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US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements
Office of Management

Functional Statements > Office of Management

F. 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.

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

In performing its responsibilities, the Immediate Office of the 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:

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Office of Administrative Law Judges

The Office of Administrative Law Judges (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 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, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; and
  • The Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, Public Law 99‑509, Title VI, subtitle B.

The Office's Administrative Law Judges report to the Chief Administrative Law Judge.

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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 C.F.R. 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 reports to the Director 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, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.
  • Conducts research on points of law necessary to the decision‑making process.

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

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Office of Higher Education Appeals

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

  • Civil penalty proceedings under section 432(g), 20 U.S.C. 1082(g), against a lender or guarantee agency participating in the Guaranteed Student Loan Programs (GSLP).
  • Review proceedings under section 432(h)(2), 20 U.S.C. 1082(h)(2), regarding sanctions imposed by a guarantee agency on lenders participating in the GSLP.
  • Review proceedings under section 432(h)(3), 20 U.S.C. 1082(h)(3), regarding sanctions imposed by a guarantee agency on institutions participating in the GSLP.
  • Proceedings under section 487(b), 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 487(c)(1)(D), 20 U.S.C. 1094(c)(1)(D), 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 section 487(c)(1)(F), 20 U.S.C. 1094(c)(1)(P), 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 section 487(c)(2), 20 U.S.C. 1094(c)(2), to fine an institution participating in the student financial assistance programs under Title IV of the HEA.
  • Proceedings under section 432(h)(1), 20 U.S.C. 1082(h)(1), to limit, suspend, or terminate a lender from participating in the GSLP.

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

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

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Last Modified: 06/16/2011