The University of Tennessee System

Policy Search

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General Policy Payment Methods
Declaring Property As Surplus Sale To State Agencies
Classification Of Property Sale Of Obsolete Property
Transfer To Other University Departments Sanctions Relating To The Sale Of Surplus Property
Other Disposition Methods Forms
Requirements For Public Sale Related Policies
Restrictions On Invitation To Bid Procedures
Sale Of Motor Vehicles


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To provide policies and procedures for the transfer, sale, and other methods of disposal for university surplus property.


General Policy[top]

  1. University property such as movable equipment or supplies (opposed to real property such as land or buildings) a department determines to be obsolete, outmoded, or unusable may be declared surplus and disposed of by the campus or institute surplus property department (or designee).

Declaring Property as Surplus[top]

  1. Departments declare property as surplus by completing and submitting at least one of the forms below, as appropriate.  The department head or designee must sign the form.  All items being surplused (tagged and untagged) must be listed on the appropriate form.

    1. Surplus forms (See Appendix A).
      1. Surplus Form S-1, for property that does not store data in memory, i.e., furniture, computer monitors, office equipment, lab or scientific equipment, etc.

      2. Surplus Form S-2, for property that does store data in memory, intentionally or unintentionally, such as computer hard drives, cell phones, printers, etc.

      3. Surplus Form S-3, Decontamination form for property intended for or use with toxic, biological, radiological, or hazardous materials.

    2. Property is normally inventoried in the warehouse after pickup, with results forwarded to the department, and Controller’s Office as applicable. However, if a department wishes to have a signed copy of the surplus form at pick up, a joint inventory of surplused items between the owning department and surplus property department personnel may be requested and conducted on the spot, before transport to the warehouse.

    3. The originating department should obtain a copy of the surplus form signed by the surplus property department (or designee) and retain it for six years.

    4. The surplus property department (or designee) will initiate removing and transferring inventoried items on the equipment inventory system by submitting the SURPLUS FORM to the Equipment Records section of the Controller's Office. This occurs when receipt of all items are acknowledged as received by surplus property personnel signature on the surplus form. 

    5. The originating department should verify on the university's accounting system that the items have been removed (i.e., retired) from their inventory.

Classification of Property[top]

  1. In classifying surplus property for disposal, the originating department and the surplus property department (or designee) should consider the following criteria:

    1. Character, utility, and function of the property;

    2. Economics of the disposal, including the climate and condition of the potential market, the estimated market value of the property, transportation costs, and other related cost factors; and

    3. Sound fiscal and budgetary policy and practices.

Transfer to Other University Departments[top]

  1. When feasible, surplus property should be used elsewhere in the university. Surplus property may be transferred to another department one of two ways. 

    1. University department to another department.  This occurs before the issuing department sends the property to Surplus Property.  Both departments agree on the transfer, with the issuing department preparing Form T-64, Equipment Inventory Change/Delete Request, to transfer ownership and accountability to the receiving department.  If financial consideration is involved, the two departments shall determine the amount.  This action is defined in FISCAL POLICY, FI0605.

    2. Transfers from Surplus Property.  This occurs after surplus property is transferred to the warehouse.  Surplus property personnel and department will complete the department transfer forms and enter the transaction into the IRIS accounting system.  After IRIS approval, the department will be allowed to pick up their property.  Any item that meets the criteria for inventory control, must be recorded with the Controller’s office, and documentation accomplished by the receiving department.

Other Disposition Methods[top]

  1. If the property cannot be used elsewhere in the university system, the chief financial officer (or designee) will declare it surplus upon recommendation of the surplus property department (or designee). The surplus property department (or designee) will use the most advantageous disposal method, which may include:

    1. Auction, publicly advertised and held. (State employees may participate).

    2. Sale under sealed bids, publicly advertised and held. (State employees may not participate).

    3. Internet auction.  (State employees may participate using a personal computer on personal time It is declared unlawful for any state official or employee to purchase from the state except by bid at public auction or by Internet auction ( using a personal computer on personal time) any surplus property during the tenure of such person’s office or employment, or for six months thereafter.  A purchaser who violates the provisions of this section commits a Class A misdemeanor. 

