Federal Funds Purchasing Policy

The Federal Government provides the following regulatory information § 200.320 Methods of Procurement to be Followed for federal grant funding:

1. Procurement by micro-purchases (<$3,000). Procurement by micro-purchase is the acquisition of supplies or services, the aggregate dollar amount of which does not exceed the micro-purchase threshold ( § 200.67 Micro-purchase). To the extent practicable, the non-Federal entity must distribute micro-purchases equitably among qualified suppliers. Micro-purchases may be awarded without soliciting competitive quotations if the non-Federal entity considers the price to be reasonable.

2. Procurement by small purchase procedures (($3,001 to $150,000). Small purchase procedures are those relatively simple and informal procurement methods for securing services, supplies, or other property that do not cost more than the Simplified Acquisition Threshold. If small purchase procedures are used, price or rate quotations must be obtained from an adequate number of qualified sources.

3. Procurement by sealed bids (>$150,000). Bids are publicly solicited and a firm fixed price contract (lump sum or unit price) is awarded to the responsible bidder whose bid, conforming with all the material terms and conditions of the invitation for bids, is the lowest in price. The sealed bid method is the preferred method for procuring construction, if the conditions in paragraph (c)(1) of this section apply.

  • In order for sealed bidding to be feasible, the following conditions should be present:
    • A complete, adequate, and realistic specification or purchase description is available;
    • Two or more responsible bidders are willing and able to compete effectively for the business; and
    • The procurement lends itself to a firm fixed price contract and the selection of the successful bidder can be made principally on the basis of price.
  • If sealed bids are used, the following requirements apply:
    • Bids must be solicited from an adequate number of known suppliers, providing them sufficient response time prior to the date set for opening the bids, for local, and tribal governments, the invitation for bids must be publicly advertised;
    • The invitation for bids, which will include any specifications and pertinent attachments, must define the items or services in order for the bidder to properly respond;
    • All bids will be opened at the time and place prescribed in the invitation for bids, and for local and tribal governments, the bids must be opened publicly;
    • A firm fixed price contract award will be made in writing to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. Where specified in bidding documents, factors such as discounts, transportation cost, and life cycle costs must be considered in determining which bid is lowest. Payment discounts will only be used to determine the low bid when prior experience indicates that such discounts are usually taken advantage of; and
    • Any or all bids may be rejected if there is a sound documented reason.

4. Procurement by competitive proposals (>$150,000). The technique of competitive proposals is normally conducted with more than one source submitting an offer, and either a fixed price or cost-reimbursement type contract is awarded. It is generally used when conditions are not appropriate for the use of sealed bids. If this method is used, the following requirements apply:

  • Requests for proposals must be publicized and identify all evaluation factors and their relative importance. Any response to publicized requests for proposals must be considered to the maximum extent practical;
  • Proposals must be solicited from an adequate number of qualified sources;
  • The non-Federal entity must have a written method for conducting technical evaluations of the proposals received and for selecting recipients;
  • Contracts must be awarded to the responsible firm whose proposal is most advantageous to the program, with price and other factors considered; and
  • The non-Federal entity may use competitive proposal procedures for qualifications-based procurement of architectural/engineering (A/E) professional services whereby competitors' qualifications are evaluated and the most qualified competitor is selected, subject to negotiation of fair and reasonable compensation. The method, where price is not used as a selection factor, can only be used in procurement of A/E professional services. It cannot be used to purchase other types of services though A/E firms are a potential source to perform the proposed effort.

5. Procurement by noncompetitive proposals. Procurement by noncompetitive proposals is procurement through solicitation of a proposal from only one source and may be used only when one or more of the following circumstances apply:

  • The item is available only from a single source;
  • The public exigency or emergency for the requirement will not permit a delay resulting from competitive solicitation;
  • The Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity expressly authorizes noncompetitive proposals in response to a written request from the non-Federal entity; or
  • After solicitation of a number of sources, competition is determined inadequate.

[ 78 FR 78608, Dec. 26, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 75885, Dec. 19, 2014; 80 FR 54409, Sept. 10, 2015]

For purchases involving Federal Grant Funding, suppliers must certify that, by acceptance of a Swarthmore College PO, that neither it, nor any of its principals, or sub-contractors, that are a part of this offer is presently debarred, suspended, proposed for disbarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in Federal assistance programs or activities, and neither it, nor any of its principals or sub-contracts, is listed on the General Services Administration list of Parties Excluded from Federal Programs or on the HHS/OIG list of Excluded Individuals/Entities.