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Business and Financial Policies and Procedures

Restricted Items and Purchases Requiring Special Approval

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Local, state, or federal agencies restrict the purchase of some items to ensure proper use and distribution of potentially hazardous materials. 


University of Illinois System funds may be used for public relations, promoting educational exhibits, informational announcements, official notices, recruitment notices for faculty/staff, and publication of brochures. The University of Illinois System will not pay for entertainment, community relations, or public relations not directly related to the objectives of the University of Illinois System. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, athletic events, cultural events, conventions, or any other activity not conducted by the University of Illinois System. State appropriated funds may be used for the following:

  • Brochures giving information about educational opportunities at the University of Illinois System.
  • Informational announcements, such as course offerings.
  • Listings of graduate programs in professional journals.
  • Notices about educational exhibits.
  • Official notices.
  • Recruitment notices for faculty and staff.

The dean or director of the unit involved approves, in advance, the use of state-appropriated funds. As appropriate, the Vice President or Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs also approves, in advance. Proposed advertisement copy should be included when requesting approval. Auxiliaries, enterprises and activities - Auxiliaries and other quasi-commercial activities may advertise when promoting the sale of a commodity or a service that may provide increased revenue to the University of Illinois System. The cost of the advertising is offset by income realized. State-appropriated funds may not be used for this purpose.


On the Chicago and Urbana-Champaign campuses pure alcohol is obtained from Chemistry Stores by authorized individuals. Pure alcohol for the Springfield campus is obtained from the Urbana-Champaign Chemistry Store.

Computer Software and Electronic Services

Software and electronic services for which the total cost is less than or equal to $4,999 is a restricted purchase as identified in 7.6 - The University Purchasing Card (P-Card). Software and electronic services less than or equal to $4,999 may be purchased with a P-Card if the requirements are met and the required forms are filed in the unit as back-up documentation for the purchase. Prior to using a P-Card to purchase allowable software or electronic services with contracts (including 'click-through' agreements), units must submit to Card Services, a P-Card Exception Request and the Software Purchased by P-Card or the Electronic Services Purchased by P-Card.  Once the P-Card Exception is approved the purchase may be made. Software and electronic services that do not meet the requirements must be purchased by submitting a purchase requisition.

“Electronic services” refers to Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS is developed and hosted by its vendor; the customer accesses the software over the Internet. Unlike packaged applications installed on the customer’s computer or server, the SaaS vendor owns the software and runs it on its own data center computers. The customer has no ownership of the software but effectively ‘rents’ it, usually for a monthly fee.

Electronic services may be purchased with a P-Card if all the following conditions are met:

  • No data considered sensitive or highly sensitive resides on a third-party provider’s server. This means, no personally identifiable information about an individual is stored on the vendor’s site and no confidential information is used within the site, including student information (e.g., grades, advising notes or other academic records).
  • No critical business function(s) is dependent upon the electronic service (e.g., a unit’s core operations will not suffer if the vendor closes suddenly without warning).
  • No vendor is granting itself a license to use University of Illinois System data located in its data center.
  • The electronic services will not be utilized by an employee with a known disability or students

Software (downloaded or packaged) may be purchased with a P-Card if all the following conditions are met:

  • No non-public University of Illinois System data will be shared with a third party as a result of running the software, e.g., Social Security Numbers, credit/debit card data, health/medical data, or student data will not be shared as a result of using the software.
  • The software will not be embedded into new intellectual property unless the software license grants the right to do so.
  • The software will not be utilized by an employee with a known disability or students.

For information about the selection and secure use of software and electronic services, contact:

System Offices:
Urbana-Champaign:; or
Chicago:; or


Office decorations (such as artwork, plants, planters, holiday decorations, and other decorative objects) may only be purchased from the following fund types and must use a program code which has a predecessor ending in “99” to ensure exclusion from the indirect cost study:

  • Institutional funds (such as indirect cost recovery, educational & administrative allowance, or royalty);
  • Gift or endowment income funds (as long as the expense is in compliance with the assigned donor intent restrictions);
  • Self-supporting funds (as long as the expense is directly related to the generation of the fund’s revenue); or
  • Service plan funds (as long as the expense is used in accordance with the plan’s applicable by-laws). 

Exceptions to this policy require the prior approval of the Chancellor or delegates for university units or the appropriate Assistant Vice President for System Offices units.

Equipment Loaned to the University of Illinois System

It is recommended that units contact their Purchasing Division regarding equipment loaned to the University of Illinois System. Vendors occasionally loan equipment to the University of Illinois System for trial purposes, testing, evaluation, or short-term projects at no cost. The Purchasing Division handles the arrangements for such loans, but the Office of Business and Finance, Sponsored Programs Administration arranges for equipment loans used by sponsored programs. In the event the vendor has an insurance requirement in the loan agreement, the University Office of Risk Management should be contacted for assistance complying with the terms of the requirement.


It is recommended that units request pricing from the Vendor that includes all shipping costs for delivery to the unit’s desired location (e.g.: office, loading dock, etc.).

