Cooperative Purchasing

If a college or university wants to do its own bidding, the different requirements, depending on dollar range, can be found in Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Procedure 5.14.5.

However, according to Minnesota Statutes 2002, Chapter 471.345, Uniform Municipal Contracting Law, Subd. 15, Cooperative purchasing:

"A municipality may contract for the purchase of supplies, materials, or equipment without regard to the competitive bidding requirements of this section if this purchase is through a national municipal association's purchasing alliance or cooperative created by a joint powers agreement that purchases items from more than one source on the basis of competitive bids or competitive quotations."

You may use any of the following means of purchasing goods instead of undertaking the public quote or bid process since these commodities have already been through the public bid process. Purchases that include services need to follow Procedure 5.14.2, Part 3 which may require review by the system legal counsel. Cooperative Purchasing Contracts are not applicable for installation (ie construction). Facilities PT consultant services and construction information is available at

Systemwide purchasing programs

  • Systemwide Purchasing Card Program
    This program allows a system institution to streamline purchases and make purchases on line.
  • Information Technology Services - Office of Instructional Technology
    This program provides academic software license agreements available for systemwide use.

Purchasing programs outside of the system

Contract Source
E&I Purchasing Cooperative MnSCU is a member of the National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP) and as such has access to all E & I Cooperative contracts. The E & I Cooperative is owned by its membership of more than 1600 colleges, universities, K-12, hospitals, medical research institutions and hospital purchasing organizations located throughout the United States.
Government Services Administration(GSA) Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 136F.581, Subd. 1, and 16C.10, Subdivision 3, MnSCU can utilize GSA contracts. Federal policies and guidelines may need to be followed for purchase.  Consult with MnSCU Office of General Counsel prior to purchase.
Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC The Midwestern Higher Education Compact is an instrumentality of state government in each of its 12 member states. Pursuant to Minnesota – Section 135A.20, as a statutory entity, MHEC can enter into contracts on behalf of member states, in the process freeing up education and government entities of this burden. MHEC follows extensive competitive procurement processes similar to those in its member states and engages the expertise of practitioners and administrators to identify needs, develop and issue RFPs, research prospective vendors and review proposals, and negotiate contractual agreements for products and services.
National Joint Powers Alliance(NJPA) The National Joint Powers Alliance is a Service Cooperative created by Minnesota Statute 123A.21. NJPA is a member owned cooperative, serving all public and non-public educational systems, governmental and non-profit agencies.
State of Minnesota The system has Cooperative Purchasing Venture membership and can use contracts procured by the State of Minnesota Department of Administration Materials Management Division. Each system agency needs a password to access state contracts, which can be obtained from the Materials Management Division. Follow the contact information on their Web site.
University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota makes their contracts available for use by the system.
U.S. Communities The system is a registered participant of the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance (U.S. Communities), a nationwide purchasing cooperative for local and state government agencies, school districts (K-12), higher education and nonprofits.
NASPO ValuePoint Coopertive Purchasing Organization (formerly WSCA-NASPO) Like the State of Minnesota, MnSCU can use contracts procured by the NASPO ValuePoint Cooperative Purchasing that have State of Minnesota participating addendums and are therefore State of Minnesota Master Contracts. More information on NASPO ValuePoint contracts is available on their website, or from the Material Management Division website. 

If you have questions or comments please e-mail us at or refer to the staff directory link at the top of this page for additional contact information.