Proposal Budget Reviews
CAAR reviews proposed award budgets when requested by the Division of Grants and Agreements (DGA) or Division of Acquisition and Cooperative Support (DACS) to ensure that proposed costs are reasonable, allowable, and allocable. CAAR typically conducts:
- a cursory review of the proposal budget and budget explanation for accuracy and presentation
- a cursory review for unallowable costs and expense classification
- a review of reasonableness for selected items of cost
- a review of any specific budget line items requested by DGA or DACS.
NSF Program Officers and DGA/DACS Grant Specialists are responsible for reviewing proposed budgets to determine that they are mathematically correct; that included costs appear reasonable, allowable, and allocable; and that the total amount appears reasonable to accomplish project objectives.
CAAR staff provides expertise to provide deeper analysis or assess more complex funding issues at the request of DGA and DACS. After its review, CAAR makes a recommendation to the DGA/DACS Grants Specialist. DGA or DACS makes the final determination on the overall size and specific amounts included in the budget.
CAAR considers several factors in its review of various proposal budget line items:
- Overall Reasonableness – amounts of the proposal budget line items, e.g. subawards, appear to correspond to the objectives of the proposed award
- Allowability – selected costs are evaluated to determine their allowability based upon the applicable Federal Cost Principles, NSF-specific terms and conditions, and award specific terms and conditions (if any)
- Allocability – individual costs are assignable or chargeable to one or more cost objectives based on relative benefits received. A cost is allocable if it is (1) incurred specifically for the project, or (2) necessary to the overall operation of a business, although a direct relationship to any particular cost objective cannot be shown— these types of costs are generally not allowable as a direct charge, but may be allocated based on established indirect cost rates.
Resources and References