Policies & Procedures - Purchasing

The full Purchasing Manual which contains all purchasing policies and procedures is available in PDF format.

Competitive Bidding Policy

Roger Williams University Competitive Bidding Policy 

Purchasing Department, March 2024

I. Policy Statement 

The Purchasing Department staff, as agents of the University, are responsible for the procurement of materials, equipment, and services across the University. The procurement process involves researching and negotiating with vendors to acquire goods and services at the best competitive pricing, while considering quality, suitability, and service. Good business practice and the responsibility for the expenditure of University funds require the University to follow a policy for obtaining competitive bids/quotations. This policy on competitive bids provides guidance to ensure that the University maintains a competitive sourcing environment. The policy calls for obtaining competitive bids based on prices and other pertinent factors related to a purchase. Competitive procurement requirements are dependent on the dollar value and nature of the purchase. This policy explains the three threshold levels that have been established to promote competitive bidding, increase efficiency, and standardize the procurement process. It is expected that the lowest bidder be selected, provided they meet the defined requirements. In the event the low bid is not selected, justification for the decision must be documented. There are circumstances where it is not possible or practical to obtain three bids. Those circumstances are covered in the Special Circumstances section of this policy. The following guidelines have been established to promote competitive bidding. Requestors should realize that these are minimum requirements, and that bids or price comparisons should be solicited whenever the goods or services can be purchased from multiple suitable suppliers. Upon request, the Purchasing Department will assist departments in locating potential suppliers and obtaining pricing and product availability information for any threshold level. Bids and quotes submitted to the University must be held in strictest confidence and under no circumstances should vendors be given information about bids or pricing obtained from competing vendors. Purchases for goods or services that require the involvement of the Facilities Department should not be made until the Facilities Department has reviewed the purchase request and determined the scope and cost for any incremental purchases or services that will be required. This includes but is not limited to any purchase that impacts plumbing, electrical, HVAC, or that requires space modifications. This policy may not be circumvented by breaking larger purchases into smaller dollar amounts that fall into a lower tier. 

II. Scope 

The scope of this policy includes Undergraduate, Graduate School, School of Law, and University College purchases, as well as purchases of goods and services intended for leased properties (e.g., One Empire Plaza, the Clay Studio (26 Burnside St.), the Senior Studio (87 Gooding Ave.), and any other properties that may be acquired or leased after this policy is written. III. Requirements: University-funded Purchases The requirements in this section are for university-funded purchases only. Purchases that are made with grant funds may have different requirements. See Section IV, Requirements: Grant-funded Purchases, below for that information. 

A. Tier One: 

Purchases up to $10,000 For purchases less than $10,000, requestors should follow their own judgment in identifying potential suppliers. It is preferred that the goods or services be obtained from an existing vendor with whom we have a contract or master agreement on file. The Purchasing Department can help requestors make that determination. Educational consortia should also be investigated. The Purchasing Department can support any department in identifying preferred sources for goods and services. 

B. Tier 2: 

Purchases between $10,000- $100,000 All purchases over $10,000 but not exceeding $100,000 require that at least three (3) quotations be obtained from suppliers if not utilizing a contract or master agreement. All quotations must be in written form. The purchaser is not required to submit all quotations with their requisition; however, they must maintain a copy of the quotes for their records. Quotes can be obtained from suppliers or from public websites. If the low bid is deemed unacceptable, the requestor must keep a record of the justification for not accepting the lowest bid. The Purchasing Department is available to assist in obtaining competitive bids. If the requestor is unable to identify three suppliers, the Purchasing Department may be contacted to assist in identifying additional suppliers. At any point in time, the Purchasing Department may ask to review quotes obtained for a particular purchase. 

C. Tier 3: 

Purchases over $100,000 Competitive bidding via a formal RFP process is required for the procurement of goods and services with a total estimated cost greater than $100,000. With the exception of projects managed by the Capital Projects Department, all purchases over $100,000 require the involvement of the Purchasing Department. The Capital Projects Department will conduct the formal RFP process for purchases over $100,000, however, the involvement of the Purchasing Department is not a requirement. It is at the discretion of the AVP of Facilities & Capital Projects in conjunction with the Director of Purchasing as to whether the involvement of Purchasing is appropriate for any particular project. Prior to making purchases over $100,000, the Purchasing Department must determine whether: a) an appropriate contract exists and under which the product/service can be purchased, or b) the product/service can be grouped with another transaction to realize additional cost savings. Prior to soliciting bids, the requesting department must contact the Purchasing Department to initiate the process. The first step will be a meeting with all internal stakeholders to discuss the department’s requirements. The requestor will provide the Purchasing Department with all relevant information regarding the required goods/services, timing, budget, and suggested vendors. The Purchasing Department will collaborate with the requestor to create the RFP. It is required that at least three suitable vendors receive an RFP. If less than three vendors receive the RFP, the rationale shall be documented by either the requestor or the Purchasing Department. Once the RFP is written, in the majority of cases, the Purchasing Department will be the single point of contact with bidders for distributing the RFP, receiving inquiries, and distributing answers to questions. The Purchasing Department will also be the recipient of final proposals from bidders and will provide a tabulation of bids for the review and evaluation of the stakeholders. Once a bidder has been selected, the Purchasing Department will remain the primary point of contact with the bidder and will facilitate negotiations and finalize the contract. Once all of the business terms have been agreed-to by the vendor and internal stakeholders, the contract must be submitted for Contract Review by the Office of General Counsel. Once OGC has completed their review, the contract will be forwarded to an authorized signatory. Only authorized signatories may execute a contract on behalf of RWU. 

IV. Requirements: 

Grant-funded Purchases Purchasing goods and services that use grant funds must be managed under the Federal regulations outlined in the federal register. While Federal regulations have guidelines based on the dollar amount of the purchase, the internal bid policies of an organization may also come into play. If the Federal regulation and internal policy have different spending limits, grant purchases must follow the more stringent of the two policies. The Federal statute requires purchases of $5,000 or greater, and with a useful life of over one year, to be capitalized. However, RWU’s internal threshold for the capitalization of purchases is $3,000, therefore, RWU must follow its internal policy. Federal regulations require that we obtain three quotes for purchases equal to or greater than the Micro-Purchase threshold of $10,000 which is the same as RWU’s internal policy. Federal regulations require a formal RFP process for purchases that exceed the Simplified Acquisition Threshold of $250,000, however, the RWU bid policy requires a formal RFP process for purchases equal to or greater than $100,000. This means that RWU must follow RWU’s policy and do formal RFP’s for grant purchases greater than $100,000 since it is more stringent of the two policies. In summary, RWU must follow the guidelines below for grant-funded purchases: Below $10,000 : competitive quotes are not required. (Same as federal regulations.) $10,000 - $100,000: three quotes are required. (More stringent than federal regulations since they allow three quotes up to $250,000.) $100,000 and above: a formal RFP process is required. (More stringent than federal guidelines.) Federal guidelines allow for exceptions when alternate sources are not available or not feasible. Justification for these purchases must follow the organization’s internal no-bid justification process. Details on RWU’s no-bid process are detailed below in the section V, Special Circumstances. 

V. Special Circumstances 

A. Sole Source 

A sole source purchase is one where goods or services are only available from one vendor. This situation makes it impossible to obtain competitive bids. Potential scenarios for sole source purchases include but are not limited to: 

  1. Vendor is the only authorized distributor/provider in the geographical area 
  2. Item is special research equipment that is manufactured only by one vendor 
  3. Vendor is the only service provider for existing equipment or software 
  4. Vendor is the only provider for this brand of equipment, software, or service, where such brand and/or expertise relates to existing Roger Williams University equipment or software 

Written documentation is required on all sole source purchases with an aggregate expenditure greater than $10,000. When requisitioning goods or services from a sole source, the requisitioning department shall complete the No Bid Justification Form and furnish documentation to Purchasing to justify why the technical characteristics inherent in the item or service make it essential to purchase from the sole source vendor. 

