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Doing Business With The NSHE


The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), the agency responsible for all public institutions of higher learning and research within the state, spends in excess of $500 million annually for goods and services with over 30,000 suppliers. NSHE's Board of Regents has delegated responsibility for overseeing this activity to purchasing offices located in Business Centers, North and South. The Business Center North (BCN) Purchasing Department is responsible for purchasing and contracting for supplies, equipment, services, and construction for the Desert Research Institute (DRI), Great Basin College (GBC), Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC), University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), Western Nevada College (WNC), and NSHE System offices and computer centers. 

Code of Ethics

Purchasing activities are conducted in strict adherence to ethical purchasing practices as required by NSHE Board of Regents Policies and Procedures, Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 281), and Federal Guidance, and advocated by the National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP), the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP), and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).  All NSHE employees are prohibited from receiving any gift, gratuity, or premium in connection with any purchasing or contracting activity.

Purchasing Procedures

As in most organizations, the purchase process begins with a purchase request or requisition. These are usually generated by end-users who need a product or service. Such requisitions are approved by the requisitioner's department, funded for the expense, and then forwarded to Purchasing for issuance of a purchase order or contract.

For small-dollar purchases, departments may use a Purchasing Card (P-Card).  Suppliers should accept a Purchasing Card and fulfill the orders as indicated. 

All business dealings with NSHE should be conducted in a competitive and open manner. Purchases are awarded to responsible and responsive suppliers on the basis of price, quality, availability, service, conformance to specifications, the capability of the supplier to perform, and in the overall best interests of NSHE.

Whenever possible, competitive bids or quotations are obtained for purchases. Purchases amounting to certain dollar value thresholds are mandated to be awarded based on formal bidding or quotations.


Purchasing solicits formal bids or Requests for Proposals (RFP) for the purchase of goods and services when the aggregate total of a purchase is $50,000 or more.  For construction projects, the threshold is $100,000.  Below these limits, competitive quotations are encouraged and sometimes required.  NSHE uses an online bidding system, NGEM, and potential bidders are encouraged to register to receive notices of relevant solicitations ( 


Recognizing the need for suppliers to contact the community and market their products, Purchasing does not restrict access. In fact, Purchasing views this process as a valuable service to our clients. It is to everyone's advantage that current, factual, accurate, product information supports every purchase request. It is good business practice to establish and maintain a professional relationship with the purchasing staff. This is especially true when a supplier is working on a potentially large or complex purchase.

Supplier Responsibilities

Suppliers and contractors are viewed as partners. Every supplier and contractor is expected to provide the highest level of service and highest quality products; specifically:

  • Compliance with the terms and conditions of the purchase order and/or contract   
  • Compliance with supplemental terms and conditions of  the purchase as required by federal funding or other government entities 
  • Provide the lowest possible pricing at all times 
  • Open communications with all parties 
  • Promotion of Small, Small Disadvantaged, and Women-Owned Business Concerns

NSHE strives to identify and utilize the services and products of small, small disadvantaged, and women-owned business concerns. All such businesses are encouraged to contact Purchasing for assistance in understanding the system's methods of doing business. In addition, every effort will be made to assist these businesses in registering and submitting bidder applications, quotations, and bids.

Whenever possible, Purchasing will endeavor to:

  • Include small, small disadvantaged, and women-owned business concerns on its solicitations or bids  
  • Assure small, small disadvantaged, and women-owned business concerns are properly solicited when they are identified 
  • When allowable and practical, divide total requirements into smaller tasks to permit maximum participation by small, small disadvantaged, and women-owned business concerns
  • When allowable and practical, establish delivery schedules that will encourage participation by small, small disadvantaged, and women-owned business concerns 
  • Request that each party to a sub-grant, sub-agreement, or contract award take the affirmative steps stated above. 

Suppliers can obtain a link to register with NSHE from the department they will be providing goods and/or services to.

Business Definitions

Small Business Concern: an independently owned and operated concern certified, or certifiable, as a small business by the Federal Small Business Administration and in accordance with the Standard Industrial Classification codes found in the 13 CFR 121 or the Federal Acquisition Regulations, Section 19.102.

Small Disadvantaged Business Concern: a small business concern that is at least fifty-one percent (51%) unconditionally owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals or, in the case of any publicly owned business, at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the stock of which is unconditionally owned by such individuals. In addition, whether the firm is publicly or privately held, the management and daily business operations must be controlled by one or more of such individuals.

Business owners who certify they are members of named ethnic groups (Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent-Asian Americans) are considered small disadvantaged business concerns.

Women-Owned Business Concern: a business concern that is at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned by a woman or women who also controls and operates it.

"Control" in the context used above means exercising the power to make policy decisions.

"Operate" in the context used above means actively involved in the day-to-day management.