Combined Pricing Initiative at NC State



In July 2009, the General Assembly passed SB 202 with budget provision 6.11(a) as part of the State’s efforts to reduce costs and duplication of efforts. This initiative went into effect on July 1, 2010. The Combined Pricing Initiative (CPI) is mandatory for all campuses within the UNC system. It establishes uniform computer pricing and provides a number of standard configurations from participating vendors. For additional background information, see References.

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To meet the requirements of the CPI initiative, UNC System CIOs and System Office staff created a subcommittee to oversee work with the vendors on system configurations that will meet campus needs and prescribed requirements.

  • Dan Evans, OIT-SS IT Manager, and Dustin Duckwall, CNR Technology Support Specialist, are the current representatives and oversee the CPI process for NC State.
  • Sharon Loosman, director of Materials Management, and Chanelle Corpening, sourcing analyst in Purchasing, provide support from University Purchasing.

Certain unit staff have been designated by their dean, vice chancellor, vice provost, etc., to approve exceptions to the IT purchasing process for their units and to serve as the liaisons with the campus-wide exception process. See Exception requests (below).

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Eligible purchases and funding


  • All purchases of desktops and laptops are required to be selected from standardized CPI configurations.
  • In some circumstances, exception requests are allowed.
  • The MarketPlace e-procurement system must be used for all purchases.
  • No purchase orders (POs), vouchers or campus Pcards can be used.
  • Purchases must be selected from the UNC-approved list of vendors and products.
    • Windows desktops and laptops can be purchased only through:
      • Dell
      • Lenovo
      • Microsoft (select Surface product offerings found through preferred vendor CDW-G)
      • Hewlett Packard (CPI offerings found through preferred vendor CDW-G).
    • Apple desktops and laptops are not eligible for the CPI program but may still be purchased.
      • Throughout the year, the UNC system office coordinates bulk purchases that receive discounts from Apple.
      • Notifications are sent out in advance of the bulk purchase deadline.


  • State-managed funds
  • Campus funding sources such as contracts, grants and research funds

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Purchasing procedure for CPI-approved configurations

  1. Follow your campus unit’s procedure for initiating a purchase in the MarketPlace system.
  2. Using the MarketPlace vendor portal, select standard configuration machines (or standard approved options) from only the catalogs of the vendors currently participating in the CPI, namely:
    • Dell – Dell Direct
    • Lenovo – Lenovo Direct
    • Microsoft – Preferred vendor is CDW-G; verify with others that CPI agreements are honored
    • HP – Preferred vendor is CDW-G; verify with others that CPI agreements are honored
    • NOTE: In these vendors’ catalogs, for your convenience, items with CPI-approved configurations (i.e., desktops, laptops and all-in-ones) are separated from non-CPI-approved items (e.g., servers, peripherals).
  3. Create a MarketPlace requisition.
  4. Obtain approval of the requisition at the unit level.
  5. Submit the requisition as follows:
    • A requisition less than $29,000 goes to the vendor for order fulfillment.
    • A requisition equal to or greater than $29,000 goes to Purchasing for approval, then to the vendor for order fulfillment.
  6. Purchases requiring CPI review or an exception will be forwarded to the appropriate approver for your division or unit.
    • If you purchase an item that is not a CPI configuration it will be considered an exception request.
    • You must provide a detailed explanation and business case explaining why a standard or modified CPI machine will not meet your use case.

Questions about the purchasing procedure can be sent to

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Exception requests

  • PC desktops and laptops with non-standard configurations that are required for special research, teaching, or administrative needs that cannot be achieved using customized CPI models are considered exception requests.
  • Servers, printers, netbooks, and Apple products are not considered exception requests and are not governed under the CPI requirements.
  • The total expenditure for exception requests may not exceed 20% of the total funds expended for PC purchases (not including Apple purchases).
  • Purchases in the MarketPlace procurement system are routed to the appropriate NC State University Combined IT Pricing Initiative Approver (spreadsheet) to determine if they comply with the CPI or if an exception justification is valid.
  • A detailed explanation and business case are required for each exception request.

Questions about exception requests can be sent to

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