If a Vendor will not provide shipping costs in their pricing, units are responsible for processing freight bills using Chrome River, unless a unit has established a standing purchase order with United Parcel Service (UPS) or another contracted freight company. The freight bill should be attached to the Chrome River expense report (ER) and the proper invoice date should be included in the ER. Include the purchase order number for the purchase of the item being delivered (if known) in the comments section of the ER. In order to allow for payment in a timely manner, all freight bills must have an ER created and approved as soon as possible upon receipt of the merchandise.

If a unit has a standing purchase order with United Parcel Service (UPS) or other contracted freight company, the invoice should be submitted to the “Bill To” address on the face of the purchase order. The invoice MUST include the applicable purchase order number.

Furniture and Fixtures

The Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative (IPHEC) has established contracts for the purchase of furniture which includes requirements for life/safety concerns, standardization of furniture purchased, design services and delivery. When submitting a requisition for Classroom or Office Furniture the unit should utilize the contracts established. In the event the products required are not covered under the IPHEC awards or the products offered will not meet the unit’s needs, please contact the Purchasing Division for assistance. Visit Furniture page for additional information on how to utilize the IPHEC awards. The Purchasing Division must be contacted first for purchases of furniture over the small purchase limit.

Any furniture purchase with an item that has a unit price of $500 or more must be submitted to the Purchasing Division using an iBuy Route to Purchasing Form (required for Chicago university purchases) or Banner requisition with a quote attached. The Purchasing Division will review the furniture being purchased to determine if the furniture is available from the State of Illinois Surplus Property Warehouse pursuant to the Illinois State Property Control Act (30 ILCS 605/7). If suitable surplus furniture is available, the Purchasing Division will notify the unit. There is no cost for the surplus furniture, but the unit must pay for transportation costs and any necessary repair or refurbishing. Purchasing may assist units in making arrangements for transporting the furniture to campus.

If it is determined that there is no surplus furniture meeting the unit's needs, the Purchasing Division will prepare an affidavit, have it notarized, and file with the State certifying that the furniture was not available. Once the affidavit has been filed, the purchase of the furniture can proceed. Please see 12 - Property Accounting for property labeling requirements.

Urbana-Champaign: Standards for office furniture, furnishings, and fixtures have been established as identified in the Campus Administrative Manual. These standards are to be used as a guide for planning, budgeting, and requisitioning furniture for all purposes. The Purchasing Division can provide documents that describe the acceptable standards for furniture and furnishings. Purchases may require review and approval from Facilities and Services to address fire code, accessibility and other life/safety concerns in university facilities. Visit the Campus Administrative Manual for additional information. 

Gas Cylinders

Safety requirements must be observed for gas cylinders. If a compressed gas cylinder ruptures or develops a leak at the valve, place in a secure location and contact the university Safety Office, to coordinate emergency procedures. Refer to the succeeding paragraphs for additional information on gas cylinders at each university.

Chicago: Certain steps must be taken when partially filled or empty compressed gas cylinders are returned to a vendor when no credit for contents is desired. West campus users returning partially filled or empty compressed gas cylinders should, whenever practical, have the cylinders delivered to the Central Receiving Dock, or request that Central Receiving to pick them up so they can be returned. East campus users should return gas cylinders to the unit from which the cylinders were originally received (such as Chemistry Stores).
Urbana-Champaign: Refer to the Division of Research Safety for information on gas cylinders.

Gift Cards/Gift Certificates

8.1.4 Determine the Allowability of Gifts, Prizes, and Awards to Individuals outlines when the purchase of gift cards/gift certificates are allowed. Gift cards/gift certificates cannot be purchased using i-Buy, PCard, or Banner. Gift cards/certificates have a cash value and are thus considered reportable income.


Modifications to Physical Space

The Office of Facilities Management and Capital Programs are responsible for the performance of projects associated with construction, rehabilitation and renovation of physical space. All requests for modification of physical space whether repair, refurbishing or enhancement must be directed to that Office. This includes the design of such modifications, management of the work to be performed, and the work (including labor and materials). Any exceptions to this policy must receive prior written approval by an authorized representative of the Office of Facilities Management and Capital Programs. Therefore, any request submitted to the Purchasing Division to process a contract where the scope of the services includes construction, rehabilitation, renovation, modification, repair or enhancement of the physical space, shall be accompanied by written approval of an authorized representative of the Office of Facilities Management and Capital Programs. It shall the responsibility of the originator of the request to seek approval from that Office before the Purchasing Division initiates any procurement or contracting activity associated with the services sought.

Operating and Capital Leases of Equipment

Units may acquire the use of equipment over some specified time period through a lease agreement. There are two types of lease agreements: capital leases and operating leases. Capital leases essentially transfer the benefits and risks inherent in ownership of the property to the University of Illinois System; operating leases do not. (See 12 - Property Accounting, for official University of Illinois System definitions.) Some capital leases also provide for acquisition of equipment with title passing to the University of Illinois System after a specified number of payments. The Purchasing Division is responsible for monitoring lease agreements and properly classifying them at their inception.

