Competitive Bid Policy

Tufts University competitive bid threshold is $10,000 and over for any purchase. Purchases at or above this threshold require competition via bids or quotes from multiple suppliers before the purchase of the good or service (see separate contractor bid policy for construction). A completed electronic Supplier Justification Form must be completed within eRequisitions $10,000 and greater. All purchases should represent sound business decisions and follow price reasonableness rules. The Purchasing Department should be used as a resource or for guidance as needed.

Tufts competitive bid policy is intended to be consistent with all applicable government procurement regulations as contained in the Federal Acquisitions Register (FAR); Office of Management and Budget's uniform administrative requirements as codified under the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) at 2 C.F.R. Part 200 (Uniform Guidance), as well as any additional regulations or procedural formalities required by the contracting agency.

Competitive Bidding

Tufts University requires competitive bidding and documentation for every purchase order $10,000 and over with three written quotations. Verbal quotations are not acceptable under any circumstances. Requesters of quotations must retain documentation of these bids/quotations in department files for audit purposes. All bids and or quotes received must be attached to the purchase requisition as an essential part of the purchasing transaction record. All purchases exceeding the Federal Simple Acquisition Threshold of $250,000 and using Federal Grant funds, must be competitively bid by the University Purchasing Department.

Sole Source

If there is no ability to solicit multiple bids, departments/schools must demonstrate that the purchase from a particular vendor is sufficiently justified as a sole source. Sole source means that a single vendor is uniquely qualified to meet the department/school's procurement objective. To be considered a sole source and therefore exempt from the bidding process, one of the following conditions must be met.

  • The item is available only from a single source.
  • The public emergency for the requirement will not permit a delay resulting from competitive solicitation.
  • For goods or services from a sponsored funding source, the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity expressly authorizes noncompetitive proposals in response to a written request.
  • After solicitation of a number of sources, competition is determined inadequate.
  • If only one particular source to acquire items or services is available at a level of quality or performance required for scientific reasons or within the time frame needed for research purposes.

Sole sources should be the exception, not the rule.

Cost/Price Analysis

Tufts University also requires documentation verifying that all purchases represent sound business decisions and that prices are fair and reasonable. Departments must conduct a cost/price analysis for all non-competitive purchase orders and fully document this analysis for purchase orders $10,000 and over. Federal Government Grants Programs require maintaining of records sufficient to detail the history of procurement. These records will include:

  • Basis for vendor selection
  • Justification of selected or sole source purchase and
  • Basis for the price of the purchase

Conflicts of Interest

Any person participating in an RFP evaluation or requesting a single/sole source procurement is also required to be in compliance with the University's Conflict of Interest policies as referenced below. Additionally for purchases related to federal awards all University employees who participate in the selection, award or administration of a purchasing transaction related to a federal award must be free from real or apparent purchasing conflicts of interest. If such a conflict exists, the purchase of goods or services from the supplier directly or indirectly is prohibited.


All procurement transactions must be conducted in a manner providing full and open competition. Contractors that develop or draft specifications, requirements, statements of work, and invitations for bids or requests for proposals must be excluded from competing for such procurements. The exclusion applies if the contractor creates documents that contain language or substance that limits open and fair competition. Contact Post-Award Research Administration at the Office of Vice Provost for Research for guidance regarding purchases related to sponsored awards at