5.0 Finance

5.0 Finance

5.01 Purchasing

5.01 Purchasing

Title: Purchasing
Number: AP 5.01
Adopted: March 1995
Reviewed: June 2023
Revised: June 2023

All purchases shall be processed through the Nicolet College Business Office. Purchasing procedures apply to all acquisitions, rentals, leases, and contracts for services including personal and professional services. Procurement procedures for capital equipment are specified in Board Policy 3.03 Procurement.

All purchases shall be made in compliance with state statutes, Chapter TCS 6, Wis. Admin. Code and Sec. 6 of the Financial Accounting Manual (FAM).

General Purchasing Requirements

1. All receipts must be a detailed list of items purchased. Receipts lacking sufficient item description will not be reimbursed or will be returned to the employee to provide detail.

2. If budgets are inadequate to cover Purchase Orders and approved invoices/Payment Authorizations, Budget Transfers must be submitted to the Business Office prior to processing the purchase paperwork.

3. Employees involved in purchasing are prohibited from having a financial interest in any transaction and are prohibited from receiving any gratuity or financial gain from any vendor.

4. For seminar or conference registrations which must be paid prior to the event, employees must have an approved Travel Request Form and should pay registration fees with a personal credit card or College credit card, (if issued). After travel is completed, the request form and all detailed receipts should be submitted to the Business Office for reimbursement.

Purchase Requisitions/Orders and Payment Authorizations

1. Purchase Requisitions/Orders must be used for all tangible items received. The appropriate Executive Leadership Team member or Director/Dean must provide approval for all purchases.

2. Non-tangible item (e.g. memberships, dues, subscriptions, services) purchases must be authorized using the payment authorization process. The appropriate Executive Leadership Team member or Director/Dean must provide approval for all payment authorizations. Ongoing approved invoices/payment authorizations with the same vendor must be arranged with the Business Office prior to making the first purchase.

3. Employees with appropriate approval may purchase items under $50. The employee will be reimbursed upon receipt of the appropriate documentation and detailed receipts.

4. Employees may request a cash advance up to $50 for an approved purchase. The employee must sign for the advance and return all detailed receipts and change to the Business Office within five (5) business days of the purchase.

Nicolet Credit Card Usage

1. College credit cards will be issued to College staff as deemed necessary by the President. Credit cards will be issued in the names of both the College and the employee or department. Distribution and use of all credit cards shall be reviewed on an annual basis by the Vice President of Administration or at such other times as deemed appropriate for administrative reasons (e.g., when a staff member leaves the College).

2. All expenditures involving the use of College credit cards are the responsibility of the individual authorized to use the credit card. College credit cards may only be used for authorized business-related expenditures; therefore, personal expenses must not be charged on College credit cards. All credit card purchases/charges will be reviewed monthly by the Vice President of Administration for appropriateness and adherence to policy.

3. Detailed credit card receipts must be submitted to the Business Office by the 5th of each month using the forms and guidelines provided in the employee portal.

4. Questionable credit card purchases will be investigated. Misuse of the College credit card will result in loss of credit card privileges and disciplinary action.

Non-Construction Purchases Between $10,000 and $50,000

• Supplies, services, and similar items valued between $10,000 and less than $25,000 require a minimum of two (2) written quotations.

• Supplies, services, and similar items valued between $25,000 and $50,000 require a minimum of three (3) written quotations.

Quotes and approved Purchase Requisitions must be sent to the Administration and Procurement Coordinator prior to the purchase order being processed. If unable to obtain the required number of quotes, approval from the Administration and Procurement Coordinator must be obtained.

Non-Construction Purchases Greater Than $50,000

1. Competitive Sealed Bids

Competitive sealed bids are required for purchases greater than $50,000 where: 

  1. A complete, adequate, and realistic purchase description is available.
  2. Two or more responsible suppliers are willing and able to compete.
  3. The purchase lends itself to a firm-fixed price contract, and selection of a supplier can be made principally on the basis of price.
  4. All bids will be prepared by the Administration and Procurement Coordinator with the help of the requester. The bid file, including all sealed bids, award recommendation, and the date and time the College received information, etc. will be retained in the Business Office. All bids must be opened at a public opening with at least two College employees present. The bid opening shall be held at the bid submission deadline.

