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Policies and Procedures

Policy 1226 – Purchase Authorization

July 1, 1993
Last Updated
July 12, 2010
Responsible University Officer
Director of Purchasing Services
Responsible Unit
Purchasing Services

Policy Statement

Each school, department, and division within the University is given a budgetary allotment for purchases. The administrative head (dean, director, department head) of each area is fiscally responsible for the appropriate use of this allotment and has the sole authority to make purchases. The administrative head may delegate this authority to another University representative to approve charges against the department’s budget; however, this delegation of authority does not relieve or excuse the budgetary head from his/her responsibility for the allotted budget.

A designated principal investigator (PI) authorizes spending of budgeted contract and grant funds. The PI may choose to delegate authority to another University representative to approve charges against a contract or grant under his/her control. As with administrative heads, the delegation of authority does not relieve or excuse the PI from his/her fiscal responsibility for the contract or grant budget.

Reason for Policy

The policy establishes who may authorize purchases on behalf of the University.



Special Situations



  • 1226.1 - Creating a Purchase Requisition

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do departmental personnel have the authority to sign a contract or agreement?
A: No, only a limited number of persons have actual authority to sign on behalf of the University. All contracts and agreements should be sent to Purchasing Services for review and signature.

Q: Our department has funds that were a gift to the University. Do we have to follow the purchasing rules for these funds?
A: All expenditures of public funds for the purchase of supplies and services, no matter the source, are to be handled under the provisions of, and in accordance with, the rules adopted by the State Division of Purchase and Contract.

Q: As a principal investigator and researcher, I have earned a grant to fund my research. Since this money was given to me for my work, why can’t I purchase from the vendor of my choice?
A: The expenditure of all funds on deposit with the University, no matter the source, is governed by the provisions of the State Division of Purchase and Contract.

Q: Why is the Small Purchasing Policy limited to $2,500 on federal funds, but extends to $5,000 for all other funding sources?
A: Federal funds are governed by the rules established by the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations), and the benchmark set is different than that of the N.C. Administrative Code and N.C. General Statutes.

Q: Why do I need to get authorization to purchase goods or services in excess of $5,000? All the paperwork and bureaucracy makes the process so time consuming.
A: Authorization is required to ensure adherence to State statutes and in maintaining sensible, effective internal control. Contracts of suppliers who do not have to accept returns usually contain language that increases the difficulty of pursuing that vendor in court. In addition to ensuring the University receives the best value through open competition, required authorization and rules governing state agency purchasing provides Purchasing Services with information on a vendor’s historical performance, financial status, and other important factors that mitigate the risk of receipt of faulty goods.

Related Data

01 NCAC 05b.0300 – North Carolina Administrative Code for Procurement Authorization and Procedures
G.S. 116-31.10
- Statutory Authority and NC Administrative Code


Authorized purchase of goods and services Purchasing Services 919-962-3774 919-962-0636


July 12, 2010
November 12, 2003