The Office of Hearings and Appeals consists of three primary units, the Office of Higher Education Appeals (OHEA), the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ), and the Civil Rights Reviewing Authority (CRRA). Each office is described briefly below.
Office of Higher Education Appeals (OHEA)
The Office of Higher Education Appeals hears cases arising under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). These cases include actions initiated by the U.S. Department of Education to terminate the eligibility of institutions to participate in the Title IV, HEA programs; actions to fine institutions; audit and program review actions to recover allegedly misspent funds; emergency actions to immediately suspend funding of such institutions; and actions to debar certain individuals from participating in various programs government-wide.
Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ)
The Office of Administrative Law Judges is an impartial tribunal within the U.S Department of Education, which is responsible for the adjudication of cases involving Federal impact aid, recovery of funds, civil rights, and any other matter delegated by the Secretary of Education. These actions are instituted by State agencies, educational institutions, or other recipients seeking to contest an adverse preliminary finding by the U.S. Department of Education. A typical proceeding before the Office of Administrative Law Judges is an appeal by a State agency of a preliminary departmental decision issued by the U.S. Department of Education which proposes the recovery of funds for failure to administer a State grant in a manner consistent with the governing statute and the regulations thereunder.
Civil Rights Reviewing Authority (CRRA)
The Civil Rights Reviewing Authority of the U.S. Department of Education is a seven member quasi-judicial body appointed by the Secretary of Education. The CRRA is responsible for the supervision of administrative hearings and issuance of decisions upon appeals and reviews in accordance with the non-discrimination provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 relative to educational programs receiving federal financial assistance. Each final decision of the CRRA shall be concurred in by a majority of those designated to consider it, and in any event, by at least two members. In each case reviewed, the CRRA shall render a final decision. These decisions may be reviewed by the Secretary of Education at her discretion.