University of Illinois System
Buying & Contracts
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Procurement Methods

The purchasing divisions have the authority and establish procedures to facilitate the purchase of equipment, materials, commodities, supplies, and services. No other individual or university department has authority to commit the University of Illinois System to purchasing goods and services, unless that authority has been specifically delegated to them.

Purchasing divisions make all formal negotiations for prices, determine the appropriate prices and vendors (unless a department has been authorized to obtain specifications and cost estimates), and communicate with university departments to be sure the product or service is suitable, reasonable, and can be provided in a timely manner.

Cash Purchases

Cash purchases should only be made when the PCard is not an option and are limited to a maximum of $499. These purchases are then reimbursed using an Invoice Voucher submitted to University Payables. "Stringing" or making successive small purchases or payments to bypass the $499 limitation or any other purchasing policy is not permitted whether with one or several vendors.

Cash purchases must conform to the restrictions placed on purchases from University of Illinois System and state employees, including the same prohibitions and restrictions placed on certain commodities and services procured on the PCard program such as alcoholic beverages, firearms and ammunition, furniture, animals, and radio chemicals.

Banner Orders

Banner Orders are for limited requisitions – users should utilize iBuy whenever possible. Please contact your Purchasing Office if believe you need to create a Banner PO.

Purchasing Card (PCard) and Travel Card (TCard)

PCards are the preferred method of payment for items under $7,500. TCards are reserved for travel-related purchases. More information about both card is available on the PCards & TCards page.


Contracts are used when a formal two-party agreement is necessary for the purchase of goods and/or services. There are many existing contracts in place for many goods and services that university staff are encouraged to take advantage of.


The University of Illinois System’s online marketplace for purchasing goods and services. iBuy allows users to shop on-line, select items, place items in an electronic shopping cart, and submit their requisition.

University of Illinois Amazon Business

When iBuy contracts are not already available for a particular good or service, Amazon may be utilized by employees who are authorized to participate in the University's Amazon Business account.

Renew or Establish Annual iBuy Orders

This is a comprehensive resource for understanding the U of I System requirements and procedures related to annual orders for Fiscal Year (FY) 2025. Here, you'll find detailed information on the processes and deadlines for renewing existing annual orders, establishing new ones, and making purchase recommendations for Board of Trustees approval, along with FY 2025 encumbrances. This vital information is indispensable for all personnel involved in the procurement process, ensuring compliance and efficiency in establishing or renewing annual orders, including multi-year commitments.

Creating Sealed Bid Specifications

This page provides information for crafting thorough bid specifications and navigating the bidding process. It provides guidelines covering technical requirements, performance standards, and terms of payment. The process ensures fairness in advertising, processing, and awarding bids.

Creating Request for Proposal (RFP) Specifications

This resource provides information for crafting and managing RFPs effectively. It includes a guide on when to use an RFP for complex projects, and provides key elements to include in specifications, such as project objectives and evaluation criteria. It explains the transparent approach to advertising, processing, and awarding contracts, ensuring fairness and competitiveness.

Emergency Purchases

This is a guide to navigating urgent procurement needs effectively. Learn what constitutes an "emergency" in procurement contexts, understanding the criteria for situations warranting immediate action. Discover the process for making emergency purchases, including authorization procedures, supplier selection, and documentation requirements. This page provides essential insights to facilitate swift and compliant emergency procurement processes, ensuring continuity of operations and timely response to critical needs.

Sole Source Purchases

This page provides information for understanding and managing sole source procurement processes. Learn about sole source purchases, which occur when a particular product or service is only available from one vendor due to unique specifications, patents, or other exclusivity factors. Explore University of Illinois System’s guidelines for advertising sole source procurements, detailing the requirements for transparency and fairness in vendor selection.

Who to Ask

Contact information for the Purchasing offices can be found on the Purchasing & Contract Management About page.

The Renewal of FY24 Standing and Multi-Year Order reports list is a CSV report updated each Tuesday that lists orders from the respective campus that the Purchasing Division believes may need renewal for FY25.

System Office staff should contact System Purchasing and Support Services at to request department-specific reports.