2. Competitive Selection Request for Proposals (RFP)

a. For purchases greater than $50,000, where conditions are not appropriate for the use of sealed bids, competitive selection will be used. Generally, competitive selection is used if a firm, fixed-price contract is not appropriate or when factors other than price are of primary consideration in awarding the purchase (e.g., professional services where qualifications are of primary consideration).

b. The RFP document shall be prepared by the Administration and Procurement Coordinator with the requester. Proposals shall be solicited from an adequate number of qualified sources and the RFP shall be publicized at a minimum of a Class 1 Notice in the official District newspaper or posted on the College’s designated public website. Nicolet shall provide mechanisms for the evaluation of the proposals received, determination of responsible offerors for the purpose of written or oral discussions, and selection for contract award.

c. The award will be made to the qualified offeror whose proposal is most advantageous—price and other factors considered. All original documentation related to the procurement (e.g., RFP, award recommendation submitted, evaluation summaries, time and date received information) will be retained in the Business Office.

3. Non-competitive Negotiation

For purchases greater than $50,000, non-competitive negotiation may only be used when:

a. The item or service is only available from a single source, with supporting documentation provided.

b. After solicitation in a competitive purchase, competition is determined to be inadequate.

c. The purchase is from another governmental body.

d. Cooperative purchasing under Chapter 16.73 Wis. Stats. is utilized.

e. The purchase is made through a cooperative purchasing association which has a competitive purchasing process that is substantially the same as the competitive procurement requirements applicable to the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), and which have been recognized by the WTCS President. The grantor agency authorizes non-competitive negotiation. Public exigency or emergency will not permit a delay incident to competitive procurement; Nicolet may determine the procurement methodology most appropriate to the situation.

f. Purchases of used equipment from a vendor who offers it for immediate sale may be purchased through non-competitive negotiations.

All paperwork regarding the non-competitive negotiation must be sent to the Business Office prior to awarding a contract and issuing a Purchase Order.

Specific Brand Name Equipment

When District employers require that potential employees be trained on a specific brand of equipment, the College is authorized to purchase that brand. The College must obtain and submit letters documenting the employers’ request with the Purchase Requisition.

Construction Projects

As defined in Chapter 62.15 Wis. Stats., all contracts for construction projects shall be made in the name of the District and shall be executed by the District Board Chairperson and District Board Secretary. All paperwork must be forwarded to the Business Office prior to purchase order approval.

1. $5,000 or less – A minimum of two (2) quotes is required.

2. Greater than $5,000 but not exceeding $25,000 – Publication of a Class 1 Notice of the proposed construction is required prior to execution of the contract. A minimum of three (3) written quotations are required.

3. Greater than $25,000 – Publication of a Class 2 Notice of the proposed construction is required. Sealed, written bids will be reviewed in a competitive process.

Contract Provisions

All contracts in excess of $25,000 shall contain:

1. Provisions for termination by the College.

2. Conditions under which the contract may be terminated for default.

3. Conditions where the contract may be terminated due to circumstances beyond the control of the contractor.

4. Provisions for administrative, contractual or legal remedies when contractors violates or breach contract terms.

5. A provision requiring compliance with Executive Order 11246, entitled "Equal Employment Opportunity" as amended by Executive Order 11375, and as supplemented in Department of Labor regulations (41 CFR, Part 60). For construction contracts, the threshold for compliance with this provision is $10,000.

6. All contracts and approved requisitions must be forwarded to the Business Office prior to Purchase Order approval.

5.02 Disposal of District Property

5.02 Disposal of District Property

Title: Disposal of District Property
Number: AP 5.02
Adopted: June 2012
Reviewed: June 2020
Revised: June 2020

When appropriate, Nicolet College will dispose of College property which is no longer useful or needed in programs or operations. Such disposal shall conform to the following guidelines:

  1. The President and Vice President of Finance and Administration authorizes the Director of Facilities to dispose of all outdated and/or unneeded vehicles, equipment, supplies, and other goods and materials.
  2. Items no longer useful or needed can be disposed of in any of the following ways:
    • Sale
    • Trade
    • Salvage  (to  an  external  organization  if  components  are  not  useful  in  other College programs)
    • Discard (if no market value or salvage potential exists)
  1. All computers (laptops, workstations, and servers), smart phones, and portable storage devices such as external hard drives and flash media used to store College operational or confidential data, regardless of their value, must be reformatted according to industry standards prior to disposal.
  2. The following procedures must be followed for all items:
    1. Gain appropriate authorization for disposal.
    2. Facilities compiles a list of items to dispose.
    3. The President, Vice President of Finance and Administration, and Director of Facilities meet to discuss the list of items to dispose.
    4. If the fair market value is equal to or greater than $25,000, the Director of Facilities obtains approval from the Wisconsin Technical College System President prior to disposal. This state approval requirement also applies to trade-ins.
    5. Facilities disposes of property and obtains release of liability from the entity receiving the College property.
    6. Business Office applies funds accordingly.
  3. Disposal of items acquired through various federal and state programs, such as surplus property and grant funding, shall be in strict accordance with the guidelines of those programs or grants.
  4. Payment must be received before any item is released to a buyer.
  5. Asset tags are removed from all disposed items and sent to the Director of Business Services.
  6. Director of Business Services removes disposed items from the inventory list maintained in the Business Office.