B. No-bid 

A no-bid purchase is one where multiple vendors exist, however, there is a compelling reason to use a specific vendor, consultant, or manufacturer without going out to bid. The circumstances under which a no-bid procurement may be authorized include: 

  1. An emergency purchase necessary to protect the safety of RWU personnel or students, or to protect existing property from immediate damage or loss. Such emergency sole source procurement decisions will be made only at the discretion of the applicable department or division Vice President. 
  2. An urgent need to maintain or restore University operations. Examples include issues resulting from inclement weather, breakdown of HVAC equipment, power outages, water emergencies, and breakdown of essential vehicles.
  3. A purchase needed immediately in support of an ongoing RWU function or operation (e.g., graduation) which could not have otherwise been anticipated. 
  4. The nature of the product or service requires continuity or knowledge that is held only by the vendor that previously provided similar products or services. This also applies in circumstances where previous work or products need to be reworked, removed, or replaced, and the work is best done by the original vendor. 
  5. The equipment, parts, or service must be sourced from the local/regional distributor designated by the OEM. 
  6. A recent RFP demonstrates that the selected vendor has competitive pricing, and that the vendor should be used for continuation of a similar product or service. 
  7. RWU has a “Preferred Vendor” Agreement in place with the vendor of choice. 
  8. A Group Purchasing Organization or consortium has a contract with the vendor and RWU is participating in the contract. GPO and consortium contracts are the result of an RFP and therefore no additional bids are required when using their contracts. Group Purchasing Organizations with whom RWU participates in contracts include E&I, MHEC, OMNIA, HPS, and Sourcewell. 

In those cases where a no-bid purchase must be made, the authorization to do so rests solely with the department head who will complete the No Bid Justification Form and furnish documentation to Purchasing to substantiate that one of the two conditions above are met. In that instance, the department will use all diligence necessary to ensure that the cost of the goods and service procured is fair and reasonable. 

C. Existing Contracts 

Bids are not required for purchases that are made as part of an existing contract. The OGC contract number under which the goods or services are being purchased should be referenced in the Purchase Requisition. The Purchasing Department can assist requestors in identifying contract numbers. 

D. IT Purchases 

It is recognized that IT projects can have multiple technical considerations in relation to obtaining bids from multiple vendors. The follow areas are specified: 

  1. VAR (Value Added Resellers): It is inherent in VAR sourcing that we are getting the lowest possible pricing from the manufacturers with whom our vendor holds the VAR relationship. As such, multiple bids are not required from VARs for products that are made by the specific manufacturer with whom they hold the relationship. The Purchasing Department shall maintain a current list of all VARs. Vendors who carry products from multiple manufacturers may not be a VAR for all of them. Multiple quotes must be obtained for products/manufacturers that are not within the VAR agreement. 
  2. IT Projects: Multiple-year but finite projects to install new or upgrade existing equipment may require the use of the same vendor for the course of the project to ensure continuity and consistency. Multiple bids are not required for the selected vendor throughout the course of the project. The Purchasing Department shall maintain a current list of defined projects including project duration, selected vendors, and types of products expected to be purchased from vendors. 
  3. Preferred vendor relationships: Multiple bids are not required when preferred vendor relationships exist. The Purchasing Department shall maintain a current list of preferred vendors including supporting information or explanation as to why the vendor was selected. Also included on the list should be the date on which the preferred vendor relationship either ends or should be re-evaluated, or any circumstance which would require the relationship to be reviewed, i.e., expiration of a contract with a consortium. 

VI. Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) Master Agreements. 

With the authorization and oversight of the Director of Purchasing, certain departments may enter into ID/IQ contracts with selected vendors for the procurement of routine goods and services on a recurring basis. ID/IQ’s are for short term, relatively minor, design and construction projects, and may be used under the following conditions: 

  1. The ID/IQ solicitation or RFP must be broadly advertised so as to result in a minimum of 4 proposals from comparable suppliers. Multiple ID/IQ contracts are awarded for each category of ID/IQ awarded (e.g. landscaping and minor site work). 
  2. The department will draft a selection criteria to evaluate each proposal received. The ID/IQ vendor selection criteria must be weighted 50% or more on the generic price proposal / schedule of fees included with the proposal. Roger Williams University Competitive Bidding Policy Purchasing Department, March 2024 7 
  3. Each ID/IQ vendor must execute a master agreement contract, the terms and conditions of which are incorporated by reference into each purchase order awarded under the ID/IQ agreement. 
  4. The cost for task orders assigned under the ID/IQ agreement will be based on the competitively bid schedule of fees included in the ID/IQ proposals and subsequent contract. 
  5. The intent of the ID/IQ agreement is to streamline procurement and standardize contracts, however, when possible the department making the purchase under the ID/IQ will solicit bid proposals from two or more ID/IQ contract holders, prior to issuing the purchase order. 

Some examples of projects that are appropriate for the use of ID/IQ’s include bathroom renovations, renovation of a building envelope, repairs to a parking garage, sports field improvements, and furniture replacements. ID/IQ’s are not for major capital projects. The determination of whether or not the use of an ID/IQ is appropriate lies with the Project Director. 

VII. Additional Information 

To ensure objectivity and eliminate unfair competitive advantage, suppliers (i.e., vendors) who participate in the preliminary planning or development or drafting of specifications, requirements, requests for quotes or proposals must be informed in writing prior to such assistance that the information they develop will be shared with all potential bidders, and that they will be required to submit a full proposal for the goods or services and be subject to the same selection and award criteria as others submitting proposals. To avoid potential conflicts of interest, no employee, officer, or agent of the College should participate in the selection, award, or administration of purchases or contracts in which, to his or her knowledge, the employee, immediate family, or partner has a financial interest in the supplier's organization. Bids and quotes submitted to the University must be held in strictest confidence and under no circumstances should suppliers be given information about bids or quotes, or pricing obtained from competitive sources. Per the Roger Williams University Records Retention Schedule, Section VI(E), Office of Purchasing, RFP’s and Bids must be retained for 7 years. The records are retained by the Purchasing Department.

POL020: Delegation of Authority






 By virtue of appointment, the Director of Purchasing has the authority to delegate responsibility for certain types of purchases and/or negotiations when it is determined to be in the best interest of the University. Coordination with the proper departments will prevent unnecessary duplication of orders and will insure product compatibility. 


The authority to purchase books, periodicals, and subscriptions solely for the use by the library is vested with the University Library. Likewise, authority to purchase books, periodicals, and subscriptions solely for use by the Roger Williams University School of Law, hereinafter referred to as the School of Law, is vested with the Dean, School of Law. The Director of Purchasing is responsible to insure that all purchases made by the University Library and the School of Law Library are in accordance with Roger Williams University purchasing policy and procedures.  


Requests for audio visual equipment and other supplies, including video tapes, must be coordinated through the Audio Visual Department before purchasing action will be approved by the Purchasing Department. Requests for audio visual equipment for use within the School of Law must be coordinated through the Director of Media Services. Additionally, major audio visual projects for the University should include the services of the Director of Media Services, School of Law.  


Requests for computer hardware, software, and accessories must be coordinated through the office of the Vice President of Information Technology before purchasing action will be taken by the Purchasing Office.  


Requests for advertising in local or national publications must be coordinated through the Public Affairs Department before purchasing action will be approved by the Purchasing Office.  This will insure university standards for advertising are uniform. 


These types of Items can be sourced at competitive prices from http://www.campuscasuals.com through arrangements with RWU Bookstores. An additional 20% discount is applicable to all web catalog prices. It is suggested http://www.campuscasuals.com catalog be reviewed prior to seeking external sources. 


 Purchasing is responsible for soliciting competitive bids for major construction and renovation projects. Bid packages are to be prepared by the Facilities Management department which may include the recommendation for the additional hiring of consultants, engineering specialists and or architects. A minimum of at least three bids is preferred at all times and upon receipt at the Purchasing Department shall be opened in the presence of at least two witnesses. Upon review and evaluation of each bid a recommendation is to be presented to the Vice President of Finance and Operations, President and the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees.  


Deans and Department heads may delegate approval authority to subordinates provided such delegation is documented in writing to the Director of Purchasing. Documents must include, as a minimum, the name, title, signature, and dollar limit restrictions. Part time employees, temporary employees and students may not be delegated to have approving authority. 

POL040: Unauthorized Purchases






University employees and students are not to enter into procurement contracts, or in any way obligate Roger Williams University for procurement indebtedness except as specifically authorized by this manual, by the University President, the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, Vice President for Finance or the Director of Purchasing.  Unauthorized purchases made by any individual may be determined to be a personal obligation between the individual and the vendor. Such obligations will not be honored by Roger Williams University for payment. In such instances the supplier will be notified by letter that the University will not accept responsibility for the debt. The individual will receive written notification of the University's decision and a copy of the vendor's request for payment. 


It is unethical and against the law to use Roger Williams  University purchase orders or credit cards for personal purchases. It is also against the law to use the tax exempt status of the University in any way, either directly or indirectly, with regard to personal purchases.  


Contracted personnel, often referred to as 1099 status are not authorized to act in any capacity as an agent of Roger Williams University in the procurement of goods and services.  Such persons cannot legally commit University funds or authorize payment of monetary obligations.  


Roger Williams University students are not authorized to act as agents on behalf of the University. Students must not be placed in a position to negotiate prices, place orders, sign contracts, or in any manner obligate Roger Williams University. University employees responsible to supervise student groups are charged to insure students do not violate these provisions. 

POL050: Negotiated Pricing Agreements






The Purchasing Office has negotiated special pricing agreements with a variety of suppliers for specific commodities and services. These agreements assure low and/or competitive prices are available. As the need arises the Purchasing Office will assist departments that choose to take advantage of these arrangements. 


As a member institution of the National Association of Educational Buyers (NAEB) Roger Williams University is a member of the Educational and Institutional Cooperative. The cooperative is a national organization which establishes national and regional contracts at affordable prices.  


Special pricing for office supplies and goods are contracted on an annual basis. The office supply contract is intended to provide a means for departments to obtain day to day items for office operation. The agreement is not intended for the purchase of non consumable goods such as floor lamps, file cabinets, furniture, white boards or other similar products. To enforce this intent, a dollar restriction of $200.00 per item has been established. 

POL060: Vendor Relations






The Purchasing Department and all university personnel performing the purchasing function should endeavor to build and maintain professional and courteous relations with vendors and their sales representatives. Vendor goodwill is an important asset to the University and should be handled with courtesy, honesty, and fairness. Departments should notify the Purchasing Department of any exemplary or unsatisfactory performance displayed by a vendor or the vendor's representative. The Purchasing Department will assist departments in resolving any disputes with suppliers whenever such assistance is needed. The most harmful issue between any vendor and the University is the failure by the University to pay its obligations in a timely fashion. Requisitions should not instruct vendors to send bills or invoices to the department as this only serves to delay approval and payment. 


Roger Williams University encourages the meaningful participation of minority owned businesses whenever possible.


The University allows the limited purchase of goods and services from private individuals only when the individual is not an employee of the University. Requisitions addresses to such persons must include the individual's social security number (SSAN).


As an educational institution, Roger Williams University is exempt from federal and state sale tax under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code 501 (c) (3). Federal and States tax exempt numbers appear on each purchase order form sent to vendors. If a supplier requests a copy of the University's exemption certificate the supplier should be directed to contact the Purchasing Department. 

POL070: Travel and Entertainment




UPDATED: December 2023 


Travel includes all necessary official transportation on railroads, airplanes, buses, automobiles, and other common carriers.  Every situation is different when it comes to travel. Therefore, individuals traveling should make their own travel arrangements in adherence with RWU policies. Entertainment expenses must be prudent and appropriate to the occasion.   This policy is intended to provide for the reasonable needs of travelers, to control travel expenditures, to maximize the University's ability to negotiate discounted rates with preferred suppliers, to facilitate proper reporting, and to ensure compliance with applicable IRS requirements.  While the information in this handbook should be sufficient to cover the majority of scenarios, it is inevitable that certain situations are not addressed. This handbook is not expected to cover every possible situation. For example, federally funded awards may have additional requirements associated with their expenditures. It is encouraged that items of an unusual nature be discussed with the Finance or Purchasing Office.   


For the sake of clarity, the definitions and procedures in this policy and related practice guides distinguish between "transportation" and "travel."  

Transportation:  leaving campus for a period of less than 24 hours, generally within a 50-mile radius, and not requiring overnight lodging.  

Travel:  leaving campus or home for a period exceeding 24 hours, beyond the general area, and necessitating an overnight stay.  

Domestic Travel: travel among any of the fifty United States, its possessions and territories.  In the case of sponsored projects, domestic travel may be defined in the contractual documents.  

Foreign Travel: travel outside of the United States, its possessions, and territories.  In the case of sponsored projects, foreign travel may be defined in the contractual documents.  Federal grants or contracts must comply with the Fly American Act and all applicable federal requirements.  Any questions should be directed to the Finance Office.  

Official Travel: travel on approved university business between home (or normal workplace) and another destination.  Commuting between one's home and regular place of employment is not official travel.  

Grant Related Travel:  travel using federal or state funds.  Grant policies supersede the university travel policy.  

Supervisor:  Someone to whom the traveler reports in an official capacity.  A supervisor does not include administrative assistants or employees that report to the traveler. 

Pre-Approval of Travel Requests  

All overnight travel on university business should be authorized in advance by the Senior Vice President/ Vice President of the unit and submitted at least two weeks prior to travel.  The requester will be responsible for assuring that budgeted funds are available to meet any travel commitment.  SVP’s, VP’s, Deans and Directors will be able to attend up to one national (domestic) conference and one regional conference subject to budget and rationale.  The process begins with an individual contacting an approved travel agency, on-line service, airline, hotel, etc., and requesting an itinerary.  Traveler must then complete The Travel Pre-Authorization Form and 2 submit to Department Head, Dean, and/or Vice President for approval before making final arrangements for travel. Travel and entertainment are permitted with the expectation there is a present or future benefit to RWU. 

Once arrangements are finalized and the Senior Vice President or Vice President has approved the trip, the traveler must make their travel arrangements utilizing the RWU P-Card.  The use of personal credit cards is generally not permitted as the RWU P card is the preferred method of payment. 

When travel is completed, all Travel and Entertainment Reimbursement Forms (T&E Form) must be signed and approved by a supervisor. When traveling to conferences, seminars, etc. the conference schedule and agenda must be attached to the T&E form. 

Athletic teams and recruiters are exempted from this requirement when traveling on prearranged schedules.  

Travel & Accommodations  

When assistance is required for Travel and Accommodations, it is strongly suggested that all travel and accommodation arrangements should be made through an agency approved by Roger Williams University. Alternatively, "online" travel services may also be used if lower in cost, however, they should always be compared to the RWU approved travel agency. This agency can offer travel assistance away from home should the circumstances require something "online" services do not provide.  

