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Procurements Using Federal Funds

Effective December 26th, 2014, OMB Circulars A-21, A-110 and A-133 will be replaced by regulations under the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (also known as the Uniform Guidance). Please refer to the University’s Uniform Guidance website for further details that may supersede information outlined in this policy. Please be advised that Procurement regulations under Uniform Guidance will become effective July 1, 2016 and should revised policies be required, they will be posted once available.


Any individual at the University making a purchase under a Federal government contract (as opposed to a grant or cooperative agreement) must comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation ("FAR"). Numerous FAR contract clauses and FAR certifications may be required for such a purchase. For this reason, the applicable FAR provisions are referenced on Columbia's Purchase Order forms and in its standard contracts. A current version of these provisions as of the date of publication of these Guidelines is provided in Appendix 2, Special Terms and Conditions, Federal Acquisition Regulations.

Any individual at the University making a purchase with funds from a Federal grant or cooperative agreement must comply with the sponsoring agency's regulations that implement OMB Circular A-110. (Individual Federal sponsoring agencies are required to incorporate the provisions of OMB Circular A-110 into their own agency regulations.) OMB Circular A-110 contains the uniform administrative requirements for institutions of higher education, hospitals, and other non-profit organizations with Federally-funded grants or cooperative agreements., OMB Circular A-110 at § __.40-__.48, sets forth the specific procurement standards the University must follow when purchasing supplies and other expendable property, equipment, real property, and services with Federal funds. Appendix A to OMB Circular A-110 contains mandatory procurement provisions—also known as flow down clauses—for contracts, including small purchases that do not meet the simplified acquisition threshold, awarded by recipients of Federal grants and cooperative agreements. A current version of this document as of the date of publication of these guidelines is provided in Appendix 1. Moreover, OMB Circular A-110 § __.48 requires the University to include additional provisions in contracts when certain circumstances are met. These provisions, which also must be applied to subcontracts, are listed below.

  • Contracts in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold—which is currently $100,000 under 41 U.S.C. § 403 (11)—shall contain contractual provisions or conditions that allow for administrative, contractual, or legal remedies in instances in which a contractor violates or breaches the contract terms, and provide for such remedial actions as may be appropriate.
  • All contracts in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold—which is currently $100,000 under 41 U.S.C. § 403 (11)— shall contain suitable provisions for termination by the recipient, including the manner by which termination shall be effected and the basis for settlement. In addition, such contracts shall describe conditions under which the contract may be terminated for default as well as conditions where the contract may be terminated because of circumstances beyond the control of the contractor.
  • Except as otherwise required by statute, an award that requires the contracting (or subcontracting) for construction or facility improvements shall provide for the recipient to follow its own requirements relating to bid guarantees, performance bonds, and payment bonds unless the construction contract or subcontract exceeds $100,000. For those contracts or subcontracts exceeding $100,000, the Federal awarding agency may accept the bonding policy and requirements of the recipient, provided the Federal awarding agency has made a determination that the Federal Government's interest is adequately protected. If such a determination has not been made, the minimum requirements shall be as follows.
    • A bid guarantee from each bidder equivalent to five percent of the bid price. The "bid guarantee" shall consist of a firm commitment such as a bid bond, certified check, or other negotiable instrument accompanying a bid as assurance that the bidder shall, upon acceptance of his bid, execute such contractual documents as may be required within the time specified.
    • A performance bond on the part of the contractor for 100 percent of the contract price. A "performance bond" is one executed in connection with a contract to secure fulfillment of all the contractor's obligations under such contract.
    • A payment bond on the part of the contractor for 100 percent of the contract price. A "payment bond" is one executed in connection with a contract to assure payment as required by statute of all persons supplying labor and material in the execution of the work provided for in the contract.
    • Where bonds are required in the situations described herein, the bonds shall be obtained from companies holding certificates of authority as acceptable sureties pursuant to 31 CFR part 223, "Surety Companies Doing Business with the United States."

The above bulleted section applies solely when a direct expenditure of Federal funds is involved.

All negotiated contracts—except those for less than the simplified acquisition threshold, which is currently $100,000 under 41 U.S.C. § 403 (11)—awarded by recipients shall include a provision to the effect that the recipient, the Federal awarding agency, the Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, shall have access to any books, documents, papers and records of the contractor which are directly pertinent to a specific program for the purpose of making audits, examinations, excerpts and transcriptions.