What is a UW Contract?

An agreement with specific terms between two or more persons or entities in which there is a promise to do something in return for a valuable benefit known as consideration and must include specific elements. A contract may be in the form of an agreement, proposal, statement, notice, resolution, letter, memorandum of understanding (MOU), memorandum of agreement (MOA), purchase order, license, indenture, grant, cooperative agreement, etc. In addition, such documents may go by other names as well.

The University has contracts for many goods and services that are managed by a UW Buyer. Contracts contain terms and conditions- such as warranties and insurance- that protect the University. Buying on an already existing contract provides the best value with responsible suppliers and results in lower overall cost. 

Contracts are typically established through the competitive solicitation process when:

  • a contract doesn’t already exist;
  • a sole source justification doesn’t apply;
  • the purchase(s) exceed the current direct buy limit ($10,000)

Procurement Services manages the competitive solicitation process through ARIBA and utilizes the Washington Electronic Business Solution (WEBS) to post notices for competitive solicitations.


When to use

If you are unable to locate the product or service needed when searching UW Contracts, other options available include:

  • State of Washington Contracts – Enterprise Services oversees more than 1,500 vendors supplying goods and services through master contracts. These contracts are available to state, local, and tribal governments.
  • Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO) - created to leverage the purchasing power of a group of businesses to obtain discounts from vendors based on the collective buying power of the GPO members. There are several GPO’s whose contracts are available to the UW.

Procurement Buyers can provide assistance with questions about these and other contracts.

UW contracts are impacted by rules and regulations

  • RCW (Revised Code of Washington)  Grants UW statutory authorities relating to procurement
  • WAC (Washington Administrative Code)  Rules and Regulations regarding state agencies
  • FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations)  Applies to federally funded purchases
  • UCC (Uniform Commercial Code)  Adopted by majority of states – sets standards for business transactions

Delegation of purchasing authority

Washington State Legislature -> Board of Regents -> UW President -> Senior VP for Finance and Facilities -> Director of Purchasing -> Purchasing Buyer (Purchasing Buyers are considered Agents of the University and are authorized to act on behalf of the University.)  

Note: Campus departments do not have the authority to execute or sign contracts, this includes maintenance/service agreements, reservation agreements etc.