P U R C H A S I N G   A N D   C O N T R A C T S

Hunter is CUNY

The Purchasing & Contracts Department is responsible for the procurement of goods and services for Hunter's four campus locations and the Campus Schools. Its efforts are focused on obtaining the best value available in the marketplace by optimizing each procurement in terms of its price, quality and product support. It operates under the regulatory guidelines of the New York State Office of General Services and other public agencies in addition to following all applicable regulations in effect for CUNY schools. The Department is responsible for facilitating the procurement needs of all academic and staff departments for both routine and complex purchases.

All inquires regarding payments to individuals (reimbursements, travel) and vendors should be directed to the Accounts Payable office. Vendors wishing to do business with the University can reference the following guide at .



PURCHASING GUIDELINES                                                                           top


The purpose of these guidelines is to provide information to all departments of the necessary components of a proper procurement/purchase. It outlines the requirements mandated by the City University of New York and New York State Procurement Guidelines. Adherence to these guidelines will ensure the integrity of the process and serve as a guide to proper procedure. The Purchasing Department will assist you in determining the best and most appropriate manner in which to obtain the goods and services you require. If there are any questions regarding these guidelines please feel free to contact the Purchasing Department at (212) 772-4333. 

New York State Procurement Guidelines require that prior to purchasing from an outside source; the College must determine whether the goods or services may be obtained through an existing contract or source such as preferred source vendors. The following guide provides the order of priority when seeking to locate a supplier.

  • Suppliers

    • New York State Preferred Source Vendors: These are vendors who have received legislative approval to the right of first refusal. Preferred Sources are:

      1) Industries for the Blind of New York State,

      2) New York State Industries for the Disabled

      3) Corcraft

    • New York State Centralized Contracts: Office of General Services (OGS) A large number of existing state contracts that provide many goods and services. Should the goods or services you require be contained in one of these contracts, Purchasing can access these contracts without conducting procurement. However, departments are advised to closely read through the specifications of these contracts to determine whether their need(s) can be met.

    • Other Government Contracts: City of New York Contracts, Department of Education Contracts and Federal Office of General Services contracts can also be utilized.

    For additional information, see SUPPLIERS

  • Competitive Process for Selecting a Supplier

    • Invitation to Bid (ITB): This is the preferred method of procuring goods and services when the specifications are sufficiently definite that price is the sole consideration when selecting a vendor. The vendor selected is the vendor whose price is the lowest or is the price that represents the best value.  The request/requisition must be submitted 60 days prior to bid opening date plus lead time for receipt of the goods or commencement of services.

    • Request for Proposals (RFP): This is the method of selection used when the specifications are not sufficiently specific and/or when seeking a solution or method of services not readily known and you are seeking proposals to solve and/or suggest a solution.  In this method of selection, price is not the sole determinant of the selected vendor. Judgment is required to select the best proposal. A committee is selected to review proposals and weighted criteria are utilized to rate proposals.

    It should be noted that when utilizing existing contracts, departments should look carefully at the specifications, pricing structure and term of the contract before making a final determination. Such a review will help determine cost, length of time that the services will be available and whether the specifications meet the needs of the department. In the event that the specifications in the existing contract do not meet the departments need, then the department should contact Purchasing to discuss the appropriate method of procurement.


2.   PURCHASING REQUISITION                                                                    top

* This form can only be generated in FOCIS.

A Purchase Requisition* is written notification to the Purchasing Department that a member of the College wishes to buy an item or services to be used in the pursuit or conduct of college business. A Purchase Requisition is an internal document that is never forwarded to a vendor. All purchase requisitions are to be signed by the authorized signatory for each Department (or his/her designee). As a general rule the purchase requisition exists as a request to purchase.

The following information must be included on all purchase requisitions:

  • Itemized description of the item or service (model #, serial #, color, dimensions, etc.)
  • Justification that such good or service is needed in the conduct of college business
  • Date goods or services are needed
  • Vendor and department contact information and delivery specifications or instructions
  • Department name, number and expense category to be charged
  • Estimated (or actual) cost of goods or service(s)
  • Federal Tax ID, telephone and fax number
  • Signature of the Department signatory or designee
  • Shipping charges

These are minimal requirements for the completion of a purchase requisition. Departments should be aware that there are varying amounts of documentation necessary to execute the purchase order. Documentation requirements are based upon the total dollar amount of the request.

3. PURCHASE DOLLAR THRESHOLD REQUIREMENTS                                  top

The following is a brief description of the documentation required to create a Purchase Order* by dollar value.  Other documentation is required to pay vendors/individuals.  See Accounts Payable.

  • Under $250.00
    • Departments may order from vendors and submit the original invoice, the original packing slip and a signed and dated receiving report* for both complete and partial deliveries.

Note:  It should be noted that many vendors in the normal conduct of their business will not forward goods or provide services without an approved Purchase Order*.  In this case a Purchase Requisition* must be completed and submitted to Purchasing to generate a Purchase Order* that will be sent to the vendor.

