The general steps involved with initiation and processing of a contract are generally as follows:

  • A university employee identifies a need to do business with any outside vendor or other outside party.
  • The employee discusses the nature and other relevant details of the proposed arrangement with the appropriate dean, director or department chair for initial approval.
  • If the proposed arrangement involves spending University funds, the proposal may be subject to mandatory competitive bidding in accordance with the university's policies on bidding, which are described under "Policy of Bidding," which appears below. 
  • The requirement to obtain competitive bids can be waived in accordance with the university's Policies on Bidding if Sole Source Justification is approved in advance by the university's director of purchasing and the Business & Auxiliary Services Office. 
  • If the person proposing the contract is aware that an employee of the university or a close relative of a Ball State employee has a financial interest in the proposed vendor (such as by being an employee or contractor of the proposed vendor or owning an equity interest in the proposed vendor), the contract must follow the university's conflict of interest policy described below in the section entitled "Disclosure of Financial Interest in the Vendor." 
  • Once a vendor has been chosen pursuant to the bidding process or has been approved in a sole source justification form, a contract must be obtained. If the arrangement involves the purchase of personal property, a university purchase order often can suffice as the contract. 
  • If the vendor does not accept the purchase order without modification, the university's requirements are complex, or the contract is not for the purchase of tangible personal property, a contract is generally required.

For general information on some types of contracts the university frequently utilizes, see Common Types of Contracts. If a contract is required, the formal contracting process must be initiated as described in Contract Process.