Occasionally units may find it convenient to seek outside financing for an acquisition; however external financing should be sought only when there are no internal sources of funds.

Conditions for Leases

Units may acquire equipment through an operating or capital lease arrangement if the following conditions are met: Operating or capital leases from vendors or third-party financiers are not made for transactions less than $25,000 (principal amount).

Exceptions to these guidelines must be approved by the university Assistant Vice President for Business and Finance, or delegate. Attempts should be made to fund these transactions within the University of Illinois System. Any internal financing must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Business and Finance. Additional reviews and approvals may be required depending on the nature of the purchase and university requirements. Contact the Purchasing Division for information on additional requirements.

All operating or capital leases to be paid with federal funds must be reviewed in advance by the Office of Buisness and Finance Sponsored Programs Administration.

The source of first-year funding must be determined. The FOAPAL(s) must be included to show adequate funding resources.

While funding out clauses are required by law in University of Illinois System lease agreements, units and colleges should not expect to invoke the funding out clauses unless exceptional circumstances warrant it. Therefore, when funding sources are revoked before the agreement is completed, units and colleges may be required to provide alternate funding for the remainder of the agreement.


Interstate embargoes may limit some items. These are handled according to the appropriate regulations. Consult the Purchasing Division for details.


These are controlled substances and are obtained through University of Illinois System pharmacies or the Purchasing Division.

Postage Stamps

All postage stamps purchased with State funds must be perforated with a University of Illinois System identification marker. For additional information on purchase of postage stamps, see 8.1.3 - Determine the Allowability of Specific Expenditures.

Print Services

It is recommended that units utilize university printing offices for printing services:

Champaign-Urbana: Illini Union – Document Services
Chicago: Office of Publication Services
Springfield: Campus Services

If using a vendor other than University of Illinois System printing services is being used to complete a printing request, vendor is required be in compliance with the "Prevailing Wage Requirements" section (30 ILCS 500/25-60) of the Illinois Procurement Code. 

All offset printing services must meet the requirements in the "soybean-oil based ink and vegetable oil-based ink" section of the Illinois Procurement Code (30 ILCS 500/45-15). This Section mandates that the purchase of offset printing services require the use of soybean or vegetable oil-based ink. A State Purchasing Office may determine that another type of ink is required to assure high quality and reasonable pricing of the printed product. If soybean or vegetable oil-based ink is not to be used on a printing project, this information must be submitted to the Purchasing Division along with your requisition. The soybean or vegetable oil-based ink requirement does not apply to digital printing services.

The aforementioned soybean or vegetable oil-based ink and prevailing wage requirements are terms outlined in the University of Illinois System’s standard terms and conditions attached to each purchase order. In the event a Purchasing Card (P-Card) is being used to purchase printing services, these provisions must be signed off on by the Vendor prior to work being started. The Prevailing Wage Statement (required for all printing services) and Soybean or Vegetable Oil-Based Ink Statement (required for offset printing services) are available on the Purchases - Printing & Typesetting webpage. If a Vendor responds that they will not be utilizing soybean or vegetable oil-based ink on their Soybean or Vegetable Oil-Based Ink Statement, or they will not be paying prevailing wage on their Prevailing Wage Statement, then the purchase is not allowed on a P-Card and a requisition must be submitted to the Purchasing Division.

A plus or minus of 10% over/under runs is acceptable and customary in the printing industry.

The University of Illinois System has standards for certain stationery materials including items with logos, items with the University of Illinois System Seal, and business cards. If using a non-University of Illinois System source for printing these materials, units must obtain written confirmation from the appropriate University of Illinois System office to ensure that the proposed materials conform to those standards prior to submitting a requisition for printing services.

System Offices: University Relations
Urbana-Champaign: Public Affairs
Chicago: Office of Marketing and Brand Management
Springfield: Creative Services

Printing services paid for using State Funds or performed on behalf of another State government body (that are not fulfilled using University of Illinois System printing services) have additional requirements. Section (30 ILCS 500/20-105) of the Illinois Procurement Code requires that all books, pamphlets, documents and reports published by a State agency contain the following:

  • "Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois"
  • Date of each publication.
  • Number of copies printed.
  • Printing order number.

Units must purchase stationery and other printed products with recycled material content whenever cost, specifications, standards, and availability are comparable to products without recycled content.

Additional requirements:

Chicago: Units are encouraged to use paper with at least 10% post-consumer waste content.

Radioactive materials

By law, the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety (IDNS) licenses the production, sale, use, disposal, and transfer of radioactive materials in the State of Illinois. The University of Illinois System obtains, uses, and disposes of radioactive materials under licenses granted by the IDNS and must adhere to regulations established by various federal, state, and local agencies. The university Radiation Safety Committee grants final approvals for the acquisition, use, and disposal of radioactive materials.


Weapon acquisitions must comply with Federal and State Laws.

Champaign-Urbana: Weapon acquisitions must comply with the Campus Administrative Manual, Possession of Weapons.

Last Updated: January 20, 2023 | Approved: Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance | Effective: January 15, 2017

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