OMB Uniform Guidance

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Uniform Guidance FAQ

Sole Source Hypotheticals

Methods Commonly used to Determine Price Reasonableness

LU Purchasing Checklist and Bid Summary Form

About Uniform Guidance

Policy 105 - Purchasing with Federal Funds

Deferment of Uniform Guidance Mandated Procurement Policy

Effective July 1, 2018 Lehigh University will follow 2 CFR 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, & Audit Requirements for Federal Awards as specified in Subparts A - F related to procurement standards and regulations.

Uniform Guidance (“UG”) is a set of regulations (located at 2 CFR 200) that consolidates federal guidelines impacting research administration. Per the OMB website, this guidance “supersedes and streamlines requirements from OMB Circulars A-21, A-87, A-110, and A-122 (which have been placed in 2 C.F.R. Parts 220, 225, 215, and 230); Circulars A-89, A-102, and A-133; and the guidance in Circular A-50 on Single Audit Act follow-up.”

Link to the eCFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Uniform Guidance 200.320 Methods of procurement to be followed.

 In order to keep policies for managing sponsored projects consistent, Lehigh University implemented the Uniform Guidance Procurement Standards for all sponsored projects as of July 1, 2018.

UG Conflicts of Interest Policy

As part of the OMB’s Uniform Guidance, there are new requirements for conflicts of interest within a procurement action and how the University must handle them.

The regulation states:
“No employee, officer, or agent may participate in the selection, award, or administration of a contract supported by a Federal award if he or she has a real or apparent conflict of interest. Such a conflict of interest would arise when the employee, officer, or agent, any member of his or her immediate family, his or her partner, or an organization which employs or is about to employ any of the parties indicated herein, has a financial or other interest in or a tangible personal benefit from a firm considered for a contract.”

Goals of Uniform Guidance

UG significantly reforms federal grant making to focus resources on improving performance and outcomes. The intent is to reduce administrative burdens for grant applicants and recipients and reduce the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse.

Procurement guidance is specifically located in sections 200.317-200.326. This guidance focuses on increased competition and transparency in the procurement process.

There are five general procurement standards that cover the purchase of property, supplies and services under the Uniform Guidance:

  1. The organization must maintain written policies and procedures for procurement covering the methods available under these regulations.
  2. Costs must be reasonable and necessary
  3. Must provide for full and open competition
  4. The organization must maintain written standards of conduct covering internal and external conflicts of interest
  5. The organization must maintain documentation addressing cost and price analysis and vendor selections where applicable based on the method of procurement used.

There are five available methods of procurement for each purchase which are summarized below:


Dollar Threshold



Not to exceed micro-purchase threshold: 
$0 – $10,000

  • No bid or quote required if price is considered to be reasonable. Reasonableness could be determined by comparing the price to past purchases or other published prices and/or requesting prices from more than one vendor.
  • Distributed equitably among a range of qualified vendors when practical

Small purchase procedure

Greater than micro-purchase, not to exceed the simplified acquisition threshold: 
$10,001 – $250,000

  • Price or rate quotes must be obtained from adequate number of sources (at least two)
  • Can be informal, e.g., phone call or web search
  • All quotes, including phone calls, web searches, etc., must be documented and kept on file
  • Price does not need to be deciding factor, but all quotes need to be kept in procurement records

Sealed bid

Greater than the simplified acquisition threshold: 
$250,001 and greater

  • Used when selection of successful bidder can be made principally on the basis of price
  • Bids must be solicited from an adequate number of known suppliers, providing sufficient response time
  • Local and tribal governments must publicly advertise bids
  • Invitation for bids must define the items or services in order for bidders to properly respond
  • All bids will be opened at time and place prescribed in invitation. Local and tribal governments must be opened publicly.
  • Firm fixed price contract made in writing to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder
  • Any or all bids may be rejected if there is a sound documented reason

Competitive proposal

Greater than the simplified acquisition threshold: 
$250,001 and greater

  • Must be publicized and identify all evaluation factors and their relative importance
  • Must be solicited from an adequate number of qualified sources
  • Must have a written method for conducting technical evaluations of the proposals and selecting recipients
  • Contracts must be awarded to the responsible firm whose proposal is most advantageous to the program, with price and other factors considered

Noncompetitive proposal (sole source)

Greater than micro-purchase threshold:
$10,000 and greater

  • May be used only when the item is available only from a single source, the public exigency or emergency will not permit a delay resulting from competitive solicitation, federal awarding agency or pass-through entity expressly authorizes its use in response to a written request, or after solicitation of a number of sources competition is determined inadequate
  • Justification of the use of noncompetitive proposal must be documented
  • Any research on availability from multiple sources must be documented
  • Documentation of authorization must be retained
  • Any initial solicitations from multiple sources which are concluded to be inadequate, and such reasoning, must be documented
  • Every sole source will require a price/cost justification.  Examples of methods of providing this documentation include:

    • documenting cost analysis efforts

    • documenting market research

    • including screenshots, emails, and/or catalog prices

    • documenting pricing information obtained from colleagues at peer institutions who have   purchased the same or similar items

    • documenting prices of similar items