NC State Consolidated IT Purchasing

The university requirement for purchasing desktop and laptop computers became effective November 8, 2010. Vice Chancellors Hoit and Leffler sent out a 3D memo outlining the process: New Requirements for Purchasing University Computers (PDF).

NC State, like all other schools in the UNC system, is required to participate in the Combined Pricing Initiative (CPI) program for IT purchases. See memo released July 10, 2013 (PDF).

Equipment affected

  • Initially, only desktop and laptop PCs are covered by this program.
  • Apple desktop and laptop computers are not yet a part of the program and may still be purchased through the MarketPlace.

Equipment funding sources covered

While the state mandates that laptop and desktop purchases made with state managed funds must use the program, to realize the greatest savings and ensure consistency across the board, NC State has extended this requirement to purchases from any campus funding source.


  • Purchases of desktop and laptop PCs must be made from the UNC-approved list of vendors and products.
    Currently Dell, Lenovo and HP are approved vendors and have pre-configured systems available for purchase via the NC State MarketPlace e-procurement system.
  • The MarketPlace must be used for all desktop and laptop computer purchases (including Apple products). Purchase orders (POs), vouchers or campus Pcards may not be used for these purchases.


  • Only purchases of the standard configurations are allowed, except when non-standard configurations are required for special research, teaching, or administrative needs.
  • The total expenditure for exceptions may not exceed 20% of the total of funds actually used for PC purchases (Apple computer purchases are not included in this calculation.).
  • An exception process is being incorporated into the MarketPlace system: all non-standard desktop and laptop computer purchases must be approved through this process. See the Consolidated IT Purchasing Initiative Exception Process for North Carolina State University (PDF).
  • Purchasing and the campus IT directors have helped compile a list of NC State University CPI Exception Approvers who review exception requests for each university division/college.

Purchasing procedure for standard CPI-approved desktops and laptops

  1. Follow your departmental procedures for initiating a purchase in MarketPlace (MP).
  2. Unit Purchaser uses MP vendor portal to select standard configuration machines to order (or standard base approved options). Current configurations of the desktops and laptops (program items) are segregated within the MP vendors’ catalogs (currently Dell and Lenovo) from non-CPI program IT items (servers, peripherals, etc.).
  3. Unit Purchaser creates MP requisition.
  4. The requisition is approved at the unit level.
  5. If total is less than $5,000, requisition goes to vendor for order fulfillment. If total is greater than $5,000, requisition is routed to Purchasing for approval, then to vendor for order fulfillment.

Additional information