Understand the Procurement Methods

Individuals with organizational responsibility may purchase goods and services using several procurement methods:

  • Virginia’s electronic ordering system (eVA). Use eVA to complete purchases costing less than $2,000 except those specifically exempted. These purchases may be charged to the Purchasing Charge Card or billed to the University.
  • The Purchasing Charge Card (P-Card). Use the P-card for items costing less than $2,000. Purchases that are exempt from eVA include registration fees for conferences and over-the-counter purchases made at the site of the sale and picked up by the cardholder. The exemption is not applicable to orders placed on a vendor’s website or by telephone. For purchases that are not exempt from eVA, a confirming purchase order in eVA is required.
  • The Payment Request Form. Use the Payment Request System for certain payments and reimbursements.

Click here to review the Purchasing Snapshot (Purchasing Guidelines). Additional information is available by clicking the links below.

Exceptions to Competitive Requirements

The university may enter into contracts without competition for the following goods and/or services at the specified dollar amount(s). (§37 of the Governing Rules)

Click each link below to learn more about competitive requirement limitations or click here to open the Exceptions to Competitive Requirements Guide.

Any Dollar Amount

The purchase of good or services at ANY dollar amount that are produced/performed by or related to:

  • Persons, in schools or workshops, under the supervision of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired
  • Nonprofit sheltered workshops or other nonprofit organizations that offer transitional or supported employment services serving the handicapped
  • Private educational institutions
  • Other public educational institutions
  • Speakers and performing artists
  • Memberships and Association dues
  • Sponsored research grant sub-awards and contract sub-awards, not to include the purchase of goods or services by Mason
  • Group travel in foreign countries (including residencies)
  • Conference facilities and services
  • Participation in intercollegiate athletic tournaments and events including team travel and lodging, registration and tournament fees
  • Royalties
  • The purchase of legal services, provided that the Office of the Attorney General has been consulted, or expert witnesses or other services associated with litigation or regulatory proceedings
  • Postage

Valued at less than $100,000

The purchase of good or services, valued at less than $100,000, where competition is either not practicable or normally available for:

  • Accreditation fees and academic testing services
  • Advertisements/Advertising – all media
  • Athletic officials appointed by the NCAA
  • Books, printed materials, reprints and subscriptions (e.g., print or electronic)
  • Videocassettes and slide presentations when only available from the publisher/producer
  • Booth space at conferences, exhibits, fairs and product shows
  • Conference fees, course fees, seminars, training sessions, tuition and other registration fees when attended by university employee
  • Court reporters
  • Currency exchange services
  • Entertainment, writers, musicians, artists
  • Facility Rentals
  • Federal mentor-protégé projects
  • Film rentals when only available from the producer or protected distributors
  • Library books and other items for the library’s collection as per applicable Library acquisition procedures
  • Lodging services
  • Maintenance contracts for high-cost, sophisticated, scientific equipment where there is no known competitor and service must be purchased from the manufacturer of the equipment
  • Maintenance contracts for service of mainframe and super computers for which there is no competitive source available to service the equipment
  • Pass through procurements (examples include contracting for alumni functions for which the institution is reimbursed by the alumni and materials purchases for students by a faculty member using state and for which the students fully reimburse the institution).
  • Purchases from the federal government, other states and their agencies or institutions, and public bodies as long as the price is judged to be fair and reasonable
  • Other purchases, less than $100,000, when determined in writing by the Purchasing Department.
  • Referees, officials and umpires for intercollegiate athletic events
  • Specialized software that is not available through ITU (when approved by ASC)
  • Software maintenance contracts for software already purchased and in use at the university
  • Software site licenses
  • Software upgrades
  • Student workshops (i.e., SOM-MBA programs, OCPE, etc.)
  • Surplus property from the State or Federal government
  • Testing or evaluation services
  • Translation Services
  • Used equipment (including vehicles)
  • Utilities – Electricity, Natural Gas, Water, etc. at any dollar level o Note: If purchasing from a governmental source (i.e. Fairfax County) sole source is not required however reference should be made to COV §2.2-4301

Between $50,000 and $100,000

The purchase of good or services, valued between $50,000 and $100,000, must utilize informal competition, which includes obtaining 3 quotes (2 SWaM), where practicable.

  • Catering services
  • Consulting services
  • Education services, training courses, classes for students
  • Facilitators/Mediators
  • Photographers/Videographers
  • Sponsorships (requires Sponsorship Justification Form)
  • Training sessions/workshops for employees
  • Translation Services

Sole Source Procurement

Sole source procurement is made when there is only one source practicably available for the goods or services required; therefore competition is not available.

