E-Filing Procedures

OHA’s E-filing System (OES) utilizes standard web-based screens and prompts to enable you to submit documents in PDF format directly to OHA within minutes. When creating your PDF documents, you choose the tool, process and workflow with which you author your documents, convert them to standard PDF files and then submit them to OHA’s secure servers.

OES is easy to use and provides a secure and efficient method for transmitting data electronically. OHA’s web-based e-filing System, OES, is a PDF-based filing system. Accordingly, all submissions are required to be in PDF format. An E-filer will be required to register as a user and obtain approval from OHA before E-filing any document. An E-filer will complete an online registration form. Once approval is given, an email will be sent to the e-filer within 24 business hours granting access to the e-filing system. A valid e-mail address is required to register as an E-filer. Requests for E-filing accounts should be submitted only during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Documents may be filed at any time. Please review the E-filing User Guide for information on how to complete the registration process and how to e-file.

E-filers will be able to see all documents filed in a particular case including documents filed by the opposing party once it is accepted for e-filing. Once a document is accepted, an e-filer may view and/or print the document.

OES may be used to submit documents in the following types of cases:

  • Higher Education Act cases (Subpart G and Subpart H proceedings)
  • General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) cases
  • Impact Aid cases
  • