Learn About Purchasing From a Non-UwPA Supplier

This page outlines conditions and requirements for purchasing goods or services from non-UwPA suppliers (suppliers who do not have university-wide purchasing agreements in place). When a necessary good or service cannot be acquired from a UwPA supplier, you should follow the guidelines provided on this page for completing your purchase. 


CU Marketplace and UwPA suppliers are vendors that have been awarded a University contract based on a competitively negotiated process managed by Central Purchasing. These suppliers maintain a "preferred supplier" status at Columbia, affording the University community easier access to their goods and services through designated website platforms and representatives. 

However, sometimes there are goods and services that cannot be sourced from anywhere but a non-UwPA supplier.

In many cases, you will be able to find a supplier of this kind already available in ARC because of previous purchases made by other schools and departments. You can check to see if a supplier is already in ARC by using the ARC Vendor ID Lookup Tool. 

Depending on whether the purchase is a good or service, schools and departments purchasing from a non-preferred supplier have three payment methods available to them:


P-Cards may only be used for goods/items under $2,500. Procurement cards should never be used to purchase services.

For more information about using P-Cards to make purchases, visit Learn About Using the P-Card.

​​​​Central Purchase Orders

Requisitions for central purchase orders should be used in the following cases:

  • For all goods/items over $500 that cannot be purchased with a UwPA nor P-Card.
  • For all services or contracts that need to be reviewed by Central Purchasing.

If the requisition is approved by Central Purchasing, a central purchase order will be created and sent to the supplier.

For more information about using requisitions to create central purchase orders, visit Create a Requisition.

Accounts Payable or Non-PO Vouchers

Some payments do not require a requisition and can be purchased and paid for using an Accounts Payable voucher.

For more information about using a voucher to pay, visit Non-Purchase Order Vouchers.

Please use the Purchasing Process Toolkit to determine the documentation requirements for each purchase you wish to make.

Please note that one or more of the following supporting documentation may be required to obtain purchase approval:

  • Competitive sourcing forms
  • Certificate of Insurance (COI)
  • Single/Sole-Source Justification Form
  • Scope of Work
  • Quote/Proposal Awarded
  • Client List (company or individual)
  • Resume (individual)

Documentation requirements may also be found within the product and service categories of the Goods and Services Catalog.

Training Resources for Completing a Purchase From a Non-Preferred Supplier

Take the Creating Requisition and Managing Purchase Orders web-based training to navigate the end-to-end process for Requisitions and Purchase Orders. 

View the job aid for Creating Requisitions in ARC.

You may also take the Purchasing Basics: Part I - Requisitions and Purchase Orders in ARC instructor-led course at the next available offering.

University Policy

Please view Requisitions and Purchase Orders on our University Policies site for additional information.