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Business and Financial Policies and Procedures

19.1 Contract Overview

Policy Statement

“The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois” (the “board”) is a public corporation of the State of Illinois with the authority under Illinois law to manage and operate the University of Illinois, including the power to contract and be contracted with. By law, the contracting party for all University of Illinois contracts is the board. The Comptroller is the general fiscal officer of the board and is authorized to sign contracts to which the board is a party, unless otherwise ordered by the board in specific cases. The Comptroller is authorized to delegate to responsible members of the staff of the University of Illinois authority to sign contracts in the name of the Comptroller.
(General Rules Concerning University Organization and Procedure, Art. II, Section 4(h)). Neither faculty nor staff has authority to bind the board to a contract, either verbally or in writing, unless authorized to do so in writing by the Comptroller or as otherwise provided in 19 Contracts.

Reason for the Policy

The execution of University of Illinois policies, including those relating to contracts, is delegated to administrative agents of the board, acting under its general supervision. The reason for this policy is to establish what constitutes a University of Illinois contract and who has authority to sign University of Illinois contracts for the board. 

This policy is also intended to clarify that the campuses of the University of Illinois, which under the 2016 Strategic Framework are now referred to as universities of the University of Illinois System, and any sub-divisions thereof, are not legal entities and may not enter into contracts.

Applicability of the Policy

This policy applies to all University of Illinois contracts. For purposes of 19 Contracts, “University of Illinois contracts” shall refer to all contracts entered into by the board and one or more external parties, including, but not limited to zero-dollar contracts, memoranda of understanding, revenue-generating contracts, and procurement contracts, whether for the benefit of the entire University of Illinois, one or more campuses, or any sub-divisions thereof.

A contract is an agreement between parties that creates legally enforceable rights and obligations.  Contracts may be referred to by a variety of terms, including but not limited to agreements, purchase orders, proposals, memoranda/letters of understanding, click-to-accept online terms and conditions, addenda, or amendments. Whatever it is called, if the document is intended to create legally enforceable rights and obligations, it should be treated as a contract under 19 Contracts.

Agreements between units of the system are not contracts and are not subject to this policy.


University of Illinois contracts must be processed, approved, signed, and filed appropriately. University of Illinois contracts shall be entered into in the name of “The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.”

Last Updated: July 13, 2021 | Approved: Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Comptroller | Effective: July 2021

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