  • $250.00 - $499.99
    • One (1) written price quote from the selected vendor.  Price quotes must be on Company letterhead and include Federal Tax ID number, address, contact name and telephone and fax number.

  • $500.000 - $2,499.99
    • One (1) written price quote from the selected vendor.  Price quotes must be on Company letterhead and include Federal Tax ID number, address, contact name and telephone and fax number.
    • Written notification to the Purchasing Department that two additional vendors were contacted and prices provided (this can be submitted in memo form and must include the business name, address, telephone numbers and contact person for each vendor).

  • $2,500.00 -$4,999.99
    • Three (3) written price quotes must be submitted with the Purchase Requisition*. These quotes must be on Company letterhead and include Federal Tax I.D. number, address, contact name and telephone and fax number.

  • $5,000.00 and Over (Purchasing must Conduct a Invitation to Bid Process)
    • List of five (5) suggested vendors for the services or goods
    • Cost estimate for the good or services with appropriate back-up.
    • Detailed specifications
    • The request/requisition must be submitted 60 days prior to bid opening date plus lead time for receipt of the goods or commencement of services.

  • Over $20,000.00 (Purchasing must Conduct a Formal Bid Process)

The CUNY Board of Trustees must approve purchases over $20,000.00. There are additional procedural requirements conducted by Purchasing. These requirements are 1) the submission of a Board Resolution, 2) Preparation of a bid document or contract for approval as to form by General Counsel, 3) Advertisement in the City Record and the State Contract Reporter 4) City University of New York Board of Trustees, NYS Office of the Comptroller and New York State Attorney General approvals are required prior to the execution and registration of the contract. The following documented information is required to begin the formal bidding process:

  • List of at least five (5) suggested vendors
  • Cost estimate for the services or goods
  • Detailed specifications
  • Bid/pricing sheet

4.   PURCHASE ORDER                                                                                      top

The Purchase Order* is a post-solicitation document generated by the Purchasing Department to enable the purchase to occur. Required and appropriate information from the purchase requisition such as vendor name, address, total amount of purchase and Federal Tax ID is incorporated into the Purchase Order* and reviewed by the Purchasing Agent prior to submission to the Purchasing Director for final approval. At the time the Purchase Order* is created the exact amount of the purchase is known as a result of the documented price or through the competitive bidding process.  The Purchase Order* represents a guarantee of payments for goods or services received, absent of a vendor’s failure to perform or receipt of defective or damaged goods.

  • Special Purchases

    • Computers and Computer Related Items: Requests for desktop computers, servers, software, printers, cabling, etc. must be reviewed by ICIT   for approval before forwarding the requisition to Purchasing for processing. Requisitions received without approval will be returned to the department.

    • Personal Electronic Equipment (Cell Phones, PDAs, Tablet PCs): Requests for personal electronic equipment must be reviewed by ICIT for approval, in addition to the Department approval, before forwarding the requisition to Purchasing for processing.

    • Student Text Books: Some special educational programs receive OTPS funds to be used towards the purchase of textbooks for students. Texts like any other item should be ordered following Purchasing Guidelines to assure the best price. Barnes and Noble is the college’s official bookstore – they are the sole authorized vendor allowed on campus to sell texts and related college items to students. If there is a need to purchase textbooks, those authorized to purchase texts must following these guidelines.  Indicate in the Purchase Requisition that the books are for students.

    • Office Supplies: Staff who purchase office supplies in lieu of ordering through the normal requisition process must provide sufficient justification for purchasing from an outside vendor (a vendor not on a State Contract).  Reimbursement for these expenses is not guaranteed.  Departments should not purchase fax or printer toner from office supply vendors.  State contract vendors such as Hewlett Packard and CDW should be used to purchase toner.

    • Travel Reimbursement: Please refer to New York State Traveler’s Guide concerning reimbursement documentation guidelines.

  • Confirming Purchase Orders & Split Ordering                                   top

Goods and services should not be ordered until a purchase requisition has been received by Purchasing along with documented bidding (where required). This will ensure compliance with the procurement guidelines.  Any requisition submitted without the required documentation will be returned to the department.  Purchases less than $250 are the lone exception.

Departments should plan their expenses and consolidate their purchases when ordering the same or similar goods from the same vendor. The monthly submission of requests for the same or similar goods purchased in previous month(s) is not allowed and is considered split ordering.  Staff time can be more useful and efficient submitting requisitions on a cyclical basis.   

The Purchasing department must be notified as soon as possible of cases that require emergency purchases.  The Purchase Requisition* in cases of emergency must provide supportive documentation. Purchasing will work with the department to ensure that the goods or services are obtained by issuing a confirming Purchase Order*.   In such instances the departments must provide the Purchasing Office and Accounts Payable with the supporting documentation as soon as it is available in order to ensure prompt payment to the vendor.  Unforeseen needs in the form of goods or services still require adherence to the appropriate procurement requirements (the receipt of bids, justification of need statement, etc.).

