Computer Purchase & Replacement Policy

Title: Computer Purchase & Replacement Policy
Policy Number: 0001
Issuing Authority: Office of the Dean
Responsible Officer: Director, College Computing Operations
Date Created: April 2020
Date Last Amended/Reviewed: April 2022
Date Scheduled for Review: April 2024
Reviewing Office: Office of the Dean


The purpose of this policy is to outline the process by which the College acquires, replaces, reallocates, and disposes of computer hardware. The goal of the policy is to ensure that each employee has a suitable computer to perform his/her assigned responsibilities while also providing prudent stewardship of college resources and ensuring compliance with UD information security policies. It is necessary to establish a reliable and supportable operating environment for computing equipment while also reducing risk to the campus computing infrastructure.


This policy applies to all full and part-time faculty and staff and the purchase of all fixed or mobile computer systems, regardless of dollar value or funding source.


A "computer" in the context of this policy is defined to be a complete working computer system and includes desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It does not include printers, monitors or other peripherals.

A “primary computer” in the context of this policy is defined to be a computer assigned to a full-time faculty or staff member for general, daily computing needs such as email, web browsing, web conferencing, document creation and editing, etc. 

A “research computer” in the context of this policy is defined to be a computer whose primary function is research related. Examples of research computers include, but are not limited to, lab computers, computers connected to research equipment, computers provided to graduate students, servers, or other compute resources that are not primary computers. 

“End-of-life" in the context of this policy is defined to be the end of a computer’s useful period. This is generally five years past the date of purchase.


  1. Preferred Vendors & Service Providers

The University of Delaware has negotiated special purchasing contracts with select vendors and service providers. Utilizing preferred vendors helps ensure that the university receives the maximum value for its purchasing dollar. These relationships also include special access to warranty and other services that assist Information Technology staff in fixing problems and lower the total cost of ownership of the equipment.

  1. Standardization

The Information Technology department maintains a standard Windows desktop and a standard Windows laptop configuration, updated annually, that will meet the general computing needs of most faculty and staff members. These standard configurations will be used in the absence of special requirements.

  1. Guidelines for Computer Purchases
    1. All computer purchases must be made through the College’s Information Technology department and adhere to the University’s Procurement Policy.

This policy is put in place to:

  • Ensure that full and part-time faculty and staff have access to up-to-date computer systems
  • Require that computing equipment purchases are reviewed by Information Technology staff
  • Ensure compliance with the University’s requirement that all university-owned or operated computers must be centrally managed.
  • Consolidate purchasing into large orders to lower costs associated with acquisition and deployment
  • Maximize value by working with preferred vendors
  • Reduce the total cost of ownership by purchasing standardized configurations
  • Centralize record-keeping to facilitate effective planning, maintenance, upgrades, and disposal
  1. All computer purchases must be made with the University’s preferred supplier(s) and conform to a set of college-specified standard models, with the following exceptions:
  • Primary computers for faculty whose teaching and research responsibilities require an alternative to the standard configuration. Must be pre-approved by the department Chair.
  • Research computers whose primary function cannot be supported by college-specified standard models.
    • University preferred suppliers should be used when possible.
  • Primary computers for staff whose specific technical, environmental, or functional job responsibilities require an alternative to the standard configuration. Must be pre-approved by the Senior Business Officer.

For primary computers that are part of the computer replacement program, costs in excess of standard configurations must be funded from sources such as start-up funding, grants, departmental funds, etc.

Approved, non-standard, primary computers will be covered by the computer replacement cycle and replaced with a standard computer at end of life.

  1. All primary computer purchases are required to have a minimum of 4 years of vendor service and support.

  2. Computer purchases made not adhering to these polices and standards risk not being processed, paid, or reimbursed. Unsanctioned computer purchases are still required to be managed by the Information Technology department but will otherwise have limited support.
  1. Device Management

The Policy for Responsible Computing at the University of Delaware, the University’s Information Security Policy, and the Secure UD Data Governance & Security Program (DGSP) “establishes the administrative, operational, and technical mandates for the security and management of IT resources”. In support of these policies, all computers must be managed by the College’s Information Technology department and have current Antivirus protection, Backup software, Inventory and Patch Management software to ensure the College complies with each associated standard as mandated in the Secure UD DGSP.

