Carnegie Mellon University
These are some of the most common questions we get at the UCO. We hope you can find an answer to your question here, but if not, please don't hesitate to call (8-2528) or email our office. 

When is UCO approval required?

Carnegie Mellon Buyers need to consult the UCO before a service is to be provided to the University. "Service" is defined as the performance of labor for the benefit of the university. For your convenience, please consult this list of some examples of services (pdf). This list is not comprehensive. Feel free to contact the UCO by email with any questions if you're not sure what you are purchasing is a product or service. Please note that all software agreements need to be reviewed by UCO.

How do I request UCO approval?

To request UCO approval, please send an email to Please include as much information as possible, including the buyer's name and department, the vendor's name and address, details of the service including date, time, and payment amount, and any paperwork from the vendor such as a proposal, quotation, statement of work, work order, or banquet event order.  Please indicate if grant money is being used to pay for services.

The vendor we want to use is already in Oracle. Do we still need UCO approval?

Vendors in Oracle do not always have active contracts in place. Please check with our office to see if a contract is necessary before engaging the vendor. If the vendor is an independent contractor, an updated ICC may be required as well. 

There is a Master Services Agreement for this vendor. Do we need to consult UCO before ordering?

If the vendor wants a signature on an invoice or quote, you need to send it to the UCO If a signature is not required, often a simple addition of language will suffice. Please contact us at to see if UCO is review is required.

Catering and Events

Please review UCO's Catering and Dining Information document for guidelines for events held both on and off campus. For on-campus events, the general rule is that if a vendor is just dropping off food, a contract is not required. However, if they are remaining on campus to serve or perform other duties during the event, a contract is required. If you’re planning on serving alcohol, please review the University's policy on serving/consuming alcohol.

We’re ordering custom printed or engraved items. Do we need UCO approval?

Please review UCO's Printing & Engraving Guidance (pdf) for help determining when a contract and/or UCO approval is required. If you are using the Carnegie Mellon name or logo, you may need approval from the Trademark Licensing Office.

We are working with a foreign company or individual. What forms do we need?

Please see the Finance Department's Guide to Supplier Forms (pdf) for guidance.

Professional Memberships and Conferences

UCO approval is not required for professional memberships or to attend conferences. However, conference sponsorships and exhibit booths require UCO approval.

Can we charge a service to a PCard?

The UCO has no authority to grant permission to pay for a service or product with the PCard. Permission must come from the PCard Office.  However, the PCard Office may question whether or not a contract or a review of terms and conditions is needed for payment of a service or product.

The vendor requires a deposit or payment on the date of service. How do I pay them?

If a vendor requests a deposit or payment on the date of service, please contact Accounts Payable for guidance on issuing early payment to the vendor.

The vendor wants a signature on a quote or an invoice. Can I sign for it?

No.  Buyers do not have authority to sign on behalf of the University. Any document from a vendor that requires a signature must come to our office.