Travel Agent  

Pearson Travel
1019 Waterman Ave  
East Providence, RI  02914  
(P) 401-438-8400 or 800- 336-1066 
(F) 401-438-6858 

Maryann Sasso President 
(P) 800-817-2508 

Primary Contact: 
Phone: 401-438-8400 
Angela Kozinian Ext. 1802  
Virginia Sanchez Ext.  1801  
Lynn Lander Ext. 1804 

Airline and Hotel Accommodations  

The preferred payment of choice for travel expenses is the RWU P-Card.  If employees inadvertently utilize their own personal credit cards for prepaid trip expenses (i.e., airline tickets, registration fees, lodging, etc.), reimbursement will only be made when all trip expenses, along with receipts, are submitted to the Accounts Payable office after the completion of travel.  In the unusual event when an employee seeks reimbursement for airline travel, claims for reimbursement must be supported by the original passenger receipt. The payment receipt or other documentation that supports the actual cost paid must be provided.  Reimbursement for etickets should be accompanied by the itinerary showing “e-ticket”, name of the traveler and the amount paid or the original payment receipt or other documentation that supports the actual cost paid must be provided whenever possible.  A copy of the final hotel bill, with all charges clearly identified, should be attached to the T&E form. Method of payment should be displayed as well as an explanation of why these charges were not placed on the RWU PCard.  Air travel must be economy class seating.  Seat upgrades and preferred seating within economy class are not permitted. Hotel reservations must be made at moderate priced hotels.   Railway Service Taxis and Shuttles  Travelers are expected to obtain receipts for taxis, railway services and shuttles. These receipts must be original and on the letterhead of the outside vendor. Amtrak tickets purchased on the RWU P-Card must be 4 receipted with a ticket stub that clearly defines the cost of the ticket and destination. Amtrak tickets purchased online must be receipted with a receipt that clearly defines the destination and the total amount of the ticket.  Private Auto Use  When travel by private automobile is chosen over a common carrier to save time, transport equipment, or reduce costs when a number of people are traveling to the same destination together, reimbursement to the traveler will be on the basis of actual business mileage traveled.  Reimbursement for private vehicle use cannot exceed the cost (or sum of costs for more than one traveler) of round-trip air travel between the nearest airport of origin and destination, including coach fare and incidental expenses to travel to or from the airport.  If several travelers share a privately-owned vehicle, only the owner of the vehicle will be reimbursed for mileage.  

Reimbursement of Costs:  

An accurate daily record of miles traveled must be maintained and submitted with the T&E form.  The reimbursement rate will be preset and published annually.   The mileage reimbursement rate covers all operating costs of the vehicle, including but not limited to gasoline, repairs, depreciation and insurance.  Private vehicles used for business travel are not covered by university insurance.  No reimbursement is permitted for costs of repairs or damages to vehicles, costs for locksmiths, car washes, or towing whether they result from the acts of the traveler or others.  Fines for moving or parking traffic violations are not reimbursable.  Commuting costs (transportation between home and workplace) are never reimbursable.  Actual mileage will be reimbursed.  The mileage reimbursed cannot exceed the mileage from the place of employment to the destination. 

Motor Vehicle Use Policy  

Car Rental  

EHI Holdings (comprised of Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Rental Car) is RWU’s preferred car rental company.  You may make reservations with Enterprise or its’ affiliated company National Car Rental. Rental cars should be no larger than mid-size.  

You may make reservations in the following manner:  

Enterprise & National Rental Car   

Please use this link for all car rentals – whether renting locally or when traveling on University business.

When traveling for RWU purposes the traveler should always decline insurance as the damage waiver is included in the University rate and RWU also carries blanket coverage for all employees. Every reasonable effort should be made to return rentals with the same amount of fuel as initially received. Both Enterprise and National make the same discounted rates available to RWU employees for personal travel (please click the appropriate box on the website).  When this service is utilized, employees are reminded they must make payment with personal funds.  Please note that the damage waiver is not included when vehicles are rented for personal use.  Use of personal vehicles is permitted with reimbursement based on miles traveled at rates which are published to the campus community from time to time.  

Approval Process 

The T&E form together with required documentation must be submitted to the traveler’s immediate supervisor or a more senior officer who has the authority to approve such expenditures. A supervisor or senior officer 6 cannot approve the T & E form if they also traveled with the individual on University business. A more senior officer would need to approve the expenditures.  In the absence of the immediate supervisor, approval from the next higher level of supervision is required. The President or Vice President for Finance may approve expense reimbursement if the above-mentioned supervisory approvals cannot be obtained due to the supervisor's' absences.  Supervisors approving expense reports are responsible to ensure the following: Expenses reported are proper and reimbursable under this policy. The expense report has been filled out accurately and has the required documentation. The expenses are reasonable and necessary.  All expenses (with the exception of Meal and Incidental Expenses) must be reported on an actual-cost basis, with substantiating original receipts.   The University does have a per diem allowance for meals and incidental expenses.  Travelers are not required to obtain meal receipts when using meal per diem however, business purpose is still required. Reimbursement will not be made if a meal has already been paid for as part of a conference. A partial day's travel is eligible for proportionate meal allowance.   All other expenses are reimbursed on an actual cost basis and must be substantiated with actual itemized receipts.  Exceptions are limited to Admissions Travelers, certain Federal Grants, and Law School student competitions.  Expenses which are prepaid by or charged directly to the university on behalf of the traveler (e.g., airline tickets, hotel accommodations) must be itemized on the T&E form, with the notation  "prepaid" in the amount column. Amounts prepaid by or charged directly to the university on behalf of the traveler must not be reflected in the expenses claimed by the traveler.  

Timeframe (Deadlines) for Submitting Requests for Reimbursement  

In order to comply with Internal Revenue Service regulations, RWU employees must reconcile travel expenses, on an RWU T&E Form within 60 days of the date of return from the trip. Failure to perform this reconciliation within the 60-day time period will result in any funds disbursed for trip related expenses being treated as taxable wages paid to the employee and subject to Federal and State Income Tax, Social Security and Medicare withholdings. Any University related travel expenses incurred using personal funds will be ineligible for reimbursement after 90 days. Obtain your supervisor's approval and give the completed, approved T&E Form to your Departmental Administrator to keep on file while you travel. Reimbursements will be made on the basis of approved expense reports only.  Under no circumstances will travel expenses for travel completed during a fiscal year be reimbursed after the close of that fiscal year.  The Finance Office / Controller shall publish reasonable deadlines at the fiscal year end for reimbursement requests to be processed.  Per Diem for Meals & Incidentals Expenses  A per diem (daily) allowance is available to all RWU faculty and staff who have received prior authorization for Meal and Incidental Expenses associated with overnight travel in the amount listed for the City or Region in the IRS guidelines (see link below).   This per diem allowance does not apply to foreign, study abroad, federal/state grant-related, developmentrelated travel, athletics team travel, or admissions-related travel expenses.  This allowance is also not applicable if the event fees include meals provided by the sponsor.  

On the first day and the last day of travel, the traveler can only be reimbursed 75% of the per diem rate. In other words, the traveler must deduct 25% of the meal per diem for both the first and last days of travel.  With the change to a per diem structure, no meal receipts are required for reimbursement.  Please note that non-meal related incidental expenses in excess of eight dollars ($8) are not covered by the per diem 8 allowance.  Receipts are still required for these expenditures when paid by the traveler.  (see below)  Examples of non-meal related incidentals would be parking fees, bridge/tunnel tolls, fax/internet charges, taxi fees, gas for rental cars, etc.   The per diem allowance must match the traveler’s submitted Preauthorization Form.  Expenditures that exceed the per diem allowance are out of pocket for the traveler and will not be reimbursed.  Confirmation of the overnight travel should be attached to the RWU T&E Form.   

Please note that while the per diem allowance does not apply to non-travel related meals for RWU faculty and staff, the allowance rate must be considered in the cost of the meals for each RWU employee / participant.  Accordingly, the value of each lunch must not exceed $22 per person and the value of each dinner must not exceed $36 per person.

The IRS guidelines – including a map and rate tables (Please be sure to use the M&IE Rate Column)  

Per Diem Allowances will not be prepaid for business-related travel. Prepaid travel exceptions include foreign travel and travel which exceeds a 5-day period.   Please note that meals and incidentals while traveling cannot be paid for by the RWU P-Card.    

