1233 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on State Term Purchase Contracts



This policy is to ensure compliance with North Carolina purchasing regulations when purchasing goods or services available by term contract.

Scope of Applicability

This policy applies to all department personnel requesting the purchase of goods and/or services.


Policy Statement

The North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract establishes term contracts for a wide variety of goods and services. By combining statewide demand for commonly used items into one contract, the division helps users save money and eliminates the need for each agency to solicit separate bids. State purchasing regulations mandate the use of these contracts when purchasing goods or services using public funds.


State term contracts are not required to be used if the source funds used to procure items fall into any of these categories:

  • Are less than 30% appropriated funds.
  • Come from the State General Fund.
  • Are received as tuition.
  • The majority of the source funds (50% or more) used to procure items comes from contract and/or grant funds.

Additional Information

Special Situations

The University may utilize vendors other than those listed on the applicable term contract when the contract contains unnecessary features, omits necessary features, or costs more than the price available through full and open competition. The purchaser must follow the guidelines for obtaining a competitive bid and/or using a sole source or brand-specific vendor prior to using an outside vendor

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I can purchase supplies for my lab at a much lower cost and better quality than those I find on the term contract. Is it possible for me to purchase from another vendor?

A: State agencies, universities, and community colleges are required to purchase from statewide term contracts. However, universities and community colleges have additional flexibility in their use; universities may purchase an item from sources other than those listed on the contract if they can find a similar item at a lower price than the term contract; and the total price is within their benchmark.

Q: What is the difference between a "convenience" contract and a "term" contract?

A: Although state purchasing rules do not define what a "convenience" contract is, it typically means a contract that does not mandate the use of one specific vendor for a particular item.

A "term" contract covers all normal requirements for a commodity for a specified period of time, based on aggregated estimated quantities. Term contracts are established by the State Division of Purchasing and Contracts or State Department of Information Technology for state entities to utilize. When a commodity is covered by a term contract, it is mandatory to purchase from that contract in most cases unless exempted by general statute.

Q: How do I determine which vendor to purchase from when there is more than one vendor listed on the term contract?

A: The purchase may be from any contractor or vendor listed on the term contract for the specific item the vendor is authorized to sell. Consider the cost, availability, location, and/or the area of distribution when selecting a source for an item available from multiple vendors. You are encouraged to use North Carolina vendors whenever possible.

Q: What if the item or product on a state contract does not fit my needs?

A: In this case you must document why a state contract item does not fit your needs and then handle the purchase in accordance with established rules for items not covered by a state contract.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

  • Finance Policy 1231 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Solicitation of Quotations, Bids, and Proposals
  • Finance Policy 1232 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Sole Source or Brand-Specific Purchases

Contact Information

Policy Contact
Subject Contact Telephone Fax E-Mail
State Term Contracts Purchasing Services - Goods 919-962-3774 919-962-0636 purchasing_team@unc.edu



  • July 26, 2010
  • November 13, 2003
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Article ID: 131428
Thu 4/8/21 9:08 PM
Mon 8/9/21 4:08 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Finance and Budget
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Director of Purchasing Services
Next Review
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02/27/2021 12:00 AM
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02/28/2020 11:00 PM
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02/28/2020 11:00 PM
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02/28/2020 11:00 PM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
03/01/1998 11:00 PM