Dec 5, 2016

Approval to exceed per diem lodging for LPSC 2017

The purpose of this letter from SARA is to issue a waiver for grantees allowing them to be reimbursed out of their grants for their actual lodging although it¹s expected to be above per diem. Note, I have specified grants (including cooperative agreements), not contracts.

As occurred for LPSC in 2016, the GSA allowed per diem will almost certainly not be adequate for LPSC 2017. According to the rate for March 2017 for zip code 77380 (that for the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center) or 77385 (that for Courtyard Houston North/Shenandoah) is $135 per night ($12 lower than last year). Although some of the hotels have lowered their rates since last year, that's not even close to the actual cost (of $235 +~$35 in taxes) for the official conference hotel (the Marriott mentioned above) or the actual cost ($179) for the Courtyard Houston.

Ready? OK, here we go:

By the power invested in me by the NSSC to issue approval of the actual lodging costs for a conference in "bulk" instead of individual approvals, I hereby affirm that for LPSC 2017 NASA SMD grants may be charged up to $259 plus tax per night, consistent with the actual costs of the conference hotel, even though this exceeds the normal per diem.

- Max Bernstein, SMD lead for research