Frequently Asked Questions

Best Value is an option that may be used on commodity and service purchases that do not exceed $50,000. It may also be used as a supplement or guideline to preparing a Sole Source. Public Works excluded.

The most value-effective solution to the University's requirements based on life-cycle cost. There is no specific formula or methodology for conducting the best value determination, but it is important that the award is consistent with the terms of the solicitation.

The Procurement Department encourages the consolidation of annual requirements for certain commodities and services. Blanket Orders can be competitively bid so that supplies or services can be requested by authorized personnel on an as-needed basis. Such orders achieve economies of scale, cut expenditures, and reduce administrative handling costs.

Direct discussions between the supplier's representative and potential users in the departments are encouraged. Product demonstrations can be arranged through coordination with Procurement and the departments. While Procurement does not expect the supplier's representative to coordinate visits through the office, we do ask to be kept informed of potential sales that appear imminent. This enables us to approach the purchase as a team so that the user's needs are met, competitive bids are obtained, supplier requirements are considered, and Procurement guidelines are followed. Vendors are cautioned that only Procurement staff is authorized to issue written or confirming purchase orders. Failure to follow these procedures will result in delayed payments or the return of the material to the vendors.

The contractor’s performance may be evaluated. If performance problems occur during the term of the contract, Contractors will be notified of the deficiency in writing and afforded an opportunity to "cure the breach" within a prescribed reasonable time frame.

A contractor whose performance has been determined unsatisfactory may be temporarily disqualified from bidding on further contracts for a period of up to one year. No bidder, however, may be disqualified without written documentation from the end-user and formal notification by the Procurement Department.

The California State University System has entered into and is expanding a series of contracts for commonly required commodities and services. These contracts are issued by the Chancellor's Office, or by individual campuses acting on behalf of the Trustees of the CSU, for use by all CSU entities. All system-wide agreements reside in the CalUsource collaborative procurement website. This fully integrated procurement solution for sourcing, contracting and spending, is improving collaboration and efficiency across the CSU and UC systems.

Contracted Moving Companies

"Emergency" as used in the Public Contract Code, means a sudden, unexpected occurrence that poses a clear and imminent danger, requiring immediate action to prevent or mitigate the loss or impairment of life, health, property, or essential services.

When an emergency requires the immediate issuance of a purchase order, standard agreement, or service for commodities and services, an Emergency Purchase Authorization form must be attached to the requisition, and be signed by both the requestor and the Director of Procurement Services.

When an emergency requires the immediate issuance of a purchase order, standard agreement, or service order which exceeds $5,000 for commodities and any dollar amount for services, an Emergency Purchase Authorization form must be attached to the requisition, and be signed by both the requestor and the Director of Procurement Services.

The CSU Buy Recycled Campaign is a joint effort between the campuses and the administrative offices of the CSU in support of the State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign (SABRC) and was developed to comply with state laws requiring the procurement of recycled content products.

 Links and Resources

  1. Certain purchases from foreign suppliers may require income tax withholding. Listed below are the categories of purchase that must be assessed for income tax withholding.  Each purchase requires the Foreign Supplier Pre-Approval Form. The following tax documents from the supplier must also be attached to this form when submitted to Tax Services for approval:
    1. Services in the USA performed by an individual: FNIF (PDF), Visa, Passport, Certification of Academic Activity (PDF) (if in the USA on travel or on a business visa), FTB form 587 (PDF) (optional if all of the services are performed in California or if purchases from this supplier are $1,500 or less in the calendar year) and other available documents (quote, proposal, etc.).
    2. Services in the USA performed by company:  W-8 BEN-E (PDF), FTB form 587  (optional if all of the services are performed in California or if purchases from this supplier are $1,500 or less in the calendar year), and other available documents (quote, proposal, etc.).
    3. Royalties* payable to the individual: W-8 BEN (PDF) form and FTB form 587  (optional if the supplier has a business situs in California** or if purchases from this supplier are $1,500 or less in the calendar year).
    4. Royalties* payable to company: W-8 BEN-E (PDF) form and FTB form 587 (optional if the supplier has a business situs in California** or if purchases from this supplier are $1,500 or less in the calendar year).
      • *Royalties – A royalty is an income derived from the use of a taxpayer's intangible property, such as patents, copyrights (rights to use scholarly articles, music scores, images of art, film or television episodes, etc.) trade names, and trademarks.
      • ** Business sites in California is applicable when the intangible property was created in California or owned by a business in California.
  2. Tax Services will assess the documents submitted and determine whether tax must be withheld and, if so, how much.
  3. If tax withholding is required and a department wishes to absorb the cost of withholding, Tax Services should be informed, otherwise, the supplier will be paid less than billed.  If a purchase is made and it is later determined that withholding should have occurred, Tax Services will accrue the charge and notify the department. If you have any questions about your purchase or questions about any of the tax forms, please contact us by email at

All contracts and procurements are issued in accordance with the CSU's General Provisions.

All payments of undisputed invoices are made in accordance with the California State Prompt Payment Act, in arrears upon receipt of materials or satisfactory completion of services and receipt of an approved invoice. Unless otherwise directed, invoices shall be sent in triplicate to the CSULB Accounts Payable Department.

Failure to reference the correct purchase order/contract number may result in the return of the invoice and the Prompt Payment Act may not apply in such cases.

