About ED OFFICES
US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements
Office of Management

Office of Hearings and Appeals

The mission of the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) is to provide independent forums for the fair, impartial, equitable, and timely resolution of disputes involving the U.S. Department of Education and recipients of federal education funds.  Also, it provides conflict resolution services to employees of the U.S. Department of Education.

OHA ensures coordinated administrative oversight of the Department's various hearing bodies and is headed by an Administrative Judge Director who reports to the Assistant Secretary for Management.

In performing its responsibilities, the Immediate Office of the Administrative Judge Director:

  • Facilitates the development of standardized internal procedures, to the extent appropriate, among OHA components.
  • Ensures proper and coordinated case tracking and reporting.
  • Insulates the adjudicative process by serving as the Principal Office for inquiries about cases, including Congressional inquiries.
  • Coordinates arrangements for publication of decisions.
  • Coordinates the maintenance of security of files.
  • Coordinates arrangements for access by external parties to case precedents and responds, in conjunction with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer where appropriate, to FOIA requests for OHA records.
  • Coordinates general support for all hearing related functions including arrangements for hearing rooms.
  • Conducts and/or oversees the assignment of all non-Administrative Procedure Act (APA) informal proceedings, including the tracking, dissemination, and archiving of those proceedings.

OHA is divided into the following components:

  • Administrative Law Judges Division
  • Civil Rights Reviewing Authority
  • Higher Education Appeals Division;  and
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Center.

Administrative Law Judges Division

Administrative Law Judges Division (OALJ), established in accordance with Part E of the General Education Provisions Act, as amended by Public Law 100-297, is a forum for hearing appeals by grantees under applicable programs (defined by statute) of ED enforcement actions.

The Office's Administrative Law Judges conduct administrative proceedings, which the Department is required to conduct subject to the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.).

In addition to programs that the Office is required to hear under Part E, the Office's Administrative Law Judges may also hear other proceedings under other statutes as assigned to the Office by the Administrative Judge Director of Hearings and Appeals.

These include, but are not limited to, proceedings under the following statutes:

  • Sections 5(d)(2)(A) and 5(g) of the Impact Aid Act (Public Law 81‑874);
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended; and
  • The Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, as amended, Public Law 99‑509, Title VI, subtitle B.

The Division's Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) report to the Chief Administrative Law Judge.

Civil Rights Reviewing Authority

The Civil Rights Reviewing Authority was established under 42 U.S.C. 2000‑1 which requires each federal agency to secure compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by terminating federal financial assistance upon a finding of non‑compliance by the recipient.

The Authority, authorized under 34 CFR Parts 100 and 101, is a seven‑member, quasi-judicial body appointed by the Secretary to provide an independent review of adverse civil rights decisions made by ALJs.  Its Director is the Administrative Judge Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals.

In performing its responsibilities, the Authority:

  • Conducts administrative appeals of ALJ decisions and issues administrative appellate decisions in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended.
  • Conducts research on points of law necessary to the decision‑making process.

The Civil Rights Reviewing Authority staff provides support services to Authority members and maintains the records of the documents submitted to the Authority.

Higher Education Appeals Division

Higher Education Appeals Division (OHEA) is a forum for hearing appeals by postsecondary institutions as assigned by the Administrative Judge Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals. These include, but are not limited to, proceedings under the following statutes:

  • Civil penalty proceedings under section 432(g) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), 20 U.S.C. 1082(g), against a lender or guarantee agency participating in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL).
  • Review proceedings under section 432(h)(2) of the HEA, 20 U.S.C. 1082(h)(2), regarding sanctions imposed by a guarantee agency on lenders participating in the FFEL.
  • Review proceedings under section 432(h)(3) of the HEA, 20 U.S.C. 1082(h)(3), regarding sanctions imposed by a guarantee agency on institutions participating in the FFEL.
  • Proceedings under section 487(b) of the HEA, 20 U.S.C. 1094(b), to review final audit and program review determinations relating to student financial assistance programs under Title IV of the HEA.
  • Proceedings under section 20 U.S.C. 1094(c)(1)(F) and 20 U.S.C. 1094(c)(3)(A), to limit, suspend, or terminate the eligibility of an institution to participate in the student financial assistance programs under Title IV of the HEA.
  • Proceedings under 20 U.S.C. 1094(c)(1)(H), to limit, suspend, or terminate the eligibility of an individual or organization to contract with an institution to administer a student assistance program, or to impose a civil penalty on such an individual or organization.
  • Proceedings under 20 U.S.C. 1094(c)(3)(B), to fine an institution participating in the student financial assistance programs under Title IV of the HEA.
  • Proceedings under section 432(h)(1) of the HEA, 20 U.S.C. 1082(h)(1), to limit, suspend, or terminate a lender from participating in the FFEL.

The Division's Administrative Judges conduct administrative proceedings, which the Department is required to conduct, subject to the statutes and implementing regulations.

The Division's Administrative Judges report to the Chief Administrative Judge.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Center

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Center is a forum for the resolution of employment disputes before the dispute advances to a formal complaint stage.  The informal dispute resolution process utilizes counseling and mediation to informally resolve a wide range of employee complaints including Equal Employment Opportunity matters under 29 CFR Part 1614, labor relations matters under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Employee Relations matters under the Administrative Grievance Process, and other employment matters as assigned by the Assistant Secretary.



   
Last Modified: 06/30/2016