Subgrants: Chandra Cost Proposal Common Errors

It is important that all cost proposals be submitted complete and on time. Late cost proposals and errors on cost proposals have a serious negative impact on research projects. Below are some of the errors that are seen on cost proposals every year. Instructions for the preparation of cost proposals are on our web site at:

General Errors

  1. Incomplete cost proposals. All required documents must be submitted. The Chandra Cost Proposal consists of the following:

    • Chandra Cost Proposal Cover Page (Required)
    • Chandra Cost Proposal Budget Form (Required)
    • Budget Justification/Narrative (Required)
    • Current/Pending Support (Required - if none, a negative response is required)
    • Copy of Federally Negotiated IDC Rate Agreement (Required - NASA is the only exception)
    • Request for approval for the purchase of equipment costing $5,000 or more. (If applicable) The form can be found at:

  2. Late cost proposals. Cost proposals shall be submitted by the due date.

Chandra Cost Proposal Cover Page Errors

  1. Incorrect CXC Science Proposal Numbers.

  2. Incorrect Project Title.

  3. Incomplete Institution Administrative Contact information. This includes incomplete mailing addresses.

  4. Cover Page must be signed by the institution's authorized individual.

Chandra Cost Proposal Budget Form Errors

  1. Missing CoI information. If you have a separately funded CoI on the project, the PI must complete the information in Section J.

  2. Section J. Incorrect amounts for CoI awards.

  3. NASA fees (facilities fees, lab taxes, etc.). Recipient institutions that are subject to NASA fees (facilities fees, lab taxes, etc.) and those fees are to be awarded directly to NASA through an interagency funds transfer shall treat those fees as a CoI award. Those funds shall be requested under Section J, CoI Awards, of the budget form. The budget justification shall identify the type of fee/tax, the rate to be charged and to which NASA office the funds will be sent.

  4. Math errors. Budgets are required to be calculated using whole numbers. It is important to check that all numbers on the budget form are accurate and that the budget totals correctly. This includes using the correct base for both the fringe benefit rate and the indirect cost rate.

    Example: If the base equals 48,778.40, round to the nearest dollar.

    Correct: $48,778 x 43.5% = $21,218.43 round to $21,218

    Incorrect: $48,778.40 x 43.5% = $21,218.60 round to $21,219

Budget Justification/Narrative Errors

All items that are listed on the Budget Form must be addressed in the budget justification/narrative. The Proposer must provide adequate budget detail to support estimates. Common errors include insufficient information for the following:

  1. Description of item(s) to be purchased. Example: Simply stating "laptop computer" is insufficient. A description of the laptop (brand name, model, special features) must be provided and the source of cost estimates for items to be purchased.

  2. Details of the purpose of proposed travel, both domestic and foreign, in relation to the grant and provide the basis of estimate, including information or assumptions on destination, number of travelers, number of days, conference fees, air fare, per diem, etc. The budget justification should include the names of travelers when known. TBD (to be determined) is not acceptable.

  • It is important to note that when a U.S. investigator [primary institution is U.S. based] obtains grant funds for a project that involves non-U.S. investigators, no funding may flow through the U.S. investigator to the non-U.S. investigators. This prohibition includes funding for travel.

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