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FAQs, Information, Training & Questions

10% Rule Maintenance Agreement
Bids & Quotes Multiple Invoices
Cell Phones Printing Services
Change Orders Purchase of Electronic Applications
Computers, Printer, & Software Purchase Orders
Consultants Remanufactured Toner Cartridges
Copiers Sole Source Procurement

Emergency Procurements

Vendor Complaints

Furniture and Case Goods



10% Rule

What is the "10% Rule"?

The “10% Rule”, as it is known, provides that with respect to items found on statewide contracts, purchases may be made from other vendors if the price is at least 10% less than the statewide contract; however, the following conditions must be met:

(1)  the statewide vendor (or vendors, if multiple contracts exist) shall be given the opportunity to match the lower price; and

(2)  the terms and conditions of the statewide contract shall be matched and agreed to by the lower-priced, non-statewide vendor.

To document the second requirement, the state has implemented the use of a separate document which requires the non-statewide vendor to certify by signature that they have read the term contract and agree to be bound by its conditions. Due to the requirement of this form, and the subsequent reporting of these transactions to the State by the University on a quarterly basis, the pre-approval of these “10% Rule” transactions by Procurement Services is necessary. In most cases, this process will require the submission of a Purchase Requisition.

If Procurement Services determines the “10% Rule” purchase is warranted, it will assist with completion of the form. However, if the non-statewide vendor decides not to agree to the requirements, the “10% Rule” purchase request will be denied.



Bids & Quotes

Bids/quotes are not necessary when:

  1. the good or service is available on an existing statewide contract;
  2. the proposed purchase can be justified as a Sole Source Procurement ; or
  3. the proposed purchase amount is under $5,000  (including shipping cost) and the price is considered fair and reasonable.

Bids/quotes are necessary when:

  1. the proposed purchase amount is between $5,000 and $10,000 (at least two (2) additional price references in addition to the one being considered are required);
  2. the proposed purchase amount is over $10,000.  (A Purchase Requisition for the good or service must be forwarded to Procurement Services who will prepare and issue a solicitation in accordance with the guidelines of the SC Consolidated Procurement Code.)

Can I tell a supplier what another supplier has quoted in order to get a lower  price?

No.  All quotes are to be confidential.  Details cannot be discussed with other suppliers.  Disclosure of any information during the bidding process is considered unethical.  All inquiries for information regarding a potential or awarded contract or purchase should be directed to Procurement Services.

How do I make sure that a specific supplier is included in the bidding process?

Attach a list of suggested vendors to the Purchase Requisition, to include name, address, email address,  telephone number, fax number, and contact name (if available).


Cell Phones

Cell phone contracts are negotiated through the Information Technology Services.   Call 843-349-2084 for instructions.


Change Orders

What is  a Change Order? 

A Change Order is the process used to make changes to an outstanding Purchase Order.

How Are Change Orders Initiated?

Email the Procurement Specialist who approved the original Purchase Order with the changes being requested.

Who is  authorized to approve Change Orders?

The Procurement Specialist who originally approved the purchase order.

Is a  Change Order required in all situations involving a change?

No. Accounts Payable is authorized to exercise their judgment and pay increases up to 10% without contacting the Procurement Specialist for approval, with the  following exceptions:

  1. When the purchase order total for these goods plus freight  exceeds $2,500.00;
  2. State contract orders
  3. All increases in quantity.

What if  I need to request a price increase of 10% or more?

Accounts Payable will  email the Procurement Specialist who approved the original Purchase Order.


Computers, Printers & Software

What is the procedure for ordering a  computer?

Submit a ticket to the ITS Help Desk to request assistance.   An Information Resource Consultant (IRC) will be assigned to provide a quote for you to ensure you are receiving state contract pricing. Attach the quote to your requisition and submit to Procurement Services.

What is the procedure for ordering  software?

Submit a ticket to the ITS Help Desk to request assistance.   An Information Resource Consultant (IRC) will be assigned to provide a quote for you to ensure you are receiving state contract pricing. For a purchase order, attach the quote to your requisition and submit to Procurement Services. You also have to option to place the order with your P-card and attach the quote to your invoice.

What is the procedure for ordering a  printer?

Submit a ticket to the ITS Help Desk to request assistance.   An Information Resource Consultant (IRC) will be assigned to provide a quote for you to ensure you are receiving state contract pricing. If the price is less than $500, including tax, you can opt to place the order with a P-card and attach the quote to your invoice. If the price exceeds $500, attach the quote to your requisition and submit to Procurement Services.




What is a consultant?

A consultant may be defined as an individual, partnership, corporation, or any  other legally established organization that possesses unique qualifications which allow them to perform specialized advisory services usually for a fee

Do I have to get quotes for consultant services?

Yes.  Generally the same guidelines that are found under the Bids & Quotes section above will apply.



Who is my contact...?

Copiers and related services are provided through statewide contracts.  June Barfield in Procurement Services should be contacted with any question - 843-349-2122 or Email.

What is a Cost per Copy?

