Sources and Methods of Purchasing

Which Method?

There are a number of purchase methods authorized for the procurement of goods, services and equipment. You must determine which method fits the type and dollar value of your specific need before you take any purchasing action. In situations where you are not certain which method applies to your specific need - call your Procurement Officer.


All departments are encouraged to contact the Procurement Officer responsible for their functional area before taking any purchase action if they are unsure of how to proceed.

First Sources of Supply

State and College sources must be evaluated before requesting a purchase order to an outside source. Consideration must be given to surplus property, Central Stores stock, State Term Contract, College Term Contract, and Prison Industries for goods and services, and the Copy Center for copying and printing needs. These transactions are accomplished using the College of Charleston Intra-Departmental Request (IDT) Form. See reference to specific area for more detailed procedures. Office supplies should be purchased in eProcure using the OfficeMax punch-out catalog.

Purchasing Card

The Purchasing Card is a Visa credit card issued by Bank of America. It is a fast, flexible purchasing tool which offers an alternative to the existing College purchasing processes and provides an extremely efficient and effective method for purchasing and paying for small purchases with a total value of $2,500 or less ($1,500 if you have not passed the online Purchasing Card test). The card is to be used only for official College purchases. It may not be used for personal purchases.

The Visa Purchasing Card will enable you to purchase non-restricted commodities, in person or by telephone, fax, internet, or mail directly from vendors. It eliminates the need for issuing low dollar purchase orders, many blanket purchase orders, and reduces the need for Expenditure Authorization Forms.

The Visa Purchasing Card will be issued in the approved employee's name with the College of Charleston's emblem, the wording "For Official Use Only" and the College of Charleston clearly indicated on the card. Complete explanation of the program is included in Purchasing Card Manual.

Expenditure Authorization 

Generally no payments can be made to a vendor without a purchase order. In a few specific cases non-purchase order payments may be initiated for paying certain items exempt from the Procurement Code. This is accomplished through an Expenditure Authorization (EA) Form. The Expenditure Authorization Form is available in electronic format in eProcure and is submitted and approved electronically.  Alternately, a paper copy may be obtained from the Controller's Office website.  After the paper form is completed and signed by an authorized fund administrator/department head, it should be forwarded to the Controller's Office. A proper explanation for payment should be noted on the form in the space provided and the invoice or supporting documentation attached. Expenditure Authorizations may not be used in place of the Purchase Order system to contract with outside vendors for goods or services. A list of common exemptions is located on the Expenditure Authorization Form in eProcure. As noted above, sufficient documentation must accompany any Expenditure Authorization to verify it meets the above guidelines. Examples of documentation are: invoices, letters, registration forms, printed advertising, and order forms.

College of Charleston Requisition

The Purchase Requisition is used to initiate all purchase transactions other than those using Purchasing Card or Expenditure Authorization systems described previously. As part of the College's computerized system, purchase requisitions should be entered through the College's eProcure system. When properly completed in eProcure, the requisition authorizes the Office of Procurement to process the requisition and issue a purchase order. 

eProcure user training is scheduled periodically. eProcure manuals and tutorials are also available on our website.