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Policies and Procedures

Policy 1233 – State Term Purchase Contracts

March 1, 1998
Last Updated
July 26, 2010
Responsible University Officer
Director of Purchasing Services
Responsible Unit
Procurement Services

Policy Statement

The North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract establishes term contracts for a wide variety of goods and services. By combining statewide demand for commonly used items into one contract, the division helps users save money and eliminates the need for each agency to solicit separate bids. State purchasing regulations mandate the use of these contracts when purchasing goods or services using public funds.

Reason for Policy

This policy is to ensure compliance with North Carolina purchasing regulations when purchasing goods or services available by term contract.


State term contracts are not required to be used if the source funds used to procure items fall into either of these categories:

  • Are less than 30% appropriated funds.
  • Come from the State General Fund.
  • Are received as tuition.
  • The majority of the source funds (50% or more) used to procure items comes from contract and/or grant funds.

Special Situations

The University may utilize vendors other than those listed on the applicable term contract when the contract contains unnecessary features, omits necessary features, or costs more than the price available through full and open competition. Prior to using an outside vendor the purchaser must follow the guidelines for obtaining a competitive bid and/or using a sole source or brand specific vendor.



Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I can purchase supplies for my lab at a much lower cost and better quality than those I find on the term contract. Is it possible for me to purchase from another vendor?
A: State agencies, universities and community colleges are required to purchase from statewide term contracts. However, universities and community colleges have additional flexibility in their use; universities may purchase an item from sources other than those listed on the contract if they can find a similar item at a lower price than the term contract; and the total price is within their benchmark.

Q: What is the difference between a convenience contract and a term contract?
A: Although state purchasing rules do not define what a “convenience” contract is, it typically means a contract that does not mandate the use of one specific vendor for a particular item.
A term contract covers all normal requirements for a commodity for a specified period of time, based on aggregated estimated quantities. Term contracts are established by the State Division of Purchasing and Contracts or State Information Technology Services for state entities to utilize. When a commodity is covered by a term contract, it is mandatory to purchase from that contract in most cases unless exempted by general statute.

Q: How do I determine which vendor to purchase from when there is more than one vendor listed on the term contract?
A: The purchase may be from any contractor or vendor listed on the term contract for the specific item the vendor is authorized to sell. When selecting a source for an item available from multiple vendors, consider the cost, availability, location, and/or the area of distribution. You are encouraged to use North Carolina vendors whenever possible.

Q: What if the item or product on a state contract does not fit my needs?
A: In this case you must document why a state contract item does not fit your needs and then handle the purchase in accordance with established rules for items not covered by a state contract.

Related Data

North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contracts Administrative Code, Section .1100, .1101 Use of Term Contracts
Current Term Contracts


State Term Contracts Purchasing Services – Goods 919-962-3774 919-962-0636


July 26, 2010
November 13, 2003