Computer Purchasing

CBS is committed to ensuring that its members can effectively perform their duties by providing equipment that is modern, supportable, and secure.

To meet this goal, all CBS-owned computers, tablets, or other computer-like devices must be purchased from the University of Minnesota Bookstore through UMarket. Standard models are configured to meet most needs for up to five years and are purchased in bulk to further reduce cost. Where individual needs exceed standard models, custom orders are available.

Starting February 20, 2023, computer purchase reimbursements will be declined and you will be required to reimburse the University.

CBS Computer Subsidy Funding


CBS provides a subsidy of $1185* to offset the cost of purchasing a new computer.

The eligibility status list is updated weekly.

*Based on the price of a stock catalog laptop, adjusted at least annually.

Eligibility Criteria
  • FTE sum of CBS and Med School (only BMBB and GCD) appointments >= .25
    • Temp/casual appointments do not contribute
    • Undergraduate appointments (2xxx) do not contribute
  • Subsidy not used in last 5 years
Terms & Conditions
  1. Computers must be purchased through the Bookstores on UMarket with University funds.
  2. Purchased computer must be supported and managed by OIT.
  3. Cannot be used for only parts or peripherals (keyboard, mouse, etc.). A computer must be purchased with peripherals.
  4. Cannot be used for tablets.
  5. Computers are the property of the purchasing department/lab. Written approval required to transfer elsewhere AND must be coordinated with University IT Support.
  6. Job transfer to another department/lab does not renew eligibility.
  7. Remaining subsidy balance does not carry forward.
  8. Only one subsidy can be used per computer.
  9. More than one subsidy cannot be accrued. (e.g. 10 years between purchases does not result in a double subsidy)
Instructor Early Use

Instructors whose subsidy eligibility dates are very close to the start of a term in which they are teaching may use their subsidy early.

Instructor Early Eligibility Dates by Term
Teaching Term Original Eligibility Date Early Eligibility Date
Fall Aug 1 - Sep 30 Jul 15
Spring Dec 15 - Feb 15 Dec 1
Summer May 1 - Jun 30 Apr 15

The Purchase Process

To complete a purchase, refer to Order a Departmental Computer and Peripherals online resource.

To use the computer subsidy, you MUST assign your cart to the appropriate Requisition Preparer:

Department/Unit Available Requisition Preparers
BMBB Neeta Tejpaul (tejpa007)
BTL Becky Hippert (hippe003)
GCD Tamera Hagen (hage0382)
All other CBS units Michael Ouverson (ouver005)
Mikayla Runge (runge047)

If this purchase is using a subsidy, update your UMarket cart justification to indicate you are using a CBS computer subsidy, the Internet ID of the subsidy owner, and the subsidy owner's eligibility date. (Example: Joe Smith is requesting a computer order for Jane Doe of his lab using Jane's computer subsidy to process daily tasks in the lab.  Jane Doe (jdoe) is eligible for the subsidy as of MM/DD/YYYY.)


Eligibility questions:
Purchase questions:

Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

What if my computer broke and/or this is an emergency?

If your computer is unusable or requires repair, contact or (612) 301-HELP (4357). They have loaner devices available for use while your situation is resolved.

DO NOT go to the Apple Store, Best Buy, Amazon, or anywhere else to buy a replacement computer, tablet, or computer-like device with a PCard. You will be required to reimburse the University and it will now be your personal device.

A member of my lab is a requisition preparer. Can they complete my subsidy purchases?

No. The designated preparers work with CBS-RLT to ensure order accuracy and compliance with University Policies.

Can the Bookstores complete custom orders if they do not have what I need?

Yes! Reference “Need a Product that’s Not Available in the Bookstore PunchOut?” section of Order a Departmental Computer and Peripherals for details.

Why must I use the Bookstores to purchase a departmental computer?

The Bookstores ensure that all items purchased through the Bookstores are reviewed for compliance with applicable University policies and are negotiated to the lowest possible price. Additionally, all items purchased through the Bookstores are inventoried and remain compliant through the use of existing University IT systems and processes.

Do I need to purchase peripherals through the Bookstores?

No. You can purchase peripherals through other retailers.

Can I walk into the Bookstore and buy a computer?

No. Departmental purchases can only be made through UMarket. In person pickup from the Bookstores is available. 

Can I purchase computers from the Apple Store with my PCard?

No. Apple computers that are not a Bookstores departmental purchase cannot be fully added to the University IT management system or use our AppleCare Enterprise agreement.  Starting February 20, any computer purchase with a PCard will require you to personally reimburse the University and the computer cannot be used for University activities.

Can I purchase computers from other retailers, like Amazon, with my PCard?

No. Computers purchased elsewhere are not guaranteed to work with University inventory and management tools, are lacking an operating system license, or will not last the expected 5 years. This adds hours to IT support efforts, increases the total costs to the University, and may put us at risk of violating license agreements. Starting February 20, any computer purchase with a PCard will require you to personally reimburse the University and the computer cannot be used for University activities.

What if I only need a basic computer for operating a piece of lab equipment?

CBS-RLT maintains a supply of older, but still supportable, computers for CBS research support. Email to see what’s available. If nothing exists, you can develop a custom order with the Bookstores to purchase a computer that meets your needs.

What if a piece of lab equipment requires that I use its bundled computer?

Contact This situation is allowed, but the computer still needs to be inventoried and some alternate form of device management that meets University Policies. This tends to be very custom and may require security exception documentation, which CBS-RLT is equipped to provide.