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Making Purchases: How to Buy


Learn how to purchase what you need to carry on the college’s mission.

Purchasing Guidelines


All purchases made using state funds are subject to the New York state finance law and rules and regulations promulgated by the Office of the State Comptroller (“OSC”). They are also subject to procedures developed by SUNY and/or the university.

OSC performs pre- and post-audits on various transactions processed by the purchasing office. OSC has the authority to approve or deny payments and/or contracts.

Who is Authorized to Purchase?


Only the director of contracts and purchasing services is authorized to sign a purchase order or contract to commit a financial obligation on behalf of the college.

Contracts, agreements, licenses and any other contractual document requiring a college representative to sign must be reviewed and signed by the purchasing office. It is in violation of NYS finance laws to procure a service or commodity without acquiring necessary approvals and documents in advance.

Competitive Purchases


The purchasing office has available a wide variety of primary and open market sources for competitive purchases. Below is a prioritized list of sources for making competitive purchases.

Making a Competitive Purchase

Threshold for Open Market Sources


The total amount of the purchase represents the total financial obligation incurred by the college. In a multi-year contract, the obligation incurred over the entire contract term must be considered, rather than the annual amount alone.

This table has been developed to assist departments with understanding New York State Procurement Requirements. It provides a general overview of requirements when purchasing commodities, services, construction, and constructed-related services from the open market. Different rules govern the purchase from NYS Preferred Sources; New York State Centralized Contracts; as well as emergency, single source, or sole source procurements.1

Purchase Amount Advertising Competitive Selection Outside Prior Approval M/WBE Goals
Purchases up to $2,500.00 No publication in New York State Contract Reporter required No competitive selection required. However, the department should take steps to ensure price is reasonable and be able to justify, if requested.  No outside approval generally required No M/WBE goals required
$2500.01 to $10,000.00 No publication in New York State Contract Reporter required No competitive selection required. However, a Vendor Selection and Price Justification Checklist must be completed.  No outside approval generally required No M/WBE goals required
$10,000.01 to $49,999.99 Quarterly publication in New York State Contract Reporter required No competitive selection required. However, a Vendor Selection and Price Justification Checklist must be completed.  No outside approval generally required M/WBE goals required for service, commodity, and construction-related service contracts. Construction contracts exceeding $100,000 must also have M/WBE goals
$50,000.00 to $125,000.00 15-day notice in New York State Contract Reporter required Competitive selection required. Must solicit a minimum of three informal quotations from vendors. No outside approval generally required M/WBE goals required
$125,000.01 to $249,999.99 15-day notice in New York State Contract Reporter required Competitive selection generally required. Must solicit a minimum of five formal sealed bids or proposals.  No outside approval generally required M/WBE goals required
$250,000 or More 15-day notice in New York State Contract Reporter required Competitive selection generally required. Must solicit a minimum of five formal sealed bids or proposals.  Must be pre-approved by the attorney general and Office of State Comptroller M/WBE goals required

For more detailed information download the Purchasing Threshold Matrix below.

Download the Purchasing Threshold Matrix

Expenditure/Reimbursement Guidelines


The following guidelines are intended to assist college personnel with determining if an expenditure is allowable from state funds. State funds include state purpose allocation, DIFR, IFR, and SUTRA funds. These guidelines have been established based upon guidance from the Office of the State Comptroller and SUNY System Administration. To satisfy state audit requirements, departments must be able to provide written justification regarding how the item purchased or service rendered is program or mission related and/or beneficial to the college.

Please address any questions regarding this document or items not addressed in this document to the budget and financial reporting office and/or the purchasing office. For questions regarding the use of SA funds, College Foundation funds, or Research Foundation funds, please contact the custodian of those funds.

Expenditure Guidelines for State Funds

Additional Important Information


Learn more about other considerations and requirements concerning your purchase.

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