The Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies (AEPA) is a multi-state non-profit organization whose members share the common goal of saving public agencies money.

However, we understand that this unique identity can cause a little confusion about who you need to contact to get information. Below is a list of frequently asked questions for your reference.

FAQs - AEPA Coop
Schools, Education, and Government
Who is eligible to purchase off of the AEPA contracts?

Our primary customer-base is K-12 schools, but many members extend their contracts to higher education, municipalities, and non-profit organizations. This differs slightly in each state, based on the charters of the member agencies. Check with your local member agency for more details.

How do I purchase off of the contracts?

Its’s easy and free to save money.

There are no membership forms to fill out, and no cost to participate. In most cases, customers will work directly with the vendors for pricing and ordering information. Simply contact the vendor(s) you are interested in and request AEPA contract pricing.  If you have any problems contact your State Agency under Find Your State Agency. Vendor contact information is available on the AEPA website under Vendors.

How do I know if AEPA meets my local and state purchasing regulations?

AEPA has put safeguards in place to assist with this. Each member advertises the bids in their state based on their local bidding requirements. Each contract is awarded by the member in your state, not by AEPA. This provides local control and support.

We do have the regulations from each state posted to our website under Legal Authority. The bid documents can be found on our website under Bidding Information or by contacting your local member representative.

What can I purchase through AEPA?

AEPA adds new bid categories annually. We offer anything from custodial supplies to roofing, from parent notification systems to athletic surfaces. The most current list of vendors can be found on the Approved Vendors page of our website.

How are vendors selected?

Each bid category has a committee of 3-4 members that reviews and recommends a vendor(s) to the Board, which then votes on the recommendation. AEPA will select the lowest responsive and responsible bidder(s). Specific requirements can be found in the bid documents. Then it is up to each State Member Agency to determine award in their state in accordance with specific legal requirements and authority.

What do I do if I have problems with a contract or order?

Customers should call their local member agency for support. They will help you resolve it.

Who do I contact for assistance?

The member agency representing your state can help you. Their information is on the AEPA website under Find Your State Agency.

For customers from states without a current member agency, we have indicated on the AEPA website the states that are supported by neighboring member states. You can call the representatives in those agencies, or any member of the AEPA Executive Board.

State Agencies
How do member agencies work with other educational agencies in their state?

This works differently from state to state. Some member states have one agency that represents the entire state, with no participation from the other agencies in their state. Other member state agencies represent their entire service agency network for the state (as only one representative is allowed to serve on the board per state). In these states, there may be some sort of arrangement to share the administrative fees collected from sales. In a couple of instances, the representing agency is not an educational service agency, but a school district or other type of non-profit organization.

What is required of member agencies?

Each member was selected based on their commitment to supporting the AEPA contracts within their state and meeting the minimal membership requirements. They are expected to participate in all regular AEPA meetings. As this is a voluntary membership organization, all members are expected to participate in committee work.

Member states are required to sign a minimum of 50% of contracts recommended for award as permitted by their state, and must show evidence of their support and marketing efforts in the form of increasing sales. The marketing committee has developed marketing pieces for members to use and incorporate their own agency information into.

What is the benefit of becoming an AEPA member?

The primary purpose of an ESA is to do for districts what they cannot do in isolation. Cooperative purchasing is a fundamental service that ESAs should be offering. And ESAs earn a percentage off of each sale made through AEPA to help support their efforts.

Of the many advantages of this unique purchasing group are the combined human resources representing purchasing/bidding expertise, current and past vendor relationships, past experience and overall vision with regard to the needs of the qualified customers within each represented state.

Member states can also provide each other with independent bids to piggyback off of, experts to bounce ideas and questions off of, and a network to share other educational and entrepreneurial ventures with.

What is the process of becoming a member?

Interested agencies from states where there is not a current member representative, are encouraged to submit an application for membership. Acceptance is usually based on a recommendation or referral from an existing member. New members must be accepted by a majority vote of current active members.
Click here for Membership Application

Don’t see your state and interested in becoming a member?
How do I become an AEPA vendor?

AEPA currently partners with multiple vendors to provide a wide-array of procurement categories. If your organization provides a product and/or service that is already offered by AEPA, then your organization will need to wait until the category is re-bid upon the completion of the current contract. All current bids are posted on the AEPA website under Bidding Information or you can register to receive bid notifications through our online bid platform, Public Purchase, by clicking here.

How are vendors selected?

Each bid category has a committee of 3-4 members that reviews and recommends a vendor(s) to the Board, which then votes on the recommendation. AEPA will select the lowest responsive and responsible bidder(s). Specific requirements can be found in the bid documents. Then it is up to each State Member Agency to determine award in their state in accordance with specific legal requirements and authority.

How are vendors evaluated throughout the contract?

Vendors must demonstrate a clear marketing plan and resulting sales. Sales reports are collected from members and vendors alike annually and compared for accuracy. Vendors with no growth and negligible effort being made will not be offered an extension.

Do vendors have to be able to serve all of the member states?

Vendors must be able to serve every member state. Vendors must familiarize themselves with the Terms and Conditions of AEPA and each individual member state, as well as any state and local regulations that may apply.

Are the awards made by AEPA or the member states?

The bid committee reviews the bid submissions, and makes a recommendation to the Board on vendors to approve. AEPA does not make a formal award. It is then up to each member state to enter into a contract with the vendors, which is called an Acceptance of Bid and Contract Award.

Who is my primary contact at AEPA?

If you are already a vendor, the chairperson of the bid category you belong to will be your primary contact. Vendor Partners will work directly with the primary contact from each member state regarding marketing and contracted business.

Download AEPA Committee Listing

If you are not already an AEPA Vendor Partner and interested in becoming one you will need to register to be notified of upcoming bid opportunities.

What are bid extensions?

Bids are valid for one year, with the possibility of three annual extensions. The AEPA meets each winter to review the sales and performance of each vendor, and the Board votes to extend the contract another year or not.

Bid Notification Registration and Category Recommendation Form

Please fill out this form to receive notification of AEPA bid announcements and offer suggestions for new bid categories.

What are the lengths of AEPA contracts?

Contracts can last anywhere from one (1) to four (4) years, as allowed by competitive bidding statutes. AEPA typically signs one (1) year terms, with the option to renew, annually, for three (3) additional years.

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