Purchases & Subawards using Federal Funds

Federal funds used for purchases and subawards must comply with the Procurement Standards under OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR §200). Individual federal grants may contain terms and conditions that are unique and specific to the grants and are in addition to this Policy. For guidance regarding payments to research participants, please visit Payments to Human Subjects. Principal Investigators must comply, at a minimum, with the following principles when purchasing with Federal funds:

  • Purchases must follow the Bates College purchasing procedures for both tangible goods and services.
  • Purchases must be necessary, not duplicative and must provide a direct benefit to the Federal grant.
  • Where appropriate, an analysis of lease and purchase options, and any other appropriate analysis must be performed to determine the most economical and practical procurement.
  • Where appropriate and to the extent required by each procurement method outlined below, analysis and selection must ensure open competition, objective contractor performance and elimination of unfair competitive advantage.
  • Employees, officers, or agents of the College must adhere to the Federal Conflict of Interest Policy and may not participate in the selection, award, or administration of a contract supported by Federal funds if a real or apparent conflict of interest exists.
  • Purchases, to the extent practicable and economically feasible, are to be made using minority businesses, women’s business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms.
  • Transactions must be supported by original detailed and unduplicated documentation.
  • Purchases must remain in aggregate and cannot be separated into multiple increments in order to bypass procurement threshold requirements.

Purchases and commitments that are not in compliance with these Federal requirements will need to be returned, cancelled or paid for with department funds or other non-federal sources.  Please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance for assistance with purchases and subawards using federal funds.

Federal methods of procurement:

  • Micro-purchases (< $10,000 in aggregate)
    • To the extent practicable, micro-purchases must be distributed in an equitable and reasonable manner to ensure fair and competitive pricing.
  • Small purchases ($10,000 up to $250,000 Simplified Acquisition Threshold)
    • Price or rate quotations must be obtained in written format (which may include vendor price lists from public websites) from a minimum of two qualified vendors and included with the submission of the invoice when purchasing with Federal funds; and
    • To the extent practicable, small purchases must be distributed in an equitable and reasonable manner to ensure fair and competitive pricing.
  • Competitive proposals (above $250,000 Simplified Acquisition Threshold)
    • Expected cost and price analysis must be done in advance for each purchase above $250,000 (i.e. catalogued or published list price, historical or market pricing; comparison to similar purchases); and
    • Requests for proposal (RFP) must be obtained from at least two qualified sources; and
    • RFP, including pertinent attachments must define the item or service specifications in order for the bidder to properly respond; and
    • RFP must clearly identify all evaluation factors and their relative importance in the awarding process (i.e. pricing, timing, outcome specifications, references); and
    • Selection of proposal must be documented in writing, supporting the evaluation methods written into the RFP and included with the submission of the invoice when purchasing with Federal funds; and
    • Contracts must be awarded to the most responsible firm, whose proposal is most advantageous to the federal grant and the College.
  • Noncompetitive proposals (Sole Source)
    • To be used only when one of the four criteria are met:
      • The goods or services is available from only one source provider.
      • The public exigency or emergency will not permit a delay resulting from a competitive proposal.
      • The Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity has expressly authorized in writing in response to a written request by the Principal Investigator to waive the noncompetitive proposal requirement.
      • Competition is deemed inadequate after a minimum of two solicitations have been unsuccessful.
    • A written sole source justification must be included with the submission of the invoice when purchasing with Federal funds.
      • Sole source justification must explicitly identify which of the four criteria apply to the procurement method; and
      • Provide information that addresses justification for noncompetitive procurement (i.e. only one known source; unique source; compatibility; professional expertise; product availability; exigency or geographic limitations).

Excluded Parties Verification:

  • Debarment and Suspension ($25,000 or more)
    • For amounts of $25,000 or more, vendors and subawardees must be verified that they do not appear on the Excluded Parties Listing using the search function of SAM (System for Award Management). Purchase Orders are verified by the Accounting Department prior to purchasing with Federal funds. Subawardees are verified by the Office of Sponsored Research and Compliance prior to issuance of subaward.

Procurement documentation requirements summarized in the table below:

Purchases must be supported by: <$10,000 Between $10,000 and $250,000 >$250,000 Sole Source (any amount)
Efforts to distribute in an equitable and reasonable manner among vendors
Written price/rate quotes from at least 2 sources
Submitted with invoice
Advanced cost/price analysis
Request for Proposal from at least 2 sources
Evaluation and selection justification
Submitted with invoice
Sole source justification
Submitted with invoice
Written search confirmation of Excluded Parties inquiry