Cost per Copy is a program that maximizes savings by combining the equipment (copiers and accessories), services and supplies (except paper and staples) into one low cost. The contract is a "Cost per Copy" contract.  This means that the University pays only for the number of  copies made on each machine, rather than purchasing or leasing the machines  themselves. The contractor owns the machines and is responsible for all maintenance and supplies, such as toner and toner cartridges, and service. Paper and staples are not included in the contract. All copy machines must maintain a 95 percent minimum available working time "up time" (i.e., the machines must be operational 95 percent of the time).

Why  the Cost per Copy approach?

A Cost per Copy approach provides an agency with a standardized low cost copy program. The agency will receive the best value through the Cost per Copy contract's leveraging of multiple contractors. By consolidating the State's copier needs into one contract, the University is able to take advantage of the State's agency combined purchasing power for maximum level of  services at lower costs.

What are the cost and benefits?

The Cost per Copy contract provides for a fixed price,  regardless of the number of copies made, which includes:  all supplies such as copy  toner (except paper and staples), all parts and services (service times are guaranteed), a machine loaner (if  required), dedicated service personnel, and ongoing unlimited support.

By using Cost per Copy, funds to purchase new machines are saved.  Equipment is upgraded through the program.  In determining whether a replacement/upgrade is to be made, a review is made of the copier’s performance, age, downtime, service history, copy volume and copying requirements.  Procurement Services will work closely with departments and the contractor to manage the Cost per Copy services.

How do I know the current copy count and where  can I check my copier's meter reading?

Copy counts/meter readings are taken periodically by each department or upon request by the contractor.  Instructions for obtaining the copy per specific machine can be provided by the contractor.

How are supplies and services obtained?

All supplies/parts - toner, belt, drum and services (except paper and staples) - can be obtained by contacting the contractor.  Indicate the department's name, location, machine make and model number.  Delivery of supplies will be made directly to the ordering department by the contractor.

Required Documentation to obtain a copier:

A Purchase Requisition and a quote from the vendor must be forwarded to Procurement Services.  The requisition requires the signature of the department budget officer and the IT department.

Authorized Partners, Product Resellers, and or  Product Distributors

Statewide Cost per Copy contract awardees may have identified regional authorized partners, product resellers, and/or product distributors.  The Cost per Copy statewide term contract awardees are the only authorized vendors to provide the products and for invoice submissions and subsequent payment collections.


Emergency Procurement

What is an Emergency Procurement?

An emergency procurement is permitted only when there is a situation which creates a threat to public health, welfare, or safety such as may arise by reason of floods, epidemics, riots, equipment failures, fire loss, or such other reason as may be proclaimed by the President of the University or designee.  The existence of such conditions must create an immediate and serious need for supplies, services, information technology, or construction that cannot be met through normal procurement methods and the lack of which would seriously threaten:  the preservation or protection of property, or the health or safety of any person.

Am I required to get quotes?

As many quotes as are practical under the circumstances should be obtained, and shall be limited to those supplies, services, information technology, or construction items necessary to meet the emergency.

Who makes the decision as to whether  what I am trying to purchase will be considered an emergency procurement?

The Director of Procurement Services should be notified as soon as possible when emergency procurements are a possibility.  The Director reviews the circumstances and prepares a justification which is submitted for approval to the Vice President for Finance and Administration.


Furniture and Case Goods

Per the requirements of the annual South Carolina Appropriations Act, the University shall first consider the goods and services offered through the South Carolina Department of Corrections – Prison Industries program when purchasing goods and services.  Prison Industries offers a wide selection of furniture, case goods, and seating, as well as framing and furniture upholstery services.  Links to catalogs from Prison Industries are available on the State Contracts page. 


Maintenance Agreement

What is a maintenance agreement?

A maintenance agreement is a contract for repair or service of specified  equipment, building equipment (i.e. elevators, furnaces, etc.) or  non-consumable supply items.

Who's responsibility is it to  determine the need for a maintenance agreement?

It is the  using department's responsibility to determine this need.

Do I have to get quotes?

Yes.  Generally the same guidelines that are found under the Bids & Quotes section above will apply.


Multiple Invoices

Can I get an invoice paid for recurring expenses throughout the year, as long as each invoice is less than $5,000?

No.  When there's a situation where multiple purchases are going to be made within the same month or even over a period of several months, the total expenditure must be considered as far as determining the applicability of the procurement guidelines. Otherwise, the individual purchases have the appearance of an attempt to split transactions to avoid obtaining quotes and therefore it eliminates open competition.

Example: You have need for certain services from XYZ Company in July, which you expect to cost $2,500. You also know that you will need similar services in October and January. The total potential value of this agreement or service is then considered to be $7,500.  The guidelines of the Bids & Quotes section above would then apply.



Printing Services

The University's Printing Services stocks ink in a variety of  colors and paper in different sizes, weights,and colors. Cutting, folding, stapling, binding, trimming,  hole punching, and/or packaging, as well as laminating are available and should  be utilized for small projects such as for printing brochures, forms, books, certificates, invitations, classroom materials and any publication or reproduction that is requested.  For projects that Printing Services cannot accomodate, printing is purchased under the University's standard procurement procedures.  Please also note that off-campus printing requires the approval of the University's Executive Vice President.