    4. Negotiated contract for sale at arm's length (conducted among unrelated parties), but only for property that becomes surplus regularly, such as livestock, forestry products, and marketable waste products, but not motor vehicles. The surplus property department (or designee) will dispose of this property in the most fiscally sound and administratively practical method for the university.

    5. Trade-in whereby the university replaces the surplus property. The trade-in must follow defined procurement policies.

    6. Transfers to other state agencies and to eligible political subdivisions of the state or other local government entities such as school systems and non-profit volunteer fire, police, and rescue organizations; and eligible non-profit corporations whose activities are related to health, education, and/or the public welfare.  Certain types of surplus property may be transferred to eligible non-profit entities upon approval by the chief business officer of each campus followed  by the chief financial officer (or designee). Eligibility of non-profit entities and the transfer of surplus property to such entities are subject to Tennessee Department of  General Services  guidelines.  To be eligible for University of Tennessee surplus property, these non-profit entities must first be approved by the   Tennessee Department of General Services , and placed on their eligibility list. Refer to campus or unit procedures for determining the eligibility of non-profit entities and the transfer of surplus property to such entities.

Requirements for Public Sale[top]

  1. When a surplus property department (or designee) determines to dispose of surplus property by public auctions or sealed bids, these proposed sales must be publicly advertised and publicly held.  The surplus property department (or designee) conducting the sale must advertise it in at least two public places in the county or counties in which the sale is to be made.  The notice must be published in at least one newspaper of general circulation and should describe the property, date, time, place, manner, and conditions of the sale.  The advertisement should appear in the newspaper’s public notice section (or equivalent) and must appear at least three (3) days in a daily newspaper or at least twice in a weekly newspaper.  The sale must not be held sooner than seven, nor later than fifteen, days after the last day of publication (excluding weekends and holidays).  The county clerk of each such county must also be notified.

Restrictions on Invitation to Bid[top]

  1. No person, firm, or corporation may be sent invitations to bid on proposed sales unless no other market has been found for the property without requesting such bids. Prospective buyers for various types of surplus property may be sent copies of the published notice, or they may be notified that a public notice has appeared in a certain newspaper on a stated date.

Sale of Motor Vehicles[top]

  1. All sales of surplus university motor vehicles will be conducted by auction by Transportation Services for the Knoxville area, Tullahoma and Chattanooga. Martin and the Health Science Center in Memphis auction vehicles at their campuses.

Payment Methods[top]

  1. The general public must use one of the following payment methods when purchasing surplus property.

    • Cash
    • Cashier's check
    • Certified check
    • Money order
    • Traveler's check
    • Personal or company check with original bank letter of credit

    The bank letter must read as follows:

    “(Customer name) is a customer of this bank. The bank will guarantee unqualified payment to The University of Tennessee on account # (customer account number) up to the amount of $ _________. The bank will not allow a ‘stop payment’ to override this guarantee. This letter expires (month, day, year).”

    • Personal checks from university employees without a letter of credit
    • Credit Card or Debit Card

Sale to State Agencies[top]

  1. All sales of surplus university property to political subdivisions of the state and other governmental entities must follow the provisions in Section 7, Chapter 821, Public Acts of 1976.

Sale of Obsolete Property[top]

  1. University surplus property determined to be obsolete with no apparent salvage value is exempt from these policies. The surplus property department (or designee) may dispose of this property in the most advantageous manner for the university. However, no such property may be sold to state or university employees except by bid at public auction or internet auction.

Sanctions Relating to the Sale of Surplus Property[top]

  1. The surplus property department (or designee) conducting the sale must ensure that all prospective purchasers are aware of the following sanctions:

    1. It is a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000 to $10,000 and/or imprisonment from one to ten years for any person to make any arrangement, contract, agreement, trust, or combination of these among persons or corporations which is designed to or tends to control the price the state receives for such property or the cost to the purchaser of such property. In addition to this penalty, a state employee who violates this provision may be removed from state employment and prohibited from such employment for five years.

    2. It is also a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 or two-and-one-half times the value of the property bought, whichever is greater, for any state official or employee to purchase any surplus property from the state (except by bid at public auction) during his or her tenure of office or employment and for six months thereafter. For all sales except public auctions, the surplus property department (or designee) conducting the sale must obtain from each purchaser a signed disclaimer certifying that the purchaser is not a state or university employee and that the purchaser is not buying the property for or on behalf of any state or university employee.


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