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Back to Policy Section VIII: Fiscal and Business Affairs
Section VIII: Fiscal and Business Affairs

Policy Number: VIII-1.20(A)

University of Maryland, College Park Policy and Procedures for the Acquisition and Disposal of University Surplus Property

(This policy replaces the former Surplus Property Disposal Policy VIII-1.20 (A), approved by the President )


  1. To avoid the costs of unnecessary purchases and storage by facilitating the reuse of valuable surplus property and the disposal of surplus property of no resale value.
  2. To facilitate the purchase of used items at affordable prices.
  3. To provide quick and easy removal of surplus items from the owning department’s premises and to provide compensation from sale and to provide Inventory Control documentation which authorizes the removal of surplus items from the owning department’s inventory.
  4. To minimize paperwork while providing proper controls in the disposal and sale of surplus property.


  1. University property: materials, supplies and equipment purchased for the University’s use with state, federal or other funds, or items given to the University. Does not include items owned by the Federal government that have been used by the University.
  2. Surplus property: University property which is no longer needed by the owning department, regardless of its existing condition or estimated value. Surplus property does not include land, buildings or any improvements to land.
  3. Inventory: University’s capital asset inventory maintained by the Inventory Control unit of the Comptroller’s Office.
  4. Terrapin Trader: the surplus property management program administered by the Department of Procurement and Supply, with staging and showroom located in the Physical Distribution Center.


  1. Departments are required to look first within the University, including the Terrapin Trader, to see if suitable items are available for their use before requesting to purchase new items. This is in accordance with the Federal screening requirements of Federal OMB Circular A-110 as indicated on the Purchase Requisition form.
  2. Subject to applicable procedures, University of Maryland Departments; other state agencies; not-for-profit entities; faculty, staff and students and the general public are eligible to acquire surplus property through the Terrapin Trader.

Purchase preference is given in the following order:

  1. University of Maryland departments
  2. Other state agencies, not-for-profit entities, faculty, staff and students of the University System of Maryland.
  3. General Public


  1. Disposal of surplus property originally procured with federal grant or contract funds shall be in accordance with the terms of the grant or contract. Federal, State and other than University owned property is not to be declared surplus without the express written consent of the owning entity.
  2. The authority to dispose of surplus property is delegated by the President to the Director of Procurement and Supply.
  3. Procurement and Supply, through the Terrapin Trader program, has authority to dispose of surplus property using any appropriate method, such as: resale, bid, donation, dismantling or discarding.
  4. Departments are encouraged to dispose of used equipment by offering it for trade-in, if possible, when purchasing new equipment. The Purchase Requisition for trade-in items should include all appropriate information such as University asset tag number, condition, serial number, make and model, and any relevant comments. The completed purchase order will be sent to Inventory Control for inventory adjustment.
  5. The Director of Procurement and Supply delegates to the owning department head:Authority to sell or transfer equipment to another University of Maryland, College Park, department. Such transactions should be communicated directly to Inventory Control on Inventory Control’s designated form.Authority to discard items not on Inventory which have no current practical or monetary value. Surplus property that is discarded in accordance with this provision is no longer considered University of Maryland property. It is the owning department’s responsibility to assure the equipment is environmentally safe for disposal. For assistance refer to the Terrapin Trader Surplus Property Cleaning Certificate; however, when in doubt contact Environmental Safety.Authority to dismantle for parts, should the parts have more value to the department than the item itself. Such transactions should be communicated directly to Inventory Control on Inventory Control’s designated form.Authority to negotiate a sale price for items sold to another University when a researcher is moving to that university. A Terrapin Trader form must be completed and forwarded to the Terrapin Trader. The Terrapin Trader will invoice the other university, process the payment and send a copy of the Terrapin Trader form to Inventory Control upon completion of the transaction. The Terrapin Trader will assist the owning department with the valuation of the items.Authority to donate surplus items to not-for-profit organizations. A Terrapin Trader form must be completed and forwarded to the Terrapin Trader. The not-for-profit organization must validate receipt of the items on their letterhead. Terrapin Trader will send the Terrapin Trader form to Inventory Control once the Terrapin Trader receives the validating letter.
    1. Selling or Transferring to another Campus Department
    2. Discarding Non-Capital Equipment
    3. Dismantling for Parts
    4. Researcher Moving to Another University
    5. Donating to Not-for-Profit Organization
    6. All other Cases

University of Maryland departments are required to use the services of the Terrapin Trader.

  1. Departments vacating facilities are responsible for disposing of surplus equipment and furnishings in accordance with this policy. Failure to do so shall result in forfeiture of the property to Terrapin Trader without compensation to the owning department. Any unusual cost associated with the removal of the abandoned equipment is the responsibility of the owning department.
  2. Equipment that has been contaminated with a hazardous or dangerous substance, is not reasonably clean or is not safe to handle is not marketable and should be scrapped. Contact Environmental Safety for the proper procedures to follow to safely scrap the equipment. Prior to acceptance of surplus equipment by the Terrapin Trader, policy requires that the owning department certify that reasonable means have been taken to clean the equipment before it is offered for sale or disposal. The department Supervisor/Director or Principal Investigator/Chair, or designee is required by policy to answer the questions on the Terrapin Trader Surplus Property Cleaning Certification form. The form must be dated and signed and given to the Terrapin Trader staff at the time the item is picked-up. Contact the Terrapin Trader for further clarification regarding when this form must be completed.
  3. Scrap metal and other salvage materials related to construction jobs are University property. Disposal of and revenue from this material will be in accordance with contracts or agreements for the specific project.


The University Police are responsible for handling lost and found, abandoned and confiscated personal property in accordance with University of Maryland policy VIII-1.21 (A) and applicable State Law. This may involve the use of the Terrapin Trader to redistribute or dispose of property.


Terrapin Trader procedures, which may be modified by the Department of Procurement & Supply, may be found on the Terrapin Trader website, which is: