Skip Office Navigation
OGC: Office of the General Counsel
   Current Section  Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Welcome to the Department of Education's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Homepage

ADR offers parties the opportunity to resolve disputes collaboratively and avoid time-consuming and costly litigation. At ED, we use ADR to resolve a variety of disputes, whether a dispute arises between ED and a grantee; a student loan borrower and a lender, guarantee agency, or loan collection agency; or an ED employee and his or her manager. Use of ADR is an integral part of our administrative appeal process and the resolution of civil rights complaints. We also use ADR to develop certain regulations -- to ensure that interested parties have an opportunity to provide input -- and we provide information on ADR in the context of Federal programs that we administer.

ED's Dispute Resolution Specialist, based in OGC, serves as a coordinator of the agency's ADR activities.  You can find specific information about ED's ADR activities at the following websites:

Cooperative Audit Resolution Oversight Initiative (CAROI)

CAROI is a collaborative approach to resolving audit findings as well as their underlying causes. The goal of CAROI is to improve education programs and student performance at state and local levels through better use of audits, monitoring, and technical assistance.

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

OCR's core mission as a law enforcement agency is to ensure that recipients of federal funds do not engage in discriminatory conduct. Through the Department's Office for Civil Rights' (OCR) case investigation and resolution process, OCR is able to promptly and effectively investigate and resolve cases against recipients allegedly engaging in discriminatory practices. Although OCR is authorized to initiate formal enforcement proceedings, OCR is required by statute to enter into voluntary negotiations to resolve compliance concerns and does so in the vast majority of its cases when compliance concerns are identified. OCR also has an active Early Complaint Resolution Process through which it acts as a facilitator for recipients and complainants to address allegations raised.

Office of the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman

The Ombudsman office works from a neutral, independent viewpoint, to resolve disputes between student loan borrowers and their private lender, loan guaranty agency, or the servicing agency or firm collecting on their loan. or

Office of Management - Alternative Dispute Resolution Center (ADR Center) and Equal Employment Opportunity Office (EEO)

The ADR Center provides an informal process for all ED employees and applicants to help resolve disputes, disagreements, or complaints on a wide range of work-related matters. The EEO office also provides ADR to help resolve formal complaints alleging discrimination in the workplace.

Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)

CADRE, the National Center on Dispute Resolution, encourages the use of mediation and other collaborative strategies to resolve disagreements about special education and early intervention programs.

Other Helpful ADR Resources:

ADR in the Federal Government

Learn about the Federal Interagency Alternative Dispute Resolution Working Group, established by Congress and the President to coordinate, promote, and facilitate the effective use of ADR in the government, and review materials about ADR in the federal government.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidance on ADR

This information is designed to help federal employees and applicants better understand ADR as it is used to resolve discrimination complaints in the federal government.

For further information about ADR at ED, you can contact the Agency Dispute Resolution Specialist at [].

Last Modified: 07/27/2011