7.7 - Purchasing and Property Control


General Purchasing Procedures

Purchases of goods and services for externally-funded projects are required by law to comply with the sponsor’s regulations and certain federal regulations, as well as with state and university policies. These may include documentation of bid, utilization of women/minority-owned businesses, compliance with labor standards, and other requirements.

The PI/PD should work with the Accounting Office, Procurement Services, and the ORSP to ensure compliance with sponsor purchasing requirements.

All funding through sponsored program grants and contracts is required to be processed through the university’s accounting system. Therefore, these purchases are subject to Public Purchasing Law as covered by Section 31-7-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated. The State Property Manual is available at http://www.osa.state.ms.us/documents/property/propman.pdf.

Small Business and Small Disadvantaged Business Plan

It is the policy of The University of Mississippi that small businesses and small disadvantaged business concerns be given an opportunity to compete for the requirements for services, commodities, and equipment used in the day-to-day operation of the university. The University of Mississippi is an agency of Mississippi state government and complies with all state laws regarding the procurement of services, commodities, and equipment.

Purchasing Consultant Services

Activities performed by an individual under a sponsored agreement are normally administered through a consulting agreement. Agreements to secure the services of a consultant are established when the required services are for highly specialized advice or professional expertise which cannot be performed satisfactorily by existing university personnel. Consultants are independent contractors and not employees or agents of the university. Current UM employees may not simultaneously serve as independent contractors under consulting agreements with the university. Many sponsors require specific prior approval for each consultant or may limit the daily rate or number of days for consultant services. The university’s accepted rate for consultant salaries shall be consistent with that allowed by the National Science Foundation (NSF) at the time the proposal is submitted (for current NSF rate, see Institutional Information for Proposal Preparation). The HR Form 13, Payment for Personal Services as a Consultant/Independent Contractor, provides guidance regarding determination and procurement procedures as they relate to the purchase of outside personal services; a checklist for this determination is also provided on the Award Management - Consultants page. The consulting agreement must be signed by the university’s authorized signatory, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Sponsored Programs.

Purchasing Equipment

The PI/PD is responsible for procuring and managing equipment purchased with sponsored program funding in accordance with agency regulations and university policies and procedures. Most funding agencies require that equipment be budgeted and approved in the original proposal. Prior approval may be needed from the agency in order to purchase equipment that is not budgeted in the original proposal. In those cases where prior approval is required, the PI/PD is responsible for obtaining written approval (via the ORSP) from the awarding agency before initiating the purchase of the equipment. Internal equipment screening is required prior to the purchase of equipment when federal funds are to be used, even if the equipment is in the approved budget. External screening may also be required by the agency. (See UM Federal Property Manual, Section 13.)

All equipment purchased with federal funds must be necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient accomplishment of project or program objectives. Federal property must come from a single funding source. Any equipment acquisition, whether budgeted in the proposal/award or approved by the agency after the award, will be reviewed by the ORSP Contracts and Grants Accountant prior to acquisition.

Property Control


Ownership of property is normally designated by the sponsoring agency in the award. Title to property purchased with sponsored program grant or cooperative agreement funds usually vests with the university (state property). However, the sponsor may elect to retain title to the property. When the sponsor is an agency of the federal government and the title is retained by the government, the property is designated as federal property, as is normally the case under federal contracts.

Equipment, for sponsored program purposes, refers to (a) capital equipment, which is defined as any unit item with a life expectancy of at least one year and having an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more; and (b) other items having a lesser value but specifically controlled by the agency. Shipping, taxes, in-transit insurance, and installation charges should be included under this category for new purchases, provided these costs are included in the original purchase order. Non-federal sponsors may define equipment differently; in such cases the sponsor’s definition will apply to the specific agreement.

Federal property is defined as property that is owned by or leased to the federal government or acquired for the government under the terms of a contract or sponsored agreement. The title to federal property vests with the government. Such property includes both University of Mississippi-acquired and government-furnished property.

State property refers to furniture, vehicles, equipment and other personal items (to which title vests with the university) having a useful life expectancy of at least one year and a cost of $1,000 or more. The following items will be reported as equipment regardless of their purchase price: weapons, two-way radio equipment, lawn maintenance equipment, cellular telephones, chain saws, air compressors, welding machines, generators, motorized vehicles. The following will be reported only if their purchase value is $250 and greater: cameras and camera equipment, televisions, computers and computer equipment (systems, printers, external hard drives; not monitors purchased separately, GPS systems, iPods/MP3 players).

Tagging/Reporting — State Property

In addition to the $5,000 and over state-titled capital equipment items, the university is required to maintain a complete and current inventory list of each item of equipment which costs $1,000 or more, along with those items which fall within the list of exceptions stated in the paragraph above. The PI/PD is responsible for any agency-required reporting of equipment purchased with sponsored program funds.

Tagging/Reporting — Federal Property

The PI/PD is responsible for marking all property owned by the federal government to indicate federal ownership, for maintaining a list of government property for his/her projects, and for submitting periodic reports to the federal government as required in the award document. See the UM Federal Property Manual, for further information. Note that capital equipment belonging to the federal government will also be tagged with a University of Mississippi sticker by Property Control and added to departmental inventory records, but will not be reported to the state as state property.