In 1993, the Washington State Legislature passed HB 1509, which among other things, granted Washington's public higher education institutions independent purchasing authority for goods and services. To maximize the benefit of that authority, Washington's public four-year institutions along with the state's community and technical colleges entered into an interlocal cooperation agreement to jointly develop and utilize purchasing contracts. The Council of Presidents and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges coordinate this process and convene representatives from the institutions to develop policies and procedures for WIPHE contracts.

Since its inception, the WIPHE process has been utilized by institutions of higher education to save time by reducing overlapping efforts, and maximized the value of taxpayer dollars by leveraging the buying power of multiple institutions to obtain group buying discounts and promotional savings. The WIPHE process is a highly successful collaboration among the two and four-year public institutions of higher education.

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