Sole Source & Proprietary Purchases

In some instances, it may be necessary to conduct a market analysis to determine if a similar product or service exists. This differs from a proprietary purchase where the product required is manufactured by only one company, but is sold through distributors and competition can be obtained among distributors.

Procurement of Sole Source More that $50,000

Sole source procurements in excess of $50,000 shall be reviewed by the Assistant Director of Purchasing, and where appropriate, the Director of Purchasing, supported with factual data that there is only one source practicably available.

Procurement of Sole Source Exceeding the Buyer’s Signature Authority

Should the dollar amount exceed the buyer’s signature authority it is the buyer’s responsibility to justify and document all sole source approvals prior to being forwarded to supervisor for review/approval.

Sole Source Procedure

  1. The department must complete the Sole Source form.
  2. Send the form to the assigned buyer.
  3. The Purchasing Department (specifically the buyer) will negotiate a contract that is in the best interest of George Mason University and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  4. The price must be determined to be fair and reasonable if competition is not available.
  5. When negotiating price, consideration should be given to obtaining such items:
    • Extended warranty.
    • Additional training.
    • Discounts.
    • Delivery, etc.
  6. The following statements are NOT sufficient when determining price reasonableness:
    • I received an educational discount.
    • I consider the price fair and reasonable.
  7. Sole sources above $50,000 are posted on the eVA website for ten (10) days.

Emergency Purchases

In the case of an emergency, a contract may be awarded by the Purchasing Department without competitive soliciting or competitive negotiation; however, such procurement shall be made with as much competition as is practicable under the circumstances.

Required Process

  1. For emergency purchase required to protect personal safety or property, efforts should be directed to finding a source and directing the contractor to proceed.
  2. The Buyer shall prepare a confirming contract or purchase order, as soon as practicable, detailing any agreements, including price, that may have been made orally with the contractor.
  3. The departmental representative requesting the purchase must submit a written determination establishing the basis for the emergency.
  4. The Director or his/her designee may approve emergency procurements up to their delegated signature authority.
  5. Include the following documentation in the procurement file:
    • The approved written determination.
    • A written notice stating that the contract is being awarded, or has been awarded, on emergency basis.
  6. The potential loss of funds at the end of a fiscal year is NOT considered an emergency.
  7. Emergency purchases above $50,000 are posted on the eVA website for ten (10) days.

Professional Services

The following services are specifically defined in Virginia law as the practice of:

  1. Accounting.
  2. Actuarial services.
  3. Architecture.
  4. Land surveying.
  5. landscape architecture.
  6. Law.
  7. Medicine.
  8. Dentistry.
  9. Optometry.
  10. Pharmacy.
  11. Professional engineering.

Required Process:

  1. The procurement of professional services is accomplished by competitive negotiation.
  2. Concurrence and/or approval from other State agencies may be required.
  3. Please contact Purchasing for assistance regarding the procurement of professional services.

Computer Equipment and Software

All computer equipment and software, except for Site Licensed Software, should be procured in accordance with the Purchasing Guidelines.

Site Licensed Software

Departments intending to purchase site licensed software should forward their requests to ITU, MSN 1B5. Manuals for Site Licensed Software are not part of the package and requests for these manuals should be forwarded to Purchasing.

Additional information related to equipment purchases may be found at Equipment Manual.

Automated Purchasing System

The Purchasing Office utilizes an automated purchasing system that fully integrates purchase order creation and issuance, receiving documentation, reporting and invoice posting and tracking.

Direct Delivery Requirements

Departments receiving direct delivery of goods or services under $2,000, except those purchased with a P-Card, should log into eVA and receive the items.

Details are available at Receiving Process.

For purchases of $2,000 or more, the Accounts Payable staff will confirm the receipt or goods or services via email.

Open Commitments

Banner Finance System establishes an encumbrance to the applicable fund/organization for every purchase order issued. University personnel responsible for departmental budgets must carefully track open commitments.

Any discrepancies or irregularities should be reported to Purchasing immediately.

eVA Orders Submitted to Purchasing

To best communicate requirements, departments should submit accurate and complete information on the eVA order.

The following information is necessary to process purchase requests:

  1. Adequate specifications and/or drawings.
  2. Quantity to be procured.
  3. Specific required delivery or completion date.
  4. Fund/org code to be charged.
  5. Electronic approval.
  6. Suggested vendor.
  7. Estimated total purchase cost.
  8. Special delivery location instructions.


When buyers from the Purchasing Office have questions about a requisition, they will routinely contact the eVA order initiator. If buyers should contact another faculty or staff member regarding order specifics, that contact information with name and both telephone number and email address should be provided in the “Comments” area of the eVA order.


For Questions: