Integrated CSU Administrative Manual



Section 5000 Policies

Policy Number:  5204.0

Policy Title: Strategic Sourcing Options, Systemwide Contracting and Alternative Contracting Methodologies

Policy Effective Date:  January 24, 2014

Last Revision Date:   January 24, 2014
(see revision history)


To establish recognized CSU contract types and determine the requirements for use of systemwide internal and external contracts.


It is the policy of the CSU to seek and to achieve discounts and/or better services and to reduce administrative costs through the use of strategic purchasing programs and appropriate sourcing opportunities. To this end, the CSU is committed to maximizing purchasing leverage through collaborative, joint, and strategic sourcing activities within the CSU and with partner Universities and organizations.

The Office of the Chancellor shall maintain a CSU contract web site with all systemwide and multi-campus contracts displayed with instructions for their use and the contact information for the responsible CSU employee managing the contract.

100 CSU Master Enabling Agreements (MEA)

These agreements support the strategic sourcing efforts of the CSU by combining common requirements for specified goods and/or services. This enables the CSU to avoid redundant solicitations and contracts, maximize volume discounts, and reduce administrative costs. Each CSU Master Enabling Agreement may have unique conditions for its use. These conditions may include: the extent to which competition requirements have or have not been satisfied, the naming of parties that may place orders against the CSU Master Enabling Agreement, and/or instructions on how to place an order.  The requirements for using any particular MEA shall be established during the contracting process and communicated to Campuses after execution on the CSU contract web site.

Unless stated otherwise in the CSU contract web site, if Master Enabling Agreements were awarded to multiple vendors then acquisitions placed against those Master Enabling Agreements shall be competitively solicited from two or more of the awarded vendors resulting in two or more offers.    Such competition may be the result of an informal or formal solicitation process as determined by campus procedures.   Acquisitions provided for by Policies 5301.00 (Sections 100 and 200), 5401.00 (Sections 100 and 200) and 5501.00 (Sections 100, 200 and 300) shall be exempted from this competition requirement.  In the event that only one offer is received, documentation of the solicitation method used must be included with the contract documentation. Master Enabling Agreements resulting from a formal competitive process and where only one vendor was awarded an agreement do not require further competition.

To guard against more than one solicitation being issued purporting to represent all campuses of the CSU for the same commodity or service, permission to take on such a systemwide bidding and/or contracting effort must be obtained from the Director, Contract Services and Procurement, Office of the Chancellor.    

200 Blanket Purchase Orders (BPO) and Multiple Awards

BPO are primary source agreements which are designed to supply goods or services on an ongoing basis for a designated period of time. The agreement generally establishes prices, terms, conditions, and the period covered. Quantities or minimum sales are not required.

Contract awards may be initiated with more than one vendor or contractor for comparable products or services. Multiple awards may be used in instances where awarding to a single provider would be impractical or fail to satisfy the overall requirements of all potential users. The establishment of these agreement types is subject to applicable bidding limits (See Policy 5206.00).

300 CSU Master Pricing Agreements (MPA)

In order to reduce administrative costs to the CSU, Master Pricing Agreements (MPA) may be awarded by the Chancellor’s Office. Such agreements establish fixed prices/rates provided by vendors for the purpose of acquiring goods and services at the vendors’ best pricing. These prices/rates may be based on aggregate volume purchased and may include mutually agreed to terms and conditions for any resulting orders placed by campuses. Master Pricing Agreements must state if bidding requirements were satisfied (See Policy 5206.00).  Campuses wishing to create a systemwide MPA must request and obtain permission to do so from the Director, Contract Services and Procurement, Office of the Chancellor.

400 General Services Administration of the United States (GSA) Pricing Schedules

A Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) or Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) are agreements established between GSA and multiple vendors for the purpose of acquiring goods and/or services under specific prices, terms and conditions. GSA agreements may be used by the CSU if the GSA vendor is willing to extend the same GSA prices to the CSU.  A GSA MAS or FSS satisfies the CSU requirement for competition for the goods and services specified in the MAS or FSS contract.  Procurements made on the basis of GSA agreements must comply with applicable requirements of CSU policy and the law. 

500 California Department of General Services Leveraged Procurement Agreements

500.1  California Multiple Award Schedule (CMAS)

A California Multiple Award Schedule (CMAS) agreement is one established between the California Department of General Services (DGS) and multiple vendors who agree to the State of California terms and conditions.  Some, but not all, CMAS contracts are the result of the State adopting a Federal GSA contract and as such, could be governed under section 400 above if used directly.

CMAS contracts are considered by DGS to include prices that are assessed as fair, reasonable and competitive.  CMAS contracts have not been established through any competitive means. The use of the CMAS program contracts does not reduce or relieve the CSU of any responsibility to meet statewide requirements, guidelines, procedures or policies regarding bidding contracts or procurements. The CMAS Program use restrictions are described in “General CMAS Program Information” (Refer to Resources and Reference Materials Section).

500.2  DGS Leveraged Procurement Agreement (LPA)

DGS administers a statewide Leveraged Procurement Agreement (LPA) program. These contracts are established to reduce the need for individual State departments to conduct repetitive bids for like products.  These contracts are developed through a competitive bidding process based on the business needs of the State of California departments.  Statewide commodity contracts do not have dollar limits or limitations to their use, except as otherwise noted in the contract user instructions.  The CSU may use these contracts without limits, except as established in the contract, when it is determined to be in the best interest of the CSU.

500.3  Master Agreements

DGS Master Agreements are contracts similar to LPA’s that are competitively bid by the DGS.  These types of agreements establish a pre-qualified list of vendors and simplify the purchasing process for the end user, by utilizing fair and reasonable pricing for the function to be provided.  Limits on the maximum amount of order may be specified in the Master Agreement contract terms.

600 Cooperative and Consortium Purchasing Agreements Administered by Non-CSU Organizations

Purchasing Cooperatives or Purchasing Consortia (Cooperatives) are a type of cooperative purchasing arrangements amongst similar organizations where the use of the aggregate demand is used to obtain lower prices and/or better services from selected suppliers. The CSU may belong to or participate in these organizations to the CSU’s best interest. 

A Cooperative establishes contracts through the efforts of its staff or by one of the members of the Cooperative with the intent that such a contract will be of benefit to its member organizations.

Use of contracts established by a Cooperative is permitted in lieu of formal bidding requirements (See ICSUAM 5206.00) for acquiring goods and services if the bidding process was public and any resultant CSU contract or purchase agreement under the Cooperative contract is in conformance with applicable CSU policies and the law. 

Purchases resulting from Cooperative contracts do not relieve the CSU from the requirements or attaining goals in programs such as but not limited to Small Business, DVBE, Recycled Content, or Accessibility. 

700 Multi-Campus Collaborative Contracts

A group of two or more CSU campuses may elect to work collaboratively on strategic procurement activities when such collaboration serves to maximize overall value based on volume, common specifications, common vendors, timing of significant one-time procurement needs, or other beneficial criteria.  For such collaborations one campus shall be appointed to act as lead agent for the procurement and management of the subsequent contract.

To guard against more than one solicitation being issued purporting to represent a similar group of campuses for the same commodity or service, the lead campus must notify the Director, Contract Services and Procurement, Office of the Chancellor as the solicitation is being developed.  The lead campus is responsible for the management of the resultant agreement over its term and shall maintain the posting in the CSU systemwide contract web site.     


Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor
Business and Finance

Approved: January 24, 2014






Useful Guidelines:


Related Principles:


Sound Business Practices:

Laws, State Codes, Regulations and Mandates:


CO Manager:

Tom Roberts
Director, Contract Services & Procurement
CSU Office of the Chancellor

Subject Expert:

Tom Roberts
Director, Contract Services & Procurement
CSU Office of the Chancellor

Affinity Group:

Procurement and Support Services Officers