UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20202
In the Matter of Docket No. 96-79-SP
CENTRO de ESTUDIOS Student Financial
MULTIDISCIPLINARIOS, Assistance Proceeding
Appearances: J. Andrew Usera, Esq., of Vienna, Virginia for Centro de Estudios Multidisciplinarios.
Alexandra Gil-Montero, Esq., Office of the General Counsel, United States
Department of Education, Washington, D.C., for Student Financial Assistance
Before: Judge Ernest C. Canellos
On June 26, 1996, CEM filed a request for review challenging the findings of the FPRD. According to CEM, although it does not dispute either finding contained in the FPRD, it maintains that ED owes the institution $310,910.98 because the institution earned that amount in tuition and fees during the award years at issue, but never has been paid those funds by ED.
Ostensibly, CEM discovered, after completing an audit of its participation in Title IV programs
during the award years covered by the FPRD, that it may have disbursed more Title IV funds
than it drew down from ED during the 1991/92 through 1994/95 award years. In support of its
position, CEM filed voluminous documentation purporting to show that the funds were disbursed
to eligible Title IV students.
Since the institution's appeal appeared to raise an issue not covered by the FPRD, I issued
an order governing proceedings on July 10, 1996, requiring the parties to address whether the
tribunal maintained jurisdiction to decide the question raised by CEM. On the same date, SFAP
filed a motion to dismiss CEM's appeal on the basis that it raised an issue for which the tribunal
lacked jurisdiction to decide. SFAP's motion was held in abeyance pending my review of the
submissions required by my order.
According to CEM, although the challenge it raises is not in direct response to the
findings contained in the FPRD, it is still proper for me to maintain jurisdiction over CEM's
appeal. In the institution's view, since the FPRD is the result of SFAP's review of the
institution's administration of Title IV programs, I should take jurisdiction over the institution's
appeal concerning any aspect of the institution's participation in Title IV programs covered
during the award years at issue in the FPRD. According to CEM, my jurisidiction in a Subpart H
proceeding is limited only by 34 C.F.R. § 668.111, which restricts the tribunal, from taking
jurisdiction over disputes concerning termination and fine actions.
I find the law in this area abundantly clear. It is uncontrovertible that I have limited
jurisdiction to adjudicate an institution's appeal of the FPRD. My jurisdiction is circumscribed
by the allegations raised in the FPRD. In this respect, I have consistently recognized that my
power and authority to conduct a hearing on the merits of the FPRD does not persist beyond the
clear and specific allegations presented in the FPRD. An institution's request for a review of the
FPRD, without an existing underlying adverse action, is insufficient, by itself, to confer
jurisdiction. Consequently, I find that I am without jurisdiction to adjudicate the question
presented by CEM's challenge of the FPRD. By this determination, I make no ruling on the
merits of CEM's arguments.
See footnote 1
My task is necessarily limited to deciding whether this action may go forward, and my finding is that it cannot. Accordingly, SFAP's motion to dismiss this action
On the basis of the aforementioned, the above-captioned proceeding is DISMISSED.
Ernest C. Canellos
Dated: August 15, 1996
A copy of the attached document was sent, by certified mail, return receipt requested to the
J Andrew Usera, Esq.
8310-B Old Courthouse Road
Vienna, VA 22182
Alexandra Gil-Montero, Esq.
Office of the General Counsel
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-2110