12 - 006 USNH Purchasing Contract Types

Types of Contracts at USNH

There are three basic purchasing contract types in use throughout the University System of New Hampshire. These definitions (and informational instructions) are to be used as a guide to help everyone to understand what is meant by the terms used by the staff in the campus purchasing offices.

Vendor Pricing Agreements

A vendor pricing agreement (VPA) is for a specific period of time which may be more than one year. There is no guarantee to the vendor that any USNH institution or department will use the agreement, nor is there any guarantee of exclusivity. In addition, there are no minimum usage requirements; however, there may be minimum order requirements. VPAs can be offered by a vendor (e.g., resale agreements); initiated by the state; developed by a campus purchasing office through a competitive process or provided to USNH via its membership in a buying consortium. Examples of buying consortiums include E&I Cooperative Services (E&I), The Cooperative Purchasing Network (TCPN), and Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA). Either a P-card or purchase order may be used to make purchases from a VPA.

Term Agreement

A term agreement may be established by USNH or a campus purchasing department. Vendors are chosen through a quality based selection process conducted by a selection committee, and there may be more than one vendor/service provider listed for the same term agreement. Term agreements are typically for a three to five year period. The vendor or service provider will provide pricing when presented with a statement of work (SOW). There is no guarantee to the vendor that any USNH campus or department will use the agreement, but departments are encouraged to do so. For some term agreements (e.g., architectural or engineering services) there are maximum amounts that can be spent per SOW and per vendor per year and per campus. A purchase order must be used when buying services from a term agreement vendor.

Purchase Agreement

A Purchase Agreement is usually for a one-time buy. Unless a request for an exception to bid is approved, or a VPA is utilized, the acquisition will require a competitive bid or proposal process. An agreement involving the acquisition of goods will have quality standards specified and there will be specific quantities for each item. An agreement for the acquisition of services will have performance standards specified and a timeframe in which the services are to be delivered. There is always a purchase order associated with the buy. Examples of purchase agreements include obtaining furniture for a new building; equipment acquisitions and obtaining contracted services such as custodial or dining.

The official version of this information will only be maintained in an on-line web format. Any and all printed copies of this material are dated as of the print date. Please make certain to review the material on-line prior to placing reliance on a dated printed version. 

This page last updated Wednesday, June 24, 2015. For information on the adoption and effective dates of policies please see explanation on the OLPM Main Menu.