Note: Departments have no authority to establish accounts with Non-State Contract Vendors on behalf of Hunter College.

  • Vendor Payment                                                                                top

Accounts Payable is responsible for issuing payment for valid invoices that have been reviewed by the department and forwarded to Accounts Payable with the appropriate back-up documentation. The following is a summary of the items required to initiate payment:

  • Goods:  An original packing slip is required as proof of delivery.  The original invoice, the original packing slip and a signed and dated receiving report* for both complete and partial deliveries.

  • Services: Payment for services performed or maintenance contracts that are charged against a Purchase Order* or contract require receiving report* stating that the services were performed satisfactorily. A receiving report* is required for each payment in addition to the original approved invoice for a recurring monthly charge or partial payment.

  • Confirming Invoices: Only an original invoice or vendor issued certified copy of an invoice is acceptable for payment processing. Confirming purchase requisitions submitted without the required documentation will be returned to the department. (These regulations apply to all confirming orders, either processed through the Imprest/Petty Cash Account or those requiring a purchase order to be issued)
Departments who require additional assistance or information regarding vendor and payments to individuals should contact the Accounts Payable office.
  • Fiscal Year End Cut-off                                                                           top

The Purchasing Department will notify all departments regarding submission deadlines for end of year purchases.  State guidelines require that all goods and services be received and/or completed by the end of the fiscal year (June 30).

Note: These guidelines are meant as a brief description of the proper procedures to be observed when procuring goods and services. Any additional procedural requirements will be explained by Purchasing Staff on a case by case basis. Our intent is to provide information that will assist you thereby making the process more understandable and hopefully increasing the efficiency in processing time.


SUPPLIERS                                                                                                   top

Most commonly used State contracts for various commodities, supplies and services on State contracts with the Office of General Services.  Many goods are purchased with State contracts by the vendors listed below.

Preferred Suppliers
List of Preferred Suppliers
Corcraft (New York State Division of Correctional Industries)

Industries for the Blind of New York State
New York State Industries for the Disabled
Office Suppliers
In order to expedite your order you must contact the Purchasing Department at 212-772-4333 to establish an account with Staples, OfficeMax or Office Depot:
Staples Business Advantage
OfficeMax/Office Depot Contact Purchasing Dept. 212-772-4333
Catalogues Contact Purchasing Dept. 212-772-4333
Water Service
Water Purification installation is available through a NYC contract with QUENCH Contact Purchasing Dept. 212-772-4333
Bottled water is available through a NYC contract with Nestle Water Inc. 
Blue Exam Booklets                                                                                        top
Contact Copy & Postal Services (CAPS) 212-772-3800
Office Copy Paper (Under 40 cartons) Contact Copy & Postal Services (CAPS) 212-772-3800
Office Copy Paper (Over 40 cartons)

Unisource (State Contract Vendor)

Printer/Toner Cartridges                                                                                  top

Utilize State Contracts to purchase Fax/Printer cartridges and toner.  These contracts typically offer greater discounts than office supply vendors.


FOCIS - Financial Oversight Comprehensive Information System                top

An automated integrated system for the processing and payment of the procurement of goods and services.  The processes include:

  • creation of purchase requisition and direct payment/reimbursement forms (e.g. travel, honoraria, subscriptions, consultants and cash advances).
  • processing of the requisitions and purchase orders.
  • administering the entire payment process

All users must acquire a user name and password, which can be obtained by contacting the Director of Purchasing at – .  The information required from the head of the Department is:

  • Name of User
  • Department
  • Department Code
  • Role (creator or signatory)
  • Location (building & room #)
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number

Please notify the Purchasing Director - - of any staffing changes regarding FOCIS usernames and passwords.



PURCHASE ORDER FORM AND INSTRUCTIONS                                           top

This form can only be generated in FOCIS.


In order to facilitate the processing of your invoice(s) by this agency, please insure that your invoice and any supporting documentation contains sufficient data to identify the goods or services rendered and that the invoice number, purchase order number, and your Federal Identification Number (FID) are indicated on each invoice submitted for payment.


  1. No change may be made to the Purchase Order without the prior approval of the Director of Purchasing and Contracts.

  2. Invoices for repairs must include the number of hours of labor, rate per hour and cost of materials.

  3. The F.O.B. is destination (inside delivery) unless otherwise specified on the Purchase Order, in which case delivery charges shall be prepaid and added to the invoice as a separate item.

  4. Invoices and vouchers with a freight charge in excess of $100.00 must be accompanied by a Bill of Landing.

  5. Invoices must be sent in triplicate to:As per instructions on the Purchase Order

  6. Inquiries pertaining to Purchase Orders should be directed to the Purchasing Department at (212) 772-4333.

  7. Inquiries pertaining to payment should be directed to Accounting (212) 772-4373.