  1. Primary Computers

Full-time staff positions will be assigned one primary computer, funded by the Information Technology department. Information Technology will also cover the costs of a new standard computer for a newly created position. The computer assigned to a user as their primary system will be covered under the computer replacement cycle. Computers needed for visiting scholars, part-time staff, student worker positions, temporary positions, or for special projects will be furnished out of the Information Technology redistribution pool of computers, if possible.

  1. Secondary Computers and Other Computer Equipment

Some faculty and staff members' teaching, research and professional work warrants an additional computing device. Additional computers must be pre-approved by the department Chair for faculty and by the Senior Business Officer for staff. This decision will be made based on need and the costs must be funded from sources such as start-up funding, grants, departmental funds, etc.

Neither secondary computers nor other computer equipment will be covered under the computer replacement cycle, and the Information Technology department may not always be able to support them. Departments should plan on replacing equipment on a regular basis, usually in five years or upon warranty expiration, as well as budgeting for parts and repairs.

  1. Computer Replacement Cycle

Computers that are part of the Information Technology computer replacement cycle will be replaced with a new standard computer. Old computers must be returned to the Information Technology department for recycling or disposal at the time a new replacement is provided.

The general guidelines for replacement of primary systems are:

  • Faculty and staff: Five years from the date of computer assignment
  • Computer labs: Five years from the date of computer assignment

Any staff replacement personnel will inherit the computer used by the previous holder of that position unless that computer is end-of-life.

  1. Redistribution Pool

Sometimes computer systems due for a refresh may still have some usable life left in them. Information Technology will keep these computers in a redistribution pool for deployment as needed. Departments needing a computer from the redistribution pool for visiting scholars, part-time staff, student worker positions, temporary positions, special projects, or other need may make a request through the Director of College Computing Operations. In the event there are no computers available in the redistribution pool the requestor will need to fund any hardware purchases needed. The Information Technology department reserves the sole right to determine if any university-owned machine has usable life.

  1. Computers Purchased with Grant Funds

Computers acquired using grant funds will be purchased outright using the same configurations, guidelines, and vendors as other college computers, unless there is cause for an exception as outlined in the “Guidelines for Computer Purchases” section above.

  1. Computers Received as Gifts

Departments receiving computing equipment as gifts from individuals or corporate sponsorships must work with the Director of College Computing Operations before agreeing to accept equipment donations. Equipment gifts must be reviewed to ensure that the gift can be fully utilized in the UD environment and that ongoing operating or maintenance costs will not outweigh any benefit that the machine might provide.

  1. Computer Repairs

The College will cover all normal repairs to machines during their lifecycle (system failures include hard drives, new batteries, etc.). Costs incurred by accidental damage, loss, or theft will be the responsibility of the department. If repair costs are determined to exceed the machine's value an early replacement will be approved, and the lifecycle adjusted based on the replacement machine deployment date.

  1. Computer Equipment Return and Disposal

The Information Technology department manages hardware disposal in accordance with the Disposal of University Equipment and Material policy. All computers purchased or reimbursed with University funds remain the property of the University until disposed of or repurposed through the Information Technology disposal or redistribution processes. Failure to return University owned equipment, software, or data upon leaving the University or at the request of the University may result in legal action or obligate the employee to reimburse the University for the value of the equipment.

  1. Computer Loss or Theft

If a computer is lost or stolen, it is the responsibility of the employee to immediately notify University of Delaware's Public Safety department or their local police department, their department head, and the College’s Information Technology department.

  1. Option to Purchase Upon Leaving

Information Technology can assist in facilitating the purchase of your computer upon leaving the University. The University Procurement department will establish a buy-out price based on market value. All sales are final, and the computer sold "as-is". Any additional hardware upgrades will be an additional cost. Purchases are processed through the University Procurement department. Machines that are purchased must be wiped of University software and data by the College Information Technology department. This ensures that the University maintains software license compliance.


Procurement Policy:

Information Security Policy:

Data Governance Policy:

Secure UD Policy:

Secure UD Policy – Data Governance & Security Program (DGSP):

Disposal of University Equipment and Material:


Article ID: 773
Tue 7/7/20 10:43 AM
Mon 11/20/23 12:11 PM