Non-Reimbursable Expenses  

The following is a list of personal expenses (in addition to those that have been identified in other sections of this document) that are not eligible for reimbursement as University business expenses: 

  • Amenities such as movies, in-room bars, saunas, massages, etc. 
  • Childcare costs, babysitting, or house-sitting costs. 
  • Any personal clothing or accessories. 
  • Grooming expenses such as haircuts, toiletries, etc. 
  • Prescriptions, over-the-counter medication, or other medical expenses. 
  • Fees for boarding pets or other animal care. 
  • Magazines, books, newspapers, or other personal reading material. 
  • Outlays for personal expenses such as: personal services and entertainment, alcoholic beverages*, or personal membership fees and charges. 
  • Expenses related to non-RWU activities or personal time off taken before, during, or after a business trip. 
  • Airline club membership dues. 
  • Airline travel insurance costs.
  •  Incremental airline ticket costs to obtain frequent flyer benefits. 
  • Fines for automobile or parking violations. 
  • Cost differential on premium and luxury car rentals. 
  • Charges from unwarranted failure to cancel hotel reservations, airline tickets, etc. 

*Certain exceptions will be granted for development Miscellaneous Travel Costs 

Tips are reimbursable for services associated with business travel including food services and porters. As a general rule, travelers should not tip more than 15% - 20% of the bill. Tips paid for reimbursable meals should be documented on the receipt. No receipt is required for small miscellaneous tips paid to maid, bellhop, etc. where receipts are not attainable. Tips should be of a reasonable amount. Travelers should note that all tips are included in their daily per diem allowance.  

Travel & Entertainment Reimbursements  

Certain T&E Expenditures are not covered by the traveler’s daily per diem allowance.  These include incidental expenses greater than eight dollars ($8) and “entertainment meals” (as opposed to “traveler meals”) this is a meal where the RWU faculty or staff person entertains someone from outside the University.  Please note that while the per diem allowance does not apply to these meals, the rate should be considered in the cost of the meal.  Please note, alcohol is not an allowable expense and will not be reimbursed by the university.  There are times that exceptions are made under certain circumstances; however, this exception must be approved by the EVP of Finance and Administration prior to the date of occurrence.  An email or letter of approval must accompany your request in order for finance to process the reimbursement. 

For travel reimbursements and payments to be considered non-taxable income, the university's policies and procedures must comply with the IRS Accountable Plan Rules, meeting three conditions:  

Business Connection: Reimbursements and advances provided to travelers must be for work-related expenses only.  An advance payment must be reasonably related to the business expenses that a traveler is expected to incur.  The names of all meal participants must be included in any expense description.  

Substantiation: Travelers must provide, within 30 days, a statement substantiating the amount, time, use, and business purpose of the expenses. 

Return of Advances: Travelers must return any advanced amounts in excess of the substantiated expenses within 30 days of completion of the travel assignment.

It is the responsibility of the traveler to keep clear and complete records of expenses.  To maintain efficient business processes, travel documentation that is incomplete, inaccurate or not well-organized will be returned to the traveler and could delay reimbursement processing.  

Accounts Payable will review each employee T&E form for: 

  • Proper approval signatures 
  • Identified business purpose 
  • Correct totals 
  • Supporting documentation and receipts
  •  Policy compliance 

The T&E Form must be completed for all personal reimbursements.  Entertainment expenses are subject to extensive scrutinizing by the Internal Revenue Service.  The business purpose of entertainment, names of attendees and their relationship to RWU must be clearly indicated on the form. Original receipts must be attached to all T & E reimbursement requests along with proof of payment.   

The receipt must support the propriety of the transaction and contain the following information:   

  • Vendor name 
  • Detailed listing of goods purchased, including item description, quantity and price 
  • Transaction date 
  • Total dollar amount of purchase 

Photocopies of invoices, credit card statements or record of charge slips accompanying the monthly billing statement, receipts or restaurant stubs are not acceptable unless the original document was lost, and the photocopy is signed with a full explanation of the circumstances. If a receipt is lost the RWU Missing Receipt form must be attached.  Under no circumstances may an individual approve his or her request or that of his or her superior.   

Foreign Travel 

Because of the varied nature of foreign travel, special arrangements for a cash advance can be made by contacting the Finance Department at ext. 3853 or 3886.  All general policies pertaining to travel apply to foreign travel.  It is the university’s policy to use a federally established per diem rate for meals when traveling.

The per diem rate is $48.00 per day.  Rates are revised monthly, and reimbursement will be made at the rates effective during the actual travel days.  You are strongly encouraged to check these IRS rates prior to travel.    

Receipts are not required when the traveler is using the per diem allowance.  The per diem does not extend to lodging or any other aspect of the trip.  Therefore, actual itemized receipts must be submitted for those costs.  A VP must approve all travel in advance and in writing.  Employees who travel internationally must provide supporting documentation for exchange-rate conversion with the T&E Form.  A separate travel expense report page should be completed for each type of currency in which expenses are incurred. U.S. dollars may be combined with one type of foreign currency. All expenses must be recorded in U.S. dollars, with the currency conversion rate clearly noted on the travelexpense report and on all supporting receipts.  

Travel Abroad Insurance 


University and Law School employees traveling abroad on University or Law School business have access to a number of insurance and travel assist programs and benefits, as follows:   

  1. Medical Insurance Medical coverage for accidents or a sickness occurring outside the United States is primarily through the employee’s own health insurance coverage.  If you are enrolled in the University-sponsored medical program through Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island you have access to BlueCard Worldwide, which provides coverage when traveling outside the US. Information on BlueCard Worldwide, including contact information regarding finding a doctor or hospital outside the US, is attached.   If you are not enrolled in the University-sponsored BCBSRI medical program you should, before your scheduled trip, contact your own medical insurer and request coverage information regarding travel outside of the US. 
  2. Business Travel Accident Insurance The University has obtained a Business Travel Accident insurance policy, currently issued by Chubb insurance company, which provides benefits in the event of accidental death or dismemberment. Such coverage applies to any University or Law School business travel both within and outside the US. In addition to the base benefits, the policy also provides various travel assistance programs, including identify theft assistance. A listing of such programs is attached. The attachments contain current coverage cards identifying the group name and number that you may carry with you while traveling. 
  3. Foreign Liability Insurance The University & School of Law maintain a general liability policy, currently issued by ACE insurance company, generally insuring their actions, and the actions of their employees, in most foreign countries. In addition to the liability protections, the policy also provides a small medical insurance benefit, along with travel assistance services similar to those offered by the Business Travel Accident policy. A listing of such programs and benefits is attached. The attachments contain information that may be carried with you while traveling. 14 In the event of a personal medical situation, you should contact both your primary health insurer (see Section 1 above) along with ACE. 
  4. Automobile/Van Rental Employees should not rent automobiles or vans when outside the U.S. Public transportation or transportation through other service providers (taxis, tour guides, etc.) should be utilized. If there are unique circumstances that warrant renting an automobile or van, please contact one of the individuals noted below under Section 7 in advance of the trip to discuss insurance coverage. 
  5. Personal Property There is no University or Law School insurance for personal property. Employees are encouraged to speak with their homeowners or rental insurance company in advance of a trip to determine whether such items will be covered or whether a supplemental policy is necessary. 
  6.  Notification of Potential Liability If, while traveling overseas, you become aware of any matter that may give rise to liability of the University, the Law School, a faculty or staff member, or student – such as damage to third-party property or injury to a third-party - please notify the following upon your return to the U.S.
    1. Rachel Nuzzo  
      General Counsel Roger Williams University  
      Phone: (401) 254-5728   
      E-Mail: rnuzzo@rwu.edu
  7. Questions If you have any questions regarding this information, please do not hesitate to contact the following: 
    1.  Rachel Nuzzo
      General Counsel
      Roger Williams University  
      Phone: (401) 254-5728 
      E-Mail: rnuzzo@rwu.edu 


Faculty who plan travel for professional development must apply to the Professional Development Committee before making travel arrangements. Professional development travel is not considered official university travel and individuals must seek reimbursement according to the faculty contract guidelines. 


