Purchasing Equipment and Supplies

You cannot purchase equipment or supplies using your own funds and then get reimbursed for them.

If possible, purchase items you want through a preferred vendor, officially known as a University-wide Purchasing Agreement (UwPA) Supplier. For a list of preferred vendors, go to and click on the link under "Getting Started" which will download an Excel file of Columbia's preferred vendors. Note that there are two sheets in that file, one for "Lab & Medical" and one for "Technology & Business" vendors.

The preferred vendors sometimes have a special link to their sites for Columbia that includes discounted prices. You can find those special links by going to and then choosing the category of product or service that you are interested in. Those pages also usually include the contact information for the sales rep assigned to Columbia. The sales rep can sometimes assemble a quote for you, freeing you up from having to keep track of all the webpage links for the items you want. And Dell and Apple allow you to make quotes online if you create an account for that purpose.

You don't need to use a preferred vendor when making a purchase, but in such cases, you may be asked for why you couldn't use a preferred vendor. The most common reasons are that you couldn't find the product you needed at any preferred vendor or you found a much better price at a non-preferred vendor.

Once you have this list of items you want to purchase, send it to your purchasing manager.

If the funds to make your purchase come from a grant, send your purchase request to along with which grant should be used to pay for your purchase. Note that some grants have restrictions on how their funds can be used. Check with the PI of the grant if you are uncertain about whether your items can be purchased on that grant.

If the Astronomy Department is paying for your purchase, send your purchase request to Mildred Garcia <>.

Last modified 14 months ago Last modified on 05/12/23 15:21:54
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