Computer Purchase Policy

Effective Date: July 12, 2012

What is the purpose of this policy?

The purpose of this policy is to outline the process by which the university acquires and disposes of computers for faculty, staff, and administrators. The goal of the policy is to ensure that each employee has a suitable computer to perform his/her assigned responsibilities while also providing prudent stewardship of university resources.

To whom does this policy apply?

This policy applies to all full and part-time university employees and to the purchase of all laptop and desktop computers and tablet/mobile computing devices, regardless of the university funding source. In the context of this policy, a “computer” is defined as a complete working computer system and does not include e-book readers, printers, peripherals, external memory, external disk drives, monitors, or software.

Guidelines for Computer Purchases

All computer purchases must be made through the university’s Information Technology Department, adhering to UIW’s requisition/purchase order protocol as outlined by the UIW Purchasing Department. Benefits of a central purchasing process include:

  • Ensuring that faculty, staff, and administrators have access to up-to-date computer systems
  • Requiring that computing equipment purchases are reviewed by IT staff
  • Consolidating purchasing into large orders to lower costs associated with acquisition and deployment
  • Maximizing value by working with preferred vendors
  • Reducing the total cost of ownership by purchasing standardized configurations
  • Centralizing record-keeping to facilitate effective planning, maintenance, upgrades, and disposal

All computer purchases must be made with the university’s preferred supplier(s) and conform to a set of university-specified standard models, with the following exceptions:

  • Faculty whose teaching and research responsibilities require an alternative to the standard configuration (Must be approved by an academic dean.)
  • Administrators and staff whose specific technical, environmental, or functional job responsibilities require an alternative to the standard configuration (Must be approved by the divisional  vice president.)
  • All computers purchased with university funds remain the property of the university until disposed of through the university’s surplus property program.

Preferred Vendors & Service Providers

The university has negotiated special purchasing contracts with select vendors and service providers. Utilizing preferred vendors helps ensure that the university receives the maximum value for its purchasing dollar. These relationships also include special access to warranty and other services that assist IT staff in fixing problems and lower the total cost of ownership of the equipment.

Standard Models

The IT Operations Group maintains a standard desktop and a standard laptop configuration that will meet the general computing needs of most staff members. This standard configuration will be used in the absence of special requirements (which require dean/VP approval), with the goal of minimizing the number of models and configurations deployed in the division.

Purchasing Schedule

The IT Department schedules bulk purchases of computers once a year in early summer in order to reduce acquisition, recordkeeping, deployment and disposal costs. IT staff will consult with departments before each purchase to discontinue or replace equipment with expired warranties, as well as arrange for the acquisition of additional equipment for new staff or programs. Our goal is to replace most computers during the summer months.

A scheduled order may be deferred and combined with a later order to reach a minimum dollar threshold required by our preferred vendors. Temporary equipment may be made available to departments if it is needed before the next order cycle.

Computers Purchased with Grant Funds

Computers acquired using grant funds will be purchased outright using the same configurations, guidelines and vendors as other university computers, unless there is cause for an exception as outlined in the “Guidelines for Computer Purchases” section above. For ongoing grants, departments should plan on replacing equipment on a regular basis, usually in three years or upon warranty expiration, as well as budgeting for parts and repairs.

Computers Received as Gifts

Departments receiving computing equipment as gifts from individuals or corporate sponsorships must work with IT’s Director of Technical Support Services before agreeing to accept equipment donations. Equipment gifts must be reviewed to ensure that the gift can be fully utilized in the UIW environment and that ongoing operating or maintenance costs will not outweigh any benefit that the machine might provide.

Refresh Cycle:

Full-time faculty desktop computers should be replaced on a four-year cycle while laptop computers should be replaced on a three-year cycle. This is done to ensure that systems used for daily business are up-to-date and under warranty. Administrative deans and department heads are responsible for maintaining a refresh list, budgeting for the refresh (IT can provide costs for standard models), and communicating needs with IT. Academic deans are responsible for maintaining a refresh list for faculty and communicating their computer refresh needs with IT by May 31 for the following fiscal year. Funding for the faculty computer refresh cycle is centrally budgeted through IT.

Hand-me-down Systems

Sometimes computer systems that are due for a refresh still have a significant amount of usable life left in them. Departments needing a “hand-me-down” system for a work study student or other need may make a request through the Director of Technical Support Services and hand-me-down assignments will made in conjunction with the summer refresh program. IT reserves the right to determine if any university-owned machine has usable life.

Faculty Purchases

Requests by employees to purchase de-commissioned computer systems may be made through the Director of Technical Support Services ( and the Comptroller’s office.  The charge is $1.00 and a bill of sale will be issued to the purchaser.  From the point of sale, the computer will no longer be supported by Technical Support Services (TSS) or any other office of the university.

Prior to the computer refresh date, an employee leaving the university, may purchase his or her computer at a pro-rated price using a base price of $1,000 (1 year, $667, 2 years $333 and 3 years $1).  The Director of Technical Support Services ( and the Comptroller’s office process the request and a bill or sale is issued to the purchaser.

Departments where faculty members opt for the standard laptop/desktop will not need to prepare any purchasing documentation.  TSS will bundle all standard laptop/desktop requirements into one purchase order using the appropriate Faculty Refresh Program account number.

If the Dean of a department permits non-standard systems to be ordered, the Faculty Refresh Program will cover a portion equal to but not exceeding the cost of the standard UIW laptop. For example, in FY 12-13 the cost is $1060.16.

If a faculty member desires a non-standard laptop/desktop and if their Dean concurs, TSS will prepare a Purchase Order Requisition that contains an account number for the Faculty Refresh Program as well as an account number for that faculty member’s departmental responsibility.  The department simply puts their account number on the appropriate line.

Deans need to confirm to TSS  their intent to:

Fund the non-standard purchase price differentials from departmental funds


Require their faculty members to privately cover the cost differential.

If the former is elected, after the departmental account code and Dean’s signature are added, the Purchase Order Request goes to the Office of the VP for Business and Finance for approval.

If the latter is elected, the Dean needs to make arrangements with the Business office to collect the cost differential from the faculty members.  The Dean should also notify TSS as to who is choosing the second option .

In this case, TSS will not issue the systems until the faculty members submit a copy of the bill of sale and a receipt of payment issued by the Business Office.  Non-standard equipment, even if partially funded by private funds, STILL remain UIW property and will be accounted for just like any other issue of equipment to a user.

 Non-Faculty Full-time Employee Purchases of Decommissioned Systems

Decommissioned systems are those systems which no longer have any manufacturer warranty support and are therefore considered to have reached the end of their useful working life for UIW. Requests by employees to purchase de-commissioned computer systems may be made through the Director of Technical Support Services ( or the Comptroller’s office.  The charge is $25.00 for laptops and $50.00 for desktops (cost differential reflects the additional components of a desktop system).

Follow this process to procure a de-commissioned system (based on availability): Purchaser visits the Helpdesk (Admin Building Garden Level) and obtains documentation identifying the system to be purchased. The purchaser visits the Business Office (Admin Building First Floor), pays for the system, and receives a bill of sale. The purchaser brings bill of sale to the Helpdesk. Helpdesk staff will out-process the system and transfer it to the purchaser.

Once a system has been identified as de-commissioned,  it will no longer be supported by Technical Support Services (TSS) or any other office of the university.  All such sales are “as is” and TSS / UIW provide no warranty.

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