Any approved grant requests that include a travel component should be submitted through the normal travel reimbursement process.  The university policy is to provide a per diem for meals and incidental expenses for all overnight travel.  The university’s standard per diem rate for meals and incidental expenses is $48 and is reimbursed upon trip completion.  The federally established domestic per diem rates may be used if they exceed the university’s standard rate of $48 per day.  Rates by city and county  

Per diem amounts must be prorated in the following instances: 

  • • on day of departure and the day of return for meals not incurred 
  • • when a meal is provided by another source (including meals provided at conferences) 
  • • Same day travel In these instances, the following are the reimbursement rates:  
    • Breakfast $8 - (25% when using federal table)
    • Lunch - $15 (25% when using federal table)
    • Dinner - $25 (50% when using federal table)  

All other expenses are reimbursed on an actual cost basis and must be substantiated with actual itemized receipts.  Please reference the foreign travel section for all non-domestic travel. 

 Spousal/Companion Travel

The IRS has ruled that the expenses of a spouse or other person accompanying a traveler cannot be reimbursed if the person has no significant role or performs only duties of a clerical, secretarial, or medical nature.  All requests for reimbursement of spousal travel require the advance approval of the appropriate Vice President, and the supporting documentation must note that the accompanying person is performing significant duties as stipulated by the IRS before approving. Generally, any additional costs incurred because of these additional travelers are nonreimbursable. 

POL080: Business Cards and Letterhead






May be ordered from RWU's preferred office supplies vendor Staples. An employee must have an RWU Staples Advantage account to place orders. Administrative Assistants or other employees with an account may order business cards or letterhead for another employee.  All business card orders will be routed to Human Resources for approval before being sent to Staples. To obtain an RWU Staples Advantage account, contact Purchasing Director Kathy Kanterman at kkanterman@rwu.edu

POL090: Student Club and Senate Purchases






All requests for goods and services developed by Student  Club Activities are subject to the same policy and procedures as administrative and faculty departments throughout Roger Williams University. All purchase requests must be approved by Campus Programs staff. Students are not permitted to purchase or commit RWU to any agreement. 

POL100: The Purchase Requisition






Roger Williams University policy requires that a Purchase Order must be used for all transactions involving the procurement of materials, equipment, supplies, and services from sources outside the university community. A Purchase Requisition must be provided to the Purchasing Department in order for them to create a Purchase Order.


The purchasing process begins with the preparation of the Purchase Requisition by the requesting department. The purchase requisition form is used to: request needed repairs, annual and/or quarterly maintenance and other similar services; To request general supplies, materials, and equipment: to establish blanket orders for maintenance, repair and operational (MRO) supplies ordered on a repetitive basis.

The Purchase Requisition is an internal document used for departments across the university to request a Purchase Order. A Purchase Order is a formal document that obligates RWU to purchase items or services from a vendor. The Purchasing Department is the only department authorized to create a Purchase Order.


The Purchase Requisition form must include a specific and detailed description to insure that the item(s) received is/are the item(s) desired by the end user. The Purchase Requisition must be accompanied by a quote from the vendor.


The GL numbers that the goods or services will be charged to must be provided in the Purchase Requisition. The purchase may be split between multiple GL #'s.


Proper signature authorization, Emailed authorizations are also acceptable. Signatures are required on all Purchase Requisitions before a Purchase Order can be processed.


Changes to a Purchase Order, after it has been processed by the Purchasing Office, must be sent to the Purchasing Department, not to the vendor. The Purchasing Department will update the PO and send it to the vendor.

POL111: P-cards

TITLE: P-Card Policy 

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 2024 

Roger Williams University provides Purchasing cards (P-cards) to employees who travel and/or are authorized to make purchases of approved commodities for their department. This Policy provides all details pertaining to obtaining a card, appropriate use of the card, cardholder responsibilities, and the responsibilities of managers who have staff with P-cards. All P-card holders and Approval Managers are responsible for abiding by this policy. Cardholders and Approval Managers who do not comply risk disciplinary procedures. The right to possess an RWU P-card could be suspended or revoked permanently. Restitution may be required in cases of improper documentation and/or authorization. Based upon the severity of misuse, disciplinary measures may include termination. 


a. Who can acquire a P-card? 

Only RWU employees may acquire an RWU P-card. Cards are issued to individuals, not departments. Temporary employees and students are not eligible to receive P-cards. There must be a requirement to purchase goods and/or services for the University based on the employee’s job responsibilities. The employee’s manager determines whether the employee’s responsibilities warrant the use of a P-card. Cards may not be transferred to, assigned to, or used by anyone other than the designated Cardholder. 

b. What P-cards are used for 

  • Travel expenses: transportation, lodging, meals 
  • Membership dues 
  • Subscriptions to online services 
  • Online purchases of goods (NOT fixed assets) 
  • Gift cards – only under limited circumstances - see details in Gift cards/Gift certificates section below 

c. P-Card provider RWU’s P-card provider is US Bank. 

US Bank’s platform for managing P-card transactions is Access Online. An Access Online account will be created for all P-card holders when their card is issued. The Purchasing Department provides training materials on how to use Access Online. 

d. How to acquire a P-card 

A P-card Request Form should be completed by the prospective cardholder. The P-card Request Form is  available on the Purchasing page of rwu.edu. The Requestor’s manager must forward the completed form to the Purchasing Department. That serves as the Manager’s approval to issue the card as well as their approval of the spending limits and Unit numbers. The Excel spreadsheet must be provided to Purchasing, not a PDF of the spreadsheet. Once Purchasing receives the spreadsheet they will process the request through US Bank. The Purchasing Department will also send a copy of the P-card Policy to the requestor. The requestor must acknowledge that they have read and understand the Policy before the card will be issued. US Bank sends all P-cards to the Purchasing Department. Requestors will be contacted by Purchasing when their card is available. Please allow 1-2 weeks from the time Purchasing receives your completed request to receive your card. 

e. P-card approvers All P-card holders are assigned an Approval Manger to review and approve their P-card transactions in the US Bank Access Online web portal. 

The Approval Manger must be the employee’s immediate manger or a more senior manager in their department. Peers or Administrative Assistants may not be Approval Managers for cardholders. 

f. P-card limits All P-cards have both a single transaction limit and a monthly credit limit. 

The default single transaction limit is $2,500 and the default monthly spending limit is $7,500. Spending limits can be increased if the job responsibilities of the cardholder warrant it. Limits can be permanently increased, or they can be temporarily increased for one-off purchases or for a defined date range. "Splitting" an order to circumvent single transaction limits is prohibited. 

g. Billing cycles Monthly billing cycles end on the 25th of the month IF the 25th falls on a business day. 

If the 25th falls on a weekend or holiday, the following business day will be the last day of the billing cycle. This means that the first and last day of the billing cycle can vary from month to month. The US Bank P-card Cycle Calendar shows the billing cycle dates and is available on the Purchasing page of rwu.edu. It is also provided to all new P-card holders. 

h. Reallocation & approval of transactions 

The primary responsibility of the Cardholder is to identify the GL number to which each transaction should be charged, to provide the business purpose of each transaction, and to provide an itemized receipt for purchases exceeding $25. This is done within the cardholder’s US Bank Access Online account. These steps can be taken as soon as a transaction is posted to the cardholder’s account. The deadline for completing these tasks is 10 calendar days after the close of the billing cycle. Cardholders may delegate the allocation of their transactions. Further details are below under Cardholder Responsibilities. The primary responsibility of Approval Managers is to review and approve the transactions. Further details are below under Approval Manger Responsibilities. 

i. P-card charges & department budgets 

At the close of each month the Finance Department downloads the P-card transactions from Access Online and uploads them to the General Ledger in Colleague. Managers that have access to budget reports will see the P-card charges that have been posted to their budget. 

j. Employee transfers Cardholders that transfer to a different department must notify the Purchasing Department as soon as they know they will be transferring. 