Purchase of Electronic Applications

New technologies, such as the Apple iPhones®, iPads®, and Blackberries®, have business applications available for purchase to enhance the functional abilities of the device for business-related use.  Most of these applications require the user to establish a personal account to facilitate the purchases.  The purchases require the buyer to check a box accepting certain legal terms and conditions before the application can be downloaded.  These terms and conditions contain clauses related to such things as choice of law and indemnification that cannot be accepted by South Carolina public institutions.

Due to the potential issues created by the above circumstances, the use of the University Purchasing Card (P-card) or other direct payment methods to purchase electronic applications is prohibited.

In order to purchase business-related applications via personal accounts (such as iTunes®), users are required to utilize personal credit cards and request reimbursement from the University using the Personal Reimbursement form (CCU-AP9.02/11).  Purchases also require the prior approval of an ITS representative or the designated Information Resource Consultant (IRC).

It should be understood that the user and not the University will be accepting the terms and conditions that are required with the purchase and prior to the download of the application.

In addition, due to the ability to move applications from University-owned devices to personal devices, users requesting reimbursement will be required to sign a statement indicating that if the application is moved from a University-owned device due to termination of employment for any reason, the user will reimburse the University for the purchase.  Department budget officers will be responsible for overseeing these requirements upon termination of the individual's employment.

As applicable with all other situations, the purchase of goods or services for personal use using University funds is prohibited.


Purchase Orders

Can I get a  purchase order number over the telephone?

No.  Purchase Order numbers are not assigned until the Purchase Requisition has been approved by one of the Procurement Specialists. This process eliminates the possibility for order duplication as well as providing security for the University procurement procedures.

Once a purchase  order number has been issued, can I call the vendor and add or delete an item  from the order?

No.  All requests for cancellations or modifications of  Purchase Orders should be referred to the Procurement Specialist who processed your order.

I forgot to order  my supplies/services ; can I get an Emergency Purchase Order?

No.  Failure to anticipate a need is not considered a valid emergency, as defined in the Emergency Procurement section above.  Procurement Services will work with you, however, to get your supplies/services as quickly as possible.

How long does it  take for my order to be placed?

The length of time between Procurement Services’ receipt of a Purchase Requisition until the time a Purchase Order is issued can vary based on a number of factors, including:

  • the total amount of the purchase;
  • whether contracts/agreements are involved;
  • the time necessary to develop specifications when solicitations are required; and
  • bid evaluation processes

In general, Purchase Requisitions for simple purchases of goods under $10,000 are processed within two (2) days.  Complex solicitations which require the involvement of SC Procurement Services may take up to six (6) months.



Remanufactured Toner Cartridges

The State Term Contract is for  Remanufactured Toner Cartridges.

Solicitation Number: 5400000908
Contract Period: 07/06/09 to 07/05/14
Terms  and Conditions

Note:  If the part number is not  listed on the price lists, it is not under contract.

There are three suppliers that you may order from:

Dove  Data Products, Inc. - Lexmark,  Brother

DuraLine Imaging, Inc. - Dell

Laser Print Service - HP

Remanufactured Toner Cartridge Pricing


Sole Source Procurement

What is a Sole Source procurement?

 A sole source item is one that is one of a kind, has no equivalent, and is only  available from one source.

When is a sole source procurement  permissible?

Based on the South Carolina Consolidated Procurement Code, a sole source procurement is only permissible when one or more of the following circumstances exist:

  • Where the compatibility of equipment, accessories, or replacement parts is the  paramount consideration;
  • Where a sole supplier's item is needed for trial use or testing; and
  • Where the item is one of a kind.

What does NOT constitute a sole source procurement?

  • Something determined to be the “best” fit for a specific project (by determining what is “best” you are actually going through a procurement process).
  • Something that is a “really good deal”.
  • Something that is available from more than one source.
  • Something that has a comparable product or service that may just “not be as good”.
  • Anytime there is reasonable doubt regarding whether something is a sole source.

Who is authorized to make the decision as to whether the item to buy will be considered as a sole source procurement?

The Vice President for Finance and Administration has been delegated by the President to make this determination upon submission of supporting documents through the Director of Procurement Services.

What is the procedure that I should  follow to initiate a sole source procurement?

See "Sole Source Procurement Guidelines" and complete the accompanying form.


Vendor Complaints

How do I make a complaint against a  vendor?

When a department feels a vendor has not satisfactorily delivered the goods/services  as requisitioned, the procedure listed below must be followed:

  • Build  a detailed file on each contract, documenting specific dates and occurrences;
  • Keep  records of conversations, copies of correspondence, deadline dates versus  completion dates and other significant data that may provide the necessary  supporting documentation for filing a complaint.
  • When you feel you have collected sufficient data to support your claim, contact Procurement Services for further instructions.