CSULB, in conjunction with the Chancellor's Office and the Department of General Services, has elected to participate in a Procurement Credit Card program designed to achieve cost savings and improve processing time for low dollar value supplies and services. Please refer to the Procurement (Pro) Card Guidelines webpage.

All payments are made in accordance with the California State Prompt Payment Act.

Small Business Payments pursuant to Government Code Section 926.15, State Agencies are required to process payments to certified small businesses within thirty (30) days of the required payment date, or pay a penalty of one quarter of one percent (1/4%) of the amount due, per day, from the 31st day after the required payment date. Small businesses may procure from the Office of Small and Minority Business a stamp to be used on their invoices, identifying their firm as "small business certified".

All Other Payments are made Pursuant to Government Code, Section 926.17, which requires State agencies that acquire property or services pursuant to a contract with a business to pay that business for each complete delivered item of property or services by the date set forth in the contract or, if no payment date is specified in the contract, within 50 calendar days after the postmark date of the invoice.

An interest penalty fee (penalty) at a rate of one percent above the Pooled Money Investment Account earning rate for the previous year will be paid.

Requests for copies of public records should be directed in writing to the Information Security Management and Compliance Department.

Purchase orders for $100,000 or more normally require formal bidding. Additionally, certain bids are required by law to be placed as a legal advertisement in a local newspaper before the bid opening. The bid states an opening date and time and is solicited from at least three suppliers, including the department's suggested suppliers. All bid openings are open to the public and may be attended by any interested party.

After the bids are opened, they are evaluated by a buyer and, if necessary, by the issuing department. After the lowest responsive bid is determined, the award is made. The supplier receiving the award is notified of the award by receipt of an approved, signed purchase order.

Requisitions for purchases are submitted through CFS, approved by the appropriate administrator and then electronically delivered to Procurement. All requisitions received by Procurement follow a similar process. Each is reviewed for accuracy and completeness and erroneous or incomplete orders are returned to the department for correction.

Any procurement requiring public advertising will still need to be submitted via a requisition. The Procurement office requires a minimum of 4 days to process the advertisement once the requisition has been received into the Procurement office and assigned to a buyer.

If a contract or terms and conditions are involved that require review or negotiation with the prospective supplier or service provider, the requisition must be submitted a minimum of 10 business days prior to the activity due date. All documentation requiring review (contracts, terms, and conditions, ATI, etc.) must be submitted with the requisition, otherwise, additional time will be required for Procurement to obtain these items from the perspective supplier or service provider.

If additional insured endorsements are needed due to the type of service or activity, the requisition must be submitted a minimum of 10 days prior to the activity or service date. The remainder of the requisitions are assigned to a buyer and dispatched to the supplier. If there is neither contract review nor insurance required, the complete process requires a minimum of four days without bids, and 16 days average if bids are required. Complex formal bids with specifications and/or plans require substantially longer process times once the scope of work is received and finalized in Procurement. These times range from five weeks to eight weeks on average. The current CSU goal for all contracts is 3 percent Disabled Veteran Business participation.

Competition Required

Competitive quotes are required for purchases over $50,000 unless referencing an existing contract. A minimum of three competitive quotes are required and must be dated within the past 30 days. The requestor is encouraged to provide these competitive quotes in the requisition in order to expedite the process. However, the Procurement Department will secure the necessary quotes if not provided. All purchases require the establishment of fair and reasonable pricing. Final discretionary authority rests with the Procurement Department regarding the level of competition required.

Is a price that does not exceed that which would be paid in the conduct of a competitive process. This may be established by market quotes, price or cost analysis, or by experience and judgment. Recognition is being made for the total value to the campus and meets campus needs for quality, quantity, delivery and service, and specific technical or value-added enhancements.

Some items requiring approval are listed below along with the office that has authority to approve the items.

  • Printing (University Print Shop)
  • Copiers (Departmental Copier Program)
  • Vehicles, Equipment and Furniture installation (Physical Planning)
  • Hazardous Materials (Environmental Health and Safety)
  • Furniture (Procurement Office, if assembly and installation- Physical Planning)

Every purchase applying Best Value in making an award shall have documentation for audit purposes. The requisition documentation must include a statement of justification giving the reasons for a non-competitive award and include any price or cost analysis prepared.

  • A complete description of the service being requested.
  • Type of equipment, including model and serial number.
  • Vendor's quote(s) if available.
  • Term of service.
  • Contact person and phone number.
  • Insurance requirements will be reviewed and/or secured by Procurement if applicable.
  • All services are prohibited on Pro-Card unless prior approval from Procurement.

Sole Source or Sole Brand procurements must be justified and approved in writing if the specified procurement exceeds $50,000 for goods and services, excluding Public Works.

A sole-source acquisition is justified when it has been determined that only one source exists for the required product or service, and bidding is not possible. A justification form for a sole-source acquisition must accompany the requisition. This justification should include the unique performance features of the product, why these specific features are required, and why other products that could be considered will not meet requirements. There are multiple levels of justification and approval based on the dollar amount of the acquisition. 

Emergency purchase authorization <$250,000 (Docusign) Level 3 Approval

Emergency purchase authorization >$250,000 (Docusign) Level 2 Approval

Sole Source/Brand Approval Less than $100K (Docusign) Level 4 Approval


A sole brand acquisition exists when only one brand-name product will satisfy the requirements of the requester, and a written justification has been authorized to limit the bidding only to dealers of that specified name brand. Unless exempted, standard bid specifications call for "brand-name or equal."