The employee’s new manager will need to approve the employee’s continued use of the P-card in addition to their unit numbers and approval limits. The employee’s department name and phone number will also need to be updated in Access Online. 

k. Employee termination & card cancellation 

Upon termination of employment, whether for retirement, voluntary separation, resignation or dismissal, P-cards will be inactivated. Cardholders are responsible for managing all transactions prior to their last day. P-cards should be destroyed and discarded. They do not need to be returned to the Purchasing Department. Cardholders are responsible for cancelling any recurring charges, subscriptions, memberships, etc. and if necessary, transferring them to another cardholder in their department. P-cards will not be kept open after an employee leaves the organization. 

l. Audits 

To ensure the continued success of the P-card program and to meet audit requirements of the University, periodic and random audits will be performed on cardholder accounts to ensure that all policies are being followed. Cardholders may be contacted by either the Finance Department or Purchasing Department if anomalies are identified or if there is missing or incomplete information. 

m. P-card support 

The Purchasing Department issues new P-cards and closes P-card accounts. If you have any issues activating your card or using your card for the first time, please contact the Purchasing Department. 

The Finance Department provides ongoing support to cardholders in the following areas: 

  • Spending limit changes 
  • Unit number changes 
  • Charge declines 
  • Approver changes 
  • Allocator changes 
  • Password changes 
  • General support on the use of Access Online 


a. Possession of P-card 

  • P-card holders are responsible for keeping their card in a secure location. 
  • Cards must not be shared with other employees. 
  • P-cards should never be given to students. 

b. Purchasing & receipts 

Itemized receipts are required for all purchases greater than $25.00. An itemized receipt is a receipt that shows each item that was purchased, the cost of each item, and the total charge. A credit card receipt that only shows the total charge is not an itemized receipt and is not acceptable. When you make an in-person purchase, be sure to obtain a receipt at that time. If available when making your payment, select the option to receive the receipt via text or email. If you receive a printed receipt, be sure to keep it so you can upload a copy into Access Online. When you make an online purchase, immediately download a copy of the receipt. It is recommended that you keep all of your receipts in one folder for ease of reconciliation. Roger Williams University and The School of Law are tax-exempt organizations. 

It is the responsibility of the cardholder to inform the vendor that we are tax exempt and ensure taxes are not charged to their P-card. See section on Tax Exemption below. Each purchase you make will be posted to your Access Online account within 1-3 business days. Transactions should be checked against sales receipts, invoices, packing slips, or other proofs of purchase to ensure you have received all the goods for which you have been charged. If there is a transaction on your card that you do not recognize, reference the Fraudulent Charges and Transaction Disputes sections below. If a cardholder does not have an itemized receipt for a purchase greater than $25.00, a Missing Receipt Form must be completed. The form must be signed by the Department Head/Dean and must be uploaded with the transaction in lieu of the receipt. See below for additional requirements pertaining to Travel and Entertainment expenses. 

c. P-card exclusions 

P-cards may not be used for the following commodities: 

  • Personal purchases 
  • Capital (CAPEX) expenditures 
  • Live Animals 
  • Chemicals 
  • Contracted services 
  • Faculty professional development 
  • Controlled substances 
  • Cash advance / ATM (unless otherwise authorized) 
  • Gas for personal vehicles 
  • Gas for business trips (Contact the Purchasing Department for a Fleet Card if you will be refueling a rental car.) 
  • Gift cards and gift certificates require the approval of the Purchasing Department. See Gift Card/Gift Certificates below for further details.
  •  Any expenses for accompanying spouses or companions during business travel 

d. Allocation of ALL P-card transactions prior to deadline 

The proper allocation of transactions includes the following three steps: 

  1.  Allocate Transactions:

    Each P-card account is associated with a default 15-digit GL account number. This GL number will be automatically assigned to all transactions when they are posted to the cardholder’s Access Online account. All charges must be allocated to the appropriate GL number prior to the close of the allocation period which is 10 calendar days after the close of the P-card cycle. The US Bank P-card Cycle Calendar shows the billing cycle dates and allocation periods. It is available on the Purchasing page of rwu.edu and is also provided to all new P-card holders. Any credits that are posted to a cardholder’s account must also be allocated. They should be allocated to the same GL account as the original purchase, so they net to $0 on budget reports. Once the allocation period ends, transactions are locked by the system and cannot be allocated in Access Online. If a cardholder does not complete their allocations prior to the deadline, all of the allocation details must be emailed to the Finance Department. In that event, Staff Accountants have to manually enter all of the information into a spreadsheet. THIS IS NOT AN ALTERNATIVE PROCESS TO ALLOCATING TRANSACTIONS PRIOR TO THE DEADLINE AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON. There are over 300 P-card holders and only three Staff Accountants. Cardholders who repeatedly fail to allocate their transactions in a timely manner or who fail to attach receipts may have their P-card privileges revoked or suspended. 

  2. Attach Receipts 

    Attach itemized receipts for all purchases greater than $25.00: 

    Receipt must show each item that was purchased, the cost of each item, and the total charge. 

    The total on the receipt must match the total of the transaction. 

    The date on the receipt must match the transaction date. 

    Receipts must be legible. 

    Receipts for meals must include the name of each person present for the meal. 

  3. Approve Transactions 

    Transactions must be “Approved” by the Cardholder in Access Online in order for them to be routed to their Approval Manager for “Final Approval”. Cardholder “Approval” indicates that the transaction has been fully allocated and the receipt has been attached (if necessary.) Transactions should NEVER be “Approved” until they are allocated, and receipts are attached. e. Delegation of allocation responsibilities Cardholders may delegate the allocation of their P-card transactions to another person such as an Administrative Assistant.

Cardholders who delegate the allocation are still responsible for: 

  1. Providing all information required for the delegate to complete the allocation: GL number, business purpose, and receipt 
  2. Ensuring that the delegate allocates in a timely manner. Assigning a delegate does not absolve the cardholder of their responsibility. The cardholder is responsible for the accurate and timely allocation of their transactions as well as provision of receipts. 

f. Tax exempt status 

RWU is a tax-exempt organization. Cardholders are responsible for checking all charges at the time of the transaction to verify that taxes have not inadvertently been charged to the card. The tax emptions numbers for Rhode Island and Massachusetts are printed on the front of the card. If the vendor requests tax exemption certificates the Purchasing Department can provide them. 

g. Lost or stolen cards 

It is the responsibility of the cardholder to immediately report a lost or stolen card to US Bank by calling 800-344-5696. The next step is to report this information to the Purchasing Department as soon as possible. The Purchasing Department will receive your new P-card and notify you when it has arrived. 

h. Fraudulent charges 

If a cardholder sees a charge on their card that they are certain they did not make, it should be reported as fraud. US Bank should be contacted immediately at 800-344- 5696. (Outside the USA, please call 1-701-461-5696.) The Purchasing department should also be notified that the card was closed due to fraud. The new card will be sent to Purchasing and the cardholder will be contacted when it comes in. The dispute process should not be used for charges that are totally unknown to the cardholder. US Bank also has algorithms that identify possible fraudulent activity, usually before the cardholder is aware of it. When that happens, a temporary hold is put on the card and Purchasing is notified via email. Purchasing will forward the email to the cardholder and the cardholder must contact US Bank as soon as possible to determine whether the charges are legitimate. If the charges are fraudulent, US Bank will close the card immediately and send a new card. The card will be sent to Purchasing and they will notify the cardholder when it has arrived. In many cases the charges on the card are legitimate. When that happens, the hold is immediately removed from the card and there is no further action required. 

i. Transaction disputes 

Transaction disputes must be initiated within 60 days of making the transaction. The transaction dispute process is utilized when a cardholder legitimately made a purchase with a vendor, but there is an issue with the charge or credit. Examples include double charges, incorrect charges, failure to receive goods, defective merchandise, failure to apply credit from a return, etc. The dispute process should not be used when there is a charge that is totally unknown to the cardholder. Unknown charges should be reported as fraud. The cardholder is responsible for contacting the vendor to resolve the issue. Most issues can be resolved this way. If the cardholder is unable to reach agreement with the supplier, the next step is to dispute the transaction through Access Online. US Bank will ask for supporting information and documentation, including communications that the cardholder had with the vendor. Please note that the law does not allow suppliers to bill your card for purchases until the items are shipped. 

