits above.

See the Decision Tree for a detailed decision making process.


Certain purchases are exempt from following the State Procurement Code and associated dollar limits and processes.  Exempt purchases that may exceed the limits above include utility bills, registration fees, research animals, purchase for resale, etc...  For a complete list of exemptions, click here.  To order using one of these exemptions, you may utilize a p-card (based on your p-card transaction limit), issue a PO (by selecting the appropriate exemption on the requisition) or by completing a direct payment form in buyWays.

Other items that may not have to adhere to the limits and bidding requirements include Sole Source procurement, Emergency procurements,(add links for both of these to the appropriate policy) and Grant Specified Procurement  (see Procurement Certification form in buyWays for details).  In addition, for purchases off already existing contracts (that were already competed by Clemson or the State) you need only to simply choose the appropriate contract number in your buyWays purchase requisition.

Unauthorized Procurement

An act obligating Clemson University in a contract by any person not authorized to do so in accordance with Clemson University procurement policies and procedures. Must write letter to Procurement Director and President of the University must ratify the purchase. Examples are non-exempt purchases > $2,500 and multiple planned purchases that exceed $2,500.