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HEF Guidelines

Higher Education Funds (HEF funds) are provided by the State of Texas for public universities to acquire land; construct, equip, repair or rehabilitate buildings or other permanent improvements; and acquire capital equipment, library books, and library materials, subject to various expenditure restrictions. Purchasing has standardized and clarified HEF guidelines for all UNT System campuses effective June 1, 2013. Some specific points outlined are:

  1. HEF fund purchases are not delegated to departments and must be requisitioned through Purchasing regardless of dollar amount. Departmental Purchasing Card purchases may not be made using HEF funds.
  2. HEF purchases coordinated through the UNT System Office of Facilities Planning and Construction (UNTS FP&C) are subject to UNTS FP&C guidelines.
  3. Purchases with HEF funds must have an individual unit cost of $250 or more*, excluding library books and library materials.
    *Excludes costs associated with construction projects, e.g. broom to clean up construction site.
  4. Advance payments cannot be paid using HEF funds.
  5. Office Supplies cannot be paid using HEF funds.
  6. Equipment & Computer Hardware maintenance agreements and extended warranties not purchased as part of the original acquisition cannot be paid using HEF funds.
  7. Maintenance, minor repairs and operating expenses cannot be paid with HEF funds.
  8. Property insurance cannot be paid with HEF funds.
  9. Systems which in normal usage could be moved from building to building or from room to room are not defined as permanent improvements.
  10. HEF purchases are subject to State payment guidelines, which calls for scheduling of payments 30 days from the latest of the following:
    • The date the agency received the goods
    • The date the performance of the contract service was completed
    • The date the agency received an invoice
  11. Exceptions to the payment guidelines are granted based on a strict set of criteria – please reach out to your buyer to determine if your procurement would qualify for a prepayment.

Who do I contact in regard to questions about HEF purchasing?

If you have any questions regarding co-op purchasing, call, email, or fax the UNT Business Support Services: Email: bsc@untsystem.edu. Phone Number: 1-940-369-5500 or (toll-free) 1-855-868-4357. Fax: 940-369-5599.

What is the process for a HEF purchase?

$250 or Less
  • Not permitted (Excluding purchases that are part of a larger project, e.g. construction project)
$250.01- 5,000
  • Purchasing department's discretion to be exercised
  • No bidding requirement
  • HUB Vendors to be used when possible
  • Tangible Asset purchases must meet all of the following requirements:
    • If an upgrade, must add new or additional functionality
    • Cannot be a replacement part or repair
    • Must have a useful life that exceeds one year
    • Must cost more than $250.00 per unit (excluding materials classified as library books and materials.
$5,001- 24,999
  • A minimum of three informal bids required
  • Two of the bids must be from HUBs
  • Exceptions to be documented
$25,000 and over
  • Formal solicitation process required
  • Exceptions to be documented
  • Purchase order required
  • Posting on Electronic State Business Daily may be required unless sole-source or proprietary purchase
  • All formal solicitation guidelines must be followed

Can a department request HEF funds?

HEF fund purchases are not delegated to departments and must be requisitioned through Purchasing regardless of dollar amount.

Can I spend HEF funds using my purchasing card?

No. Departmental purchasing card purchases may not be made using HEF funds.

Who coordinates HEF purchasing?

The UNT System Office of Facilities Planning and Construction (UNTS FP&C) coordinates all HEF purchases. Note that these purchases are subject to the UNTS FP&C guidelines.

Is there a purchase minimum when using HEF monies?

Yes. Purchases with HEF funds must have an individual unit cost of $250 or more. The only exceptions to this are library books, library materials, and costs associated with construction projects (e.g. broom to clean up construction site).

Are there stipulations for using HEF funds?

HEF purchases must be tangible assets that are intended for use in current or future operations and not for the purpose of resale. Tangible assets are relatively long-lived, have physical substance, and provide a measurable future benefit to the University. The term "Relatively long-lived" means a useful life of greater than one year. Furthermore, these purchases must be composed of a cost more substantial than mere supplies or replacement parts: That is, HEF funds should only be used for initial equipment purchases. Note that, if included in the initial purchase order, the first three years of maintenance on the equipment can be paid from HEF. Subsequent maintenance is considered an operating expense and should not to be paid from HEF funds. UNT System Purchasing is the final authority on the institutional use of HEF funds regardless of the dollar amount. HEF purchases coordinated through the System Office of Facilities Planning and Construction are subject to UNTS FP&C guidelines.