j. Travel and entertainment expenses 

When using the P-card for travel and entertainment, please follow all current RWU policies and procedures. A copy of the current Travel and Entertainment policy can be obtained from the Policies & Procedures - Purchasing page of rwu.edu, POL070. Please note that RWU has a “per diem” policy for meals and incidental expenses. These expenses cannot be paid with the RWU P-Card. Using an RWU P-card for spousal or companion travel is strictly prohibited. These arrangements require the use of personal credit cards or other payment methods, not in conjunction with the RWU P-card. Entertainment expenses charged to RWU must be in the interest of RWU. Federal law requires that anyone entertaining a guest on behalf of the University identify the people being entertained and the reason they are being entertained. Entertainment includes but is not limited to expenses incurred for lunches and dinners. Credit card users must list all participants and the purpose on the credit card receipt. The receipt MUST include details of all items / beverages consumed. RWU has a strict Alcoholic Beverages Policy. Please review this policy before purchasing alcohol using your P-card. This policy can be found on the RWU website on the Office of General Counsel’s page. The approval form must be completed prior to purchase of alcohol with a P-card. It should be noted that policy dictates that travel and entertainment expenses must be prudent in nature. For example, first class airfare would be inappropriate. k. Gift cards/gift certificates Gift cards and gift certificates are a unique type of purchase because they are effectively a cash advance. As such, a specific process is required for gift cards and gift certificates to ensure the appropriate use of university funds and a thorough audit trail. There are also specific circumstances in which gift cards may or may not be used. Appropriate uses for gift cards include things such as prizes or survey participation. Gift cards may not be given as compensation for services or labor. If it is determined that gift cards are appropriate, they could be either physical gift cards or electronic gift cards. There are different procedures for each type of gift card.  P-card holders may NOT purchase physical gift cards on their P-card. If a physical card is required, contact the Purchasing Department. The Purchasing Department will purchase the physical cards on behalf of the department. The department must obtain acknowledgements from all gift card recipients and provide them to Purchasing along with the proper GL number to which the cards should be charged. If an electronic gift card is required, the gift card should be purchased through an RWU Amazon Business Prime account. (See below for details regarding Amazon Business Prime.) The email address of the recipient of the e-gift card is stored in the RWU Amazon account. Gift card purchases will be routed to the Purchasing Department for approval. 

l. Amazon purchases 

RWU has an Amazon Business Prime account for employees who need to make business purchases from Amazon. RWU P-cards should never be added to a personal Amazon account as a payment method. Personal Amazon accounts may not be used for business purchases. RWU Amazon Business Prime accounts may only be used for business purchases. Personal purchases should never be made from RWU Amazon accounts. Personal credit cards/debit cards should never be added to an RWU Amazon account as a payment method. Cardholders who need to purchase from Amazon should contact the Purchasing department to obtain the complete Amazon Business Prime Policy and have an account created for them. m. Returns Items should be returned in a timely manner directly to the supplier by whichever means the supplier requires. The cardholder is responsible to see that proper credit is posted for a returned item. As noted above, the credit that is posted to the cardholder's account should be allocated to the same GL number as the original charge. 


Approval Managers play a critical role in the P-card process by monitoring P-card usage by their staff. Approval Managers have a fiscal responsibility to RWU in preventing the misuse and/or abuse of P-cards and to identify errors that may be made by cardholders. The Finance Department may audit P-card transactions, but it is impossible for them to monitor all transactions. The Approval Manager is the last line of defense against P-card misuse, inappropriate use of University funds, and errors made by the cardholder. 

Approval Manager responsibilities are as follows: 

  1. Ensure that cardholders are allocating and approving all P-card transactions in a timely manner. Approval Managers must proactively enforce P-card procedures with cardholders. The lack of transactions in their Manager Approval Queue does not absolve them of their responsibilities. 
  2. Review all transactions in their Manager Approval Queue. a. Check that expenses are being charged to the correct GL number. NO P-card charges should be allocated to the default Object Code 61051. If charges are allocated to Object Code 61051, they must be rejected by the Approval Manager. 

     Review the Business Purpose to ensure that it is valid. 

    Check for valid itemized receipts. Transactions greater than $25.00 that do not have receipts must be rejected. Transactions without receipts should never be Final Approved by Approval Managers. 

    Receipts for meals or entertainment expenses must include the names of attendees. 

  3. Once transactions are reviewed as specified above, they must be Final Approved by the Approval Manager. 

    If you are a Final Approver and you have a delegate that allocates your transactions, your delegate is not authorized to final approve transactions. Only the Final Approver associated with the cardholder may Final Approve transactions. Revocation of P-card Privileges by Manager Any manager may revoke the p-card privileges of a cardholder that reports to them. In that event, the manager must contact the Purchasing department to have the card account suspended. Card numbers can be stored in any number of ordering platforms or may have been provided for ongoing subscriptions/memberships. Taking the physical card away from the cardholder does not prevent charges from being made on the card.

POL120: Other Methods of Procurement






All requests for the purchase of goods and services must be presented by use of the University purchase requisition form whenever possible. It is recognized that a variety of circumstances may preclude the use of a requisition and therefore established alternatives have been developed to meet these needs. These alternate forms of purchasing are described below.  


Because emergencies or contingencies can occur at any time during non working hours at the direction of department heads emergency services may be ordered on a verbal basis. The Purchasing department must be notified of such arrangements the next working day.  


Blanket purchase orders are used to purchase like or similar items that are requested on a regular basis from a single vendor, i.e. electrical and mechanical parts, art supplies, housekeeping and dining supplies, promotional items, etc. 


Day to day office supplies such as pens, note pads calendars, etc. are not stocked by the University. Such supplies may be ordered through the approved vendor contracted by the University for the provision of such items. Orders may be placed using a preprinted requisition form, by telephone, by fax, on line, or by placing an order through the vendor's representative. Some restrictions apply to the ordering of office furniture, bulletin boards, computer accessories, and capital equipment.


Only on extremely rare conditions will COD payments be permitted, No one except Purchasing Department personnel are allowed to authorize COD payments.


If the goods are found to be unacceptable, or the user wishes to return the merchandise, he or she should contact the Purchasing Office within two (2) work days after receipt of the goods so proper action can be taken most suppliers require some form of "Return Authorization" before any materials can be returned.  Usually a control number, or a return authorization number, must be provided by the supplier and this number must appear on the outside of the container.  Goods which are received in damaged condition must be reported to the supplier within five (5) work days. It is the responsibility of the end user to notify the Purchasing Office so inspection of the goods by a professional investigator can be filed within the allotted time frame. The vendor will issue a return authorization after receipt of the inspector's report. Goods to be returned must be kept in the original shipping container. 

POL130: University Assets






Part of good management is the control and accounting for physical assets. It is important that the University knows where all its assets are located and that the assets are being utilized properly. To accomplish the tracking of assets Roger Williams University employs a computerized accounting system designed to track the acquisition of new property, allocation and transfer of property and excess and salvage property.  


The inventory begins with the identification of a building or structure identification of any rooms within the facility and then the property within the individual room or rooms. Buildings, rooms and property are identified with bar coded tags. Once the tag has been attached it is recorded and a hand held computer and later downloaded to the main system. All University property must be identified and tagged. Tagged property is identified by building, floor, room, and when appropriate by off campus location.


Once a purchase order containing a new asset or assets is processed by the Purchasing Department a copy is provided to the Asset Inventory Technician. When the item(s) are received the Technician tags the new property records its description and location and transfers the information onto the computerized system.


When property is transferred from one department to another or from one location to another the movement must be reported to the Asset Inventory Technician who will conduct a physical inventory. The bar coded tags will be recorded and the appropriate entries made on the automated system to reflect the current location of the property. Departments must coordinate movement of University property through Facilities Management.