8.01 Equipment Use/University Property


The University is required to have policies and procedures in place to comply with state and federal property management standards.  This policy describes the general policies and procedures established by the University to comply with those standards and provides guidance to faculty and staff on the various aspects of equipment management.

Policy Statement

This policy defines equipment and other university property, and outlines related procurement, accounting, and reporting requirements.  Each department is accountable for its own equipment and other property, including safeguarding, maintaining, and tracking the location and status of individual items of equipment.  Accurate maintenance of property records is essential to safeguard assets, ensure compliance with federal regulations, support adequate insurance coverage, and promote efficient use of property.

Definition of Equipment: The Federal Government defines equipment as an item of non-expendable, tangible personal property, having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization level established by the recipient organization for financial statement purposes, or $5,000.  

University property is defined as any item of tangible personal property which is possessed by a university department, whether operable or inoperable, purchased or donated.  This includes taggable and non-taggable equipment, library materials, operating supplies and materials, and materials declared “scrap”. Departments do not “own” property since ownership of all property resides with the university or State of Iowa, regardless of how the property was obtained.

A request for the purchase of goods or services, including equipment with a purchase cost of $5,000 or more, should be submitted on an electronic department requisition.  Electronically-submitted department requisitions generate the purchase order process. A purchase order issued by a Purchasing Agent is the preferred method of purchase for any item with a value of $5,000 or more.


Purchased Property

University property: equipment, materials, or supplies must be purchased as provided for under current purchasing procedures found in the Purchasing Guidelines and Procedures Manual.  Property purchased with UNI Foundation funds must follow the same purchasing guidelines.  

Donated Property

Property received through donations must be reported to the UNI Foundation.  The UNI Foundation is responsible for recording and acknowledging the gift and for transferring the gift to the university.  Art works may be placed on loan to the university. The Accounting Manager is responsible for recording donated materials on the university’s financial statements and fixed asset system, and for tagging the asset.  It is the responsibility of the Accounting Manager to determine if title has passed to the university on all donated property.

Equipment Tagging

Capitalized equipment (i.e., equipment with a purchase cost of $5,000 or more) is required to have a university tag affixed to the equipment within 90 days of purchase.  The Accounting Manager will assign tag numbers for such equipment and will send tags to either a designated department representative or to the custodian to be affixed. The Accounting Manager may also affix tag.  


Use of University property is restricted to purposes related to the University’s mission, whether the property is physically located on or off-campus. State law forbids the lending of university-owned property to individuals or organizations not connected with the university. Violations of this policy may result in university disciplinary action.

Off-Campus Use

  1. Equipment may not be removed from campus until a university property tag has been affixed and Authorization Form for Off-Campus Use is completed.  
  2. Off-campus use of university property may be authorized after completion of the Authorization Form for Off-Campus Use.  The individual checking out university property is responsible for completing the form.
  3. Approval must be given by the department head, dean of the college or administrative officer before property can be removed from campus.  The Accounting Manager is responsible for maintaining Authorization Forms and will request updated authorizations at appropriate intervals.
  4. Off-campus use of property may be authorized for a period of up to 12 months.  Subsequent periods not to exceed 12 months must be authorized by completing a new authorization form.  Approval may be revoked at any time at the discretion of the individual giving the approval, the supervisor of the requestor, or an appropriate university official.
  5. Persons approved to use university property off-campus will be responsible for property damage due to misuse or neglect.  Any damage or loss to university property must be reported as soon as reasonably possible to the Accounting Manager.
  6. Departments such as School of Music or the Library may be exempted from completing the Authorization Form.  Laptop computers checked out from IT for international travel are also exempt from completing the Authorization Form.
  7. Individuals that have checked out university property for off campus use may be required to return property to campus for any physical inventory.

University Surplus

Department heads may declare property as excess to their department.  Departments are encouraged to attempt to transfer that property within their college or division at no cost prior to declaring it “surplus”.  Transfers must be reported by completing Transit/Surplus Form and delivering to the Accounting Manager.

Trade-Ins of Surplus Property

If a department is replacing an item with an identical or like item, trade-in should be considered.  The purchasing staff is responsible for the purchase of new equipment and will review disposal alternatives.  New purchases should be bid with and without a trade-in to determine the value or marketability of a like item.  If the item has good marketability, the value can be determined by the purchasing staff and the owning department and then compared to trade-in value, prior to any decision on its disposition.  Purchasing staff will explore alternatives and make recommendations. If trade in is accepted, the asset tag number and trade in value is communicated to the Accounting Manager.


All University owned items must be disposed by using Public Surplus or another process approved by the Accounting Manager.  Departments/colleges are prohibited from conducting their own sales of surplus property and from placing “sale” advertisements. Surplus property cannot be given away.  

Departments should complete the Transit/Surplus Form for items declared surplus and submit to the Accounting Manager.  The Accounting Manager will notify Design and Construction of any surplus furniture. Design and Construction may reserve furniture for use in renovation projects or release the furniture to Public Surplus.  When new buildings or building renovation projects include new furnishings, fixtures and equipment, property being removed or replaced shall come under control of Design & Construction for reassignment or release to the public surplus.  No funds shall be due the department receiving the new property.

All funds for university property sold on Public Surplus will be deposited into the Sale of Equipment account.  Departments receive reimbursement for items selling for more than $300. Sales-related expenses are deducted from the selling price.

Disposal of Scrap Material

The purchasing staff is responsible for facilitating bids, when required, and for the sale of scrap material such as waste paper, non-precious metals, automobile batteries, and salvaged building materials.  Normally at least two competitive quotes will be obtained. Net proceeds shall accrue to the department operating the salvage operation.

Disposal of Library Materials

The library periodically eliminates duplicate, antiquated, or donated material inappropriate for the collection.  The library is responsible for coordinating disposal of library materials by a sale or other appropriate disposition.  Net proceeds are deposited to the library.

Annual Equipment Inventory

Per the Iowa Code 7A.30, the university is responsible for keeping a written, detailed, up-to-date inventory of all real and personal property belonging to the state and under their charge, control, and management.  

Department heads are responsible for conducting an annual inventory of all taggable equipment.  Any additions, deletions, transfers or corrections discovered during the annual physical inventory must be reported to the Accounting Manager when approving the annual inventory.  Periodic internal audits may be conducted by internal audit staff.

Office of the Controller and Treasurer, approved January 16, 2019
University Council, approved February 25, 2019
President and Executive Management Team, approved March 4, 2019
[Last reviewed and/or updated 3/2019, 4/1991]