You cannot use HEF funds for the following items:

  • advance payments
  • office supplies 
  • property insurance bills
  • maintenance, minor repairs, or operating expenses
  • equipment and computer hardware maintenance agreements and extended warranties that are not purchased as part of the original acquisition using HEF monies

Can I purchase land with HEF funds?

Yes. In fact, The cost of land can include the purchase price, the commissions, the fees for examining and recording the titles, the surveying, the drainage costs, the land-clearing costs, the demolition of existing improvements (less salvage), the landfilling, the grading, the interest on mortgages accrued at the date of purchase, the accrued and unpaid taxes at the date of purchase, and any other costs incurred in acquiring the land.

What kind of improvements can I make using HEF funds?

HEF funds can cover permanent asset improvement items such as paving; lighting; fences; sewers; electrical distribution systems; water systems; sewer systems; landscaping; air conditioning; elevators; vent hoods; energy management systems; mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems; voice-and-data systems; computing systems and the like.

When purchasing a building with HEF funds, what other costs can be included?

The cost of buildings can include the original contract price or the cost of construction (see next paragraph); expenses for remodeling, reconditioning, or altering a purchased building to make it suitable for the purpose for which it was acquired; payment of unpaid or accrued taxes on the building to the date of purchase; cancellation or buy-out of existing leases and other costs related to placing the asset into operation.

Construction costs of buildings and other permanent improvements can include the completed project cost; the cost of excavation or grading or filling of land for a specific building; the expenses incurred for the preparation of plans, the specifications, the blueprints, and so on; the cost of building permits; the architects', engineers', and/or management fees for design and supervision; the legal fees; the costs of temporary buildings used during construction and unanticipated costs such as rock blasting, piling, or relocation of the channel of an underground stream. Also includable are drainage costs, land clearing, and demolition of existing improvements.

Can I use HEF funds for maintenance agreements and development costs?

Maintenance agreements (e.g., agreements for software application programs and operating systems, energy management systems, etc.) that are purchased as part of the original acquisition are appropriate costs in this category as are the development costs of software application programs and operating systems.

Can I use HEF funds for equipping costs?

Yes. Equipping costs, fixed or movable, can include the original contract or the invoice price; the freight-in, import duties, handling, and storage; specific in-transit insurance charges; sales, use and other taxes imposed on the acquisition; cost of site preparation; installation charges; charges for testing and preparation for use; and cost of reconditioning used items when purchased.

Can I use HEF funds for either major repairs to, rehabilitation of, or other improvements of buildings?

Yes, you can use HEF funds for repairs, renovations, replacements or betterments which are normally expected to extend the useful life; to improve operating efficiency; to eliminate health and safety hazards; to correct structural or mechanical defects; to upgrade the quality of existing facilities; or to convert these assets to more useful functions.

Can I apply HEF funds to a school’s library?

Yes. You may use HEF funds for the acquisition of library books and library materials (e.g., software and reference materials). Other costs that may be included are invoice prices; freight-in, handling, and insurance costs; binding costs; electronic access charges; reproduction costs, and related costs use order to put these assets into place (with the exception of library salaries).

How long does it take to get a HEF request approved (from ePro requisition to purchase order)?

Purchase requests using HEF funds follow the standard processing time depending on the complexity of the order. The complexity of the order is relative to the total amount and if we are completing a formal request if over $25K.

Is there a way to prepay with HEF funds?

Exceptions to the payment guidelines are granted based on a strict set of State-listed criteria – please reach out to your buyer to determine if your procurement would qualify for a prepayment.

Can I use HEF funds on a purchase that was deemed after the fact?

No - HEF purchases are not allowed on after the fact orders.

Can I use local funds initially so I can do an expedited/rush payment and then do a voucher correction later for HEF funds?

No. HEF funds are also subject to State payment guidelines, which calls for scheduling of payments 30 days from the latest of the following;

  • The date the agency received the goods
  • The date the performance of the contract service was completed
  • The date the agency received an invoice

If payment was processed outside of State payment guidelines, the purchase would not be eligible for HEF voucher correction.