The Catholic University of America

Using Contracts

Contract: A document from a vendor that states the terms and conditions for performing a certain service that has not yet been rendered. Until a contract is signed by CU and the vendor, there is no legal responsibility for payment from CU.

**Please note that it takes 2-3 weeks for a contract to be signed by the University so please plan ahead as much as possible**

1. How do I know if I need a contract?

    You need to complete a contract for any of the following situations:

    You have invited a speaker or performer and you are paying them for their services.

    You have rented equipment or supplies that need to be returned to a vendor.

    There are any "Terms and Conditions" that require signature before making a purchase.

    If you are not sure if you need a contract, ask OCA before going ahead with any other payment. 

    If you know you need a contract, move on to the next steps.

2. Does the vendor have their own standard service contract?

  • If yes, ask the vendor to send you a signed copy and review all details and then proceed to Question 3
  • If no, Complete blank areas of CU Speaker Contract (for speakers only) or the CU Independent Contractor Agreement (for performers and other services), send to vendor for signature. Upon receiving signed copy from Vendor proceed to Question 3.

3. Can the vendor accept credit card either online or over the phone and is the total cost less than $2500.00?

  • If yes, attach Contract to a completed Purchase Request in The Nest at least 2 weeks before the event/deadline for payment. OCA will route the contract through the proper University channels and pay via credit card as soon as the contract is signed.
  • If no, you must pay the contract with a check. In this case, you must complete a Vendor Application and attach it to a completed Purchase Request in The Nest at least 2-3 weeks before the event/deadline for payment. (Please note that some companies require a deposit earlier than 2-3 weeks in advance.)
    Vendor Application: The University requires every vendor to have a vendor application on file in order for the university to process payment by check. Please send it to the vendor, have a representative of the vendor complete the application, and send it back via email to (or to you and you can forward it) or fax to the OCA office at 202-319-6198. Please contact OCA to determine if a vendor already has a vendor application on file.


For help on how to complete a Purchase Request please see our instructions on How to complete a Purchase Request.

 Important Tips for Contracts

  • Students of the University are NEVER to sign a contract on behalf of the University or their student organization. If you sign a contract, this means you are taking *personal* liability for any breach of contract or funds owed.
  • OCA Staff are not authorized to sign contracts. Only certain CU staff, usually only the General Counsel, are designated to sign contracts, so any contract submitted to OCA at the last minute still may not be able to be signed in time to be processed through the proper University channels.
  • CU will not sign any contracts for services that have already been rendered.
  • It can take up to 2-3 weeks for a contract to be routed through proper University channels and returned signed to OCA, so please provide ample time. You can submit them to OCA as EARLY as you have them prepared, but they can be denied and your event can be cancelled if you submit them too late.
  • If you have specific questions, come ask OCA's Campus Activities Consultants.