Purchasing Basics


Purchasing at UVA - Plan, Know the limits, choose a method, policies


Question Mark IconPlan




Consider using a University contract

University Contracts offer:

  • The best prices negotiated on historical and forecasted University usage
  • Hassle-free purchasing. Using a contract vendor means that there's no need to obtain quotes, register a vendor, or check eVA status
  • Known, approved vendors. Vendor performance is monitored, and they have a vested interest in keeping all their University customers happy.


Think about buying internally


KnowKnow the Limits



Guidelines for Competition

In order to encourage competition for purchases, state laws and University policies set dollar thresholds at which the University must issue formal solicitations for a purchase. The Guidelines for Competition govern the process required to make a purchase. Depending on the total estimated dollar amount of the purchase, including shipping and handling, but excluding sales tax, the Guidelines help purchasers determine the number of vendor quotes and type of solicitation needed for their purchase.


Dollar Sign IconChoose a Purchase Method 



The purchase of some commodities is governed by laws, University policies, or additional workflow approvals. These commodities can only be purchased using specific methods so that the right department(s) at UVA can approve the purchase. The Goods & Service Procurement Guide is a great resource for researching what you're buying, how to buy it, which contracts are in place to make the purchase easier, and if possible, which expenditure type to use for the purchase.


The UVA Marketplace - Shop and Create Purchase Orders (POs)

A Purchase Order (PO) is the most commonly-used purchasing method at UVA. It begins as a requisition issued in the UVA Marketplace. Users may either select items and services from electronic catalogs, or manually enter information into a “non-catalog form.” They then “check out” to enter account information. Depending on the shopper’s system responsibilities, the requisition’s total value, and certain restricted commodity areas, the requisition is either routed to a Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services buyer for further review or is turned directly into a Purchase Order and sent to the vendor for fulfillment. 

For help using the UVA Marketplace, please visit Finance Outreach & Compliance Resources and Help.


Travel & Expense (T&E) Card - Pay on the Go

The Travel and Expense card is the University's “one card” solution (formerly known as the Pcard) that allows the cardholder to make small-dollar purchases of goods, services, and travel expenses. The T&E Card combines the previous purchasing and travel card programs into one card. The card is a corporate liability, which means the University pays the bill on behalf of the cardholder.

The University Travel and Expense Card is the preferred method of payment for all employee-initiated travel, meals, and entertainment expenses for the following reasons:

  • Does not incur international fees, cash withdrawal fees, or sales tax on goods and services that are exempted from sales tax.
  • VISA provides cardholder additional assistance, insurance, and services for purchases paid with a Travel and Expense Card.

For questions or assistance, please visit Travel & Expense Card or contact the University's Card Administrators at card@virginia.edu or 434-924-4212.


Payment Voucher - Demand Payment

Payment Vouchers are demand payments issued directly into Oracle for a limited number of goods and services – usually direct payments to individuals.

For help using the Integrated System to create or change a payment voucher, please visit Finance Outreach & Compliance Resources and Help.


Open book iconPolicies and Resources


For purchasing tools, training, resources, and policies: Purchasing Resources



To ask a question or get help with any of the Purchasing Basics, visit our purchasing team contact directory, call (434) 924-4212 or email askfinance@virginia.edu.