5.03 Travel and Expense Reimbursement

5.03 Travel and Expense Reimbursement

Title: Travel and Expense Reimbursement
Number: AP 5.03
Adopted: August 2005
Reviewed: June 2020
Reviewed: June 2020

Employees are ambassadors of the College and are expected to present themselves professionally while on college business, during non-work hours while traveling on college business, and in the community.

Nicolet College reimburses employees and Board members (business travelers) for reasonable, necessary, and approved expenses incurred while traveling on official College business.  This policy complies with IRS Regulations and closely follows the Federal Travel Regulations.

The College Travel and Expense Reimbursement policy provides guidelines and establishes procedures for all business travelers who incur expenses while on official College business and related travel, regardless of funding source. 

To safeguard the interests of the College, every effort should be made to encourage conservative use of College resources for business and travel-related expenses. Guidelines and procedures are outlined in general terms and may not cover every possible situation. Contact the Business Office for clarification as needed.

Responsibilities and Compliance

  • Employees and Board members (business travelers)

Business travelers should spend College funds prudently.  Business travel expenses will be paid by the College only if reasonable, necessary, and approved in accordance with this policy.

Each business traveler should be familiar with this policy prior to travel to ensure that expenses will be reimbursable.  The business traveler is responsible for submitting to the Business Office all forms and detailed receipts related to their travel. 

  • Accountability and Authorization

Administrators are accountable for use of College funds and must verify that all travel is budgeted and expenditures are charged to the proper account(s).  The Employee Expense Reimbursement form must be approved by an Administrator for employees and the President’s office for Board members. All out-of-state travel requires approval of the President or Vice President of Finance and Administration, and out-of-state travel arrangements should be made only after approval has been received.

After completion of travel, signed reimbursement requests must have detailed receipts attached and should be submitted to the Business Office as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after trip completion.

Travel Advances

Travel advances must be approved by the appropriate Executive Leadership Team member or Director/Dean.

Business Travel Planning

While there are several acceptable methods of business transportation (air travel, public transportation, rental vehicle, personal vehicle, or college vehicle), business travelers are expected to use the most cost-effective transportation available.


Original detailed receipts are required for all expenses except for meals, which are reimbursed on a per diem basis.  The College expects that a good faith effort will be made by business travelers to collect and retain all required receipts. It is strongly suggested that travelers keep copies of submitted receipts for their own files.  If a receipt is lost or unable to be obtained, a detailed explanation of the expense is required.

Types of Reimbursed Expenses

  • Meals

The College will reimburse meal expenses incurred during official business travel at GSA (U.S. General Services Administration) rates. Meals are not reimbursable if already provided as part of a seminar, conference, and/or meeting fee.

In-district meals will be reimbursable when the meal expense is incurred in the performance of District responsibilities and has been pre-approved by the appropriate Executive Leadership Team member or Director/Dean. 

Meal reimbursement will be allowed as follows:

  • Breakfast – must leave home before 6:00 am
  • Lunch – departure must be before 10:30 am and return after 2:30 pm
  • Dinner – return must be after 7:00 pm

In the event travel extends to multiple cities and states during the same day of travel, the meal allowance for that day will be based upon the city where the business traveler spends the night.

In situations where business travel days are combined with personal travel days, reimbursement for meals will be limited to expenses incurred on days of official business.  Travel days should be calculated as if the personal travel did not exist.

When two or more persons are traveling and dine together, each business traveler is eligible for a per diem and will be reimbursed accordingly regardless of whether they get a single check and one person pays.  In those situations, business travelers should settle-up with each other in cash and each claim their own per diem upon returning from their trip.

If an overnight stay is not involved, reimbursed meals are taxable to the employee, per IRS regulations.  If an employee pays for another person’s taxable meal, the payer will be taxed for the full amount that they are reimbursed, per IRS regulations.  To avoid this situation, all business travelers should pay separately and be reimbursed for their own meals.

Out of state meals must follow GSA per meal guidelines.  Incidental amounts listed under the GSA guidelines are not reimbursable (i.e., baggage tips, between meal snacks and beverages).

  • Lodging

Business travelers must make their own lodging arrangements unless informed otherwise.  The choice of lodging shall be based on cost with consideration given to accessibility in conducting business.  Detailed receipts for lodging are always required.

Nicolet College is exempt from sales tax in the state of Wisconsin.  Business travelers incurring lodging expenses within the state should ask the hotel what identification or documentation is necessary for tax exemption and state rates, and be prepared to provide it. Tax Exempt Cards are available at the Business Office.  Hotels may require the room to be booked under the College name along with the individual’s name.

When making lodging arrangements, business travelers should request the state rate, government rate, or corporate discounts if available. The maximum lodging reimbursement for out-of-state travel must follow the GSA guidelines

In the event it is necessary to change or cancel guaranteed reservations, it is the responsibility of the business traveler to cancel the reservation. The College will not reimburse any charges or fees assessed due to failure to cancel a reservation, unless there are circumstances beyond their control.

Payments to individuals for lodging at their personal homes or at the personal homes of others are not reimbursable.

  • Transportation
  • Air Travel

Air travel should be the most direct and least costly alternative consistent with the itinerary and particular College business involved.  Nicolet will pay only for coach fare.

  • Public Transportation

Public transportation costs with reasonable tips will be reimbursed with a receipt.  Allowable public transportation expenses are transportation to, from, and between places of business, lodging, and the airport.

    • Rental Vehicles

Car rental is an allowable expense if authorized by the employee’s supervisor.  Business travelers should use a rental vehicle when other transportation is not available or when the use of a rental car results in a cost savings.  The size of the rental car should be the least expensive model consistent with the number of business travelers traveling together and the business requirements of the trip.  Actual expenses of a car rental will be reimbursed with a detailed receipt.

    • College Vehicles

Business travelers may use college vehicles for official business travel when necessary and cost effective.  Fuel expenses shall be reimbursed.  Refer to AP 6.03 Use of College and Personal Vehicles for more information.

    • Personal Vehicles

Business travelers may use personal vehicles for official business travel when necessary and cost effective. Reimbursement will be at the current Wisconsin State mileage rate at State of Wisconsin Pocket Travel Guide. This mileage rate covers all transportation and operating costs of the vehicle, including depreciation, repairs, towing, gasoline, and insurance.

Business mileage calculations related to use of your personal vehicle will be from your regular base assignment or from your home, whichever is less. Requests for mileage reimbursement must include starting point, destination, and number of miles.

Business travelers who choose to use their own vehicles on a trip where air travel or other transportation method is more appropriate will be reimbursed an amount not to exceed the least expensive, logical cost to the destination. Proof of this cost must be submitted with an expense claim.

Refer to AP 6.03 Use of College and Personal Vehicles for more information.

  • Miscellaneous Expenses
    • Telephone/Internet

Business travelers shall be reimbursed for telephone or internet expenses when incurred for business purposes.  Charges shall be itemized.  Personal telephone calls charged to the hotel bill must be deducted from the requested reimbursement or paid to the hotel directly.

    • Parking Fees and Tolls

Parking fees, including parking meters, are allowable expenses.  Charges for parking and tolls will be reimbursed at actual cost with an original receipt.

  • Non-reimbursable Expenditures

Non-reimbursable expenditures include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Spouse, family member(s) and guest travel costs
  • Cancellation charges (unless justified)
  • Lost or stolen cash or personal property
  • Personal items (e.g. toiletries, luggage, clothing, medications, etc.)
  • Traffic citations, parking tickets and other fines
  • Normal commuting expenses between an employee’s home and regular base assignment
  • Mileage charges incurred for personal reasons
  • Repairs, towing service, etc. for personal vehicle, regardless of whether it results from the employee’s act or acts of others
  • Meals included in the cost of registration fees and airfare
  • Gasoline costs if mileage reimbursement is used
  • Cost differential on premium and luxury car rentals or first or business class airline tickets
  • Flight insurance or other supplemental travel insurance
  • Amenities such as movies, health clubs or in-room bars
  • Personal telephone calls
  • Additional charges for late checkout
  • Child care, baby-sitting, house sitting or pet sitting costs
  • Magazines, books or other reading materials
  • Laundry

5.04 Degree Pursuit

5.04 Degree Pursuit

Title: Degree Pursuit
Number: AP 5.04
Adopted: August 2012
Reviewed: June 2020
Revised: June 2020

Nicolet College values education as a life-long process, and the College is supportive of advanced degree attainment.  Full-time employees with satisfactory job performance and at least one year of Nicolet employment history are eligible to apply for tuition reimbursement for graduate, undergraduate, or associate degree pursuit plans taken for full credit through a nationally or regionally accredited college or university. 

The availability of the budget for Degree Pursuit is decided annually as part of the College budget process.