Purchase of Goods and Services

I. Scope

This policy applies to all George Mason University faculty, staff, and students.

II. Policy Statement

As an Agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, George Mason University has a public obligation to perform its procurement in accordance with the intent of the laws of the Commonwealth. The intent of the Virginia General Assembly is set forth in the “Rules Governing Procurement of Goods, Services, Insurance and Construction by a Public Institution of Higher Education of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” §3.0 of the second enactment clause of Chapters 824 and 829 of the 2008 Acts of Assembly of Virginia. Elements of intent include: that Agencies obtain high quality goods and services at a reasonable cost; that competition be sought to the maximum extent possible; that all qualified vendors have access to public business; and that procurement procedures be conducted in a fair and impartial manner. It is further the intent of the Virginia General Assembly that the provisions of the Governing Rules apply in all cases where there is to be a contract between a governmental body and a nongovernmental body, regardless of the source of funds by which the contract is to be paid or in the absence of any monetary consideration flowing to either party.

The Board of Visitors of George Mason University has vested specific signature authority in the President. Further delegation of this authority to contractually obligate the University must be provided in writing.

It is the policy of the University to contribute to the establishment, preservation and strengthening of small businesses and businesses owned by women and minorities and to encourage their participation in procurement activities. The University encourages contractors to provide for the participation of small businesses and businesses owned by women and minorities through partnership, joint ventures, subcontracts, or other contractual opportunities.

III. Responsibilities

A. Purchasing Goods and Services

Goods and services that cost $5,000 or less may be purchased by individuals with account responsibility and their designees. Mandatory contracts for purchasing all furniture, office supplies, and others, as designated by the Purchasing Department, must be honored at all dollar amounts. In addition, all staff will assist in the standardization of purchases for commonly procured goods and services by utilizing institution-wide contracts, where available. The Purchasing Department is responsible for purchasing and leasing all goods and services for the University that cost more than $5,000, except: 1) those associated with the Capital Outlay process and 2) real estate rentals and leases. Capital Outlay procurement is the responsibility of Facilities Planning (construction/architectural). Business Services has the sole responsibility to negotiate real estate rentals and leases and any changes to existing rentals and leases.

B. Contract Administration

A Contract Administrator will be designated to monitor and support contracts for delivery of goods and services which occur over an extended time period. The contract administration process delegates authority, which allows for direct communications between the representative of the University receiving the goods/services and the vendor, with the aim of facilitating and verifying desired performance standards. Active contract administration and written, annual evaluation of vendor performance are the cornerstones of effective outsourcing. Contract Administrators are restricted from making any commitment or conducting any negotiations which change the scope of the contract or may result in modified financial expenditure. Members of the Purchasing Department are available to consult with Contract Administrators on any matter, and must become involved to issue written change orders and renewals, and to formally address performance shortcomings, non-renewals and contract terminations.

IV. Compliance

Failure to comply with this policy may result in revocation of delegated purchasing authority by the Chief Purchasing Officer.

All persons engaged in purchasing activity greater than $5,000 will have a letter providing specific levels of authority. In the absence of such written authorization, University faculty, staff, and students are not permitted to sign contracts or make obligations on behalf of the University to a private vendor. Such actions taken without proper authority will be considered taken at personal financial risk.

V. Dates

A. Effective Date:

This policy is effective July 1, 1999. This Administrative Policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually to become effective September 1, unless otherwise noted.

B. Date of Most Recent Review:


 VI. Timetable for Review

This policy, and any related procedures, shall be reviewed every three years or more frequently as needed.

VII. Signatures

The policies herein are effective July 1, 1999.  This Administrative Policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually to become effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.


Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance

Provost and Executive Vice President

Date Approved: May 20, 2004

Revised: January 14, 2010

Revised: February 3, 2012

Revised: June 13, 2017

Revision Approved: June 6, 2019

Revised: July 29, 2019

Revised: June 2, 2020