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Purchase Requests Frequently Asked Questions

How do I send a Purchase Request to University Procurement?

Whenever possible, please scan and email your completed Request to Purchase, with all required accompanying documentation (e.g., bids, contracts, etc.) to

If a scanner is not available, fax to:  215-895-2877.  Otherwise, you can send via interoffice mail or drop it off at our office:  Procurement Services (3201 Arch Street, Suite 340).

What approvals are required for my order?

For a standard Request to Purchase, the "approvals" must contain the signature of an individual with signature authority for the cost center being charged and at the level of the total dollar amount of the requested purchase.

Research Projects:

Requests to Purchase under $25,000 (other than those for equipment or subcontract expenses) should be sent directly to Procurement Services.  RTPs related to equipment purchases and subcontractor expenses, regardless of the amount, and any other RTP $25,000.01 or higher, should continue to be directed to the Office of Research Administration (ORA) before submitting to Procurement Services and must be countersigned by ORA before processing by Procurement Services

When should I get extra quotes or bids for my order?

This depends on the total dollar amount of the order. Bid guidelines are provided at Purchasing Methods and Spending Guideline.

For exceptions to acquiring extra bids or quotes, visit Competitive Bid Exceptions and Sole Sourcing.

What types of questions or problems could occur with a Purchase Request?

Most commonly:  missing account codes, improper signature authority, insufficient funds, lack of supporting documentation (e.g., bids, contract) and incompletely filled out forms. If a request is rejected, the Purchasing Assistant or Buyer will explain what the problem is.

Why does University Procurement return the Purchase Request when there is a deficit in the account? Wouldn't a phone call work to resolve the situation?

Procurement Services often attempts to contact requestors with email or a phone call first. If there is no immediate response, the document is returned. Tracking and filing rejected requests would be inefficient and we have found that requestors who do not respond to our first contact react more quickly when documents are returned as opposed to receiving a second or third phone call or email.

What does “PO#” mean?

“PO#” stands for “Purchase Order Number,” and is an order's identification number. It is assigned by Procurement Services. The PO# uniquely identifies an order to all parties concerned: Procurement Services, the vendor, and Accounts Payable.

How are Purchase Orders sent to the vendor?

More than 95% of all Purchase Orders are faxed to vendors along with the Terms and Conditions of Drexel University. Email is the next most common method for submitting POs. Please include vendor fax numbers and email addresses on Requests to Purchase.

What is the normal turnaround time for a PO to be processed and sent to the vendor?

It normally takes two to three business days to process a routine Request to Purchase (RTP) with a vendor (either PO or buyer utilizing their PCard).  More complicated RTPs (such as purchasing large equipment requiring OGC and/or Facilities review) will typically require more time.  Also, problems with RTPs, such as nsf or incomplete documentation, which must be resolved by the requestor, delay processing time.

Can I call the vendor myself and give them the PO#?

Generally that is not necessary. Procurement Services sends all Purchase Orders to vendors, in addition to Terms and Conditions and retains order confirmation information.  In special circumstances, such as emergency purchases, Procurement Services may give you permission to call the vendor directly with the PO number.

How do I know when the order has been processed?

You will receive an email from Procurement Services informing you that your order was placed using a PCard or a Purchase Order.  If the order is over $2,000.00, a Payment Approval Form will be attached to the email which you must sign and send directly to Accounts Payable when the goods/services have been received/performed.

How do I change or cancel an order?

Visit the Changes and Cancellations page for details.

Why don’t I always receive a Payment Approval Form?

Payment Approval Forms are emailed for orders over $2,000.00. Orders equaling $2,000.00 or less should be purchased with a PCard. If a vendor does not accept the PCard, you must submit a completed Request to Purchase to Procurement Services to purchase the goods/services.

What is a “Blanket/Standing PO?”

Blanket or Standing POs are issued by Procurement Services to essentially set up a credit account with a vendor. They are typically for a limited period of time (usually a fiscal year) and are used for high-volume, small-dollar purchases from a vendor that doesn't accept PCard (Visa) or to purchase items that are prohibited from PCard purchase (e.g., animals).

What doesn't require a PO?

Anything less than $2000.01 that can be purchased with a University PCard (Visa) such as travel expenses, conference registrations, memberships, pre-printed materials, subscriptions, and entertainment and is not a prohibited item (e.g., gasoline, radioactive materials, animals, etc.).