Finance Division

Dollar Limitations

Background

On August 3, 2011, the South Carolina legislature changed the state law on procurement limits for state agencies. Under the new law, purchases over $10,000 will require competitive bids, an increase from the previous limit of $2,500.

Clemson believes this change in the law will greatly simplify the majority of purchases made by the University, by saving time and eliminating paperwork for required bids.  However, at the same time, the University does not believe the law translates as “you can purchase whatever you want up to $10,000.”  The law, as it previously applied to purchases up to $2,500, still says that purchases up to $10,000 must be deemed “fair and reasonable.”  As this dollar limit increases, to deem something “fair and reasonable” still requires some form of price comparison.  While the law may no longer require written bids, Clemson’s policy below is written in a manner where purchases of $10,000 or less still require price references to accurately make the statement that a price is “fair and reasonable.”

POLICY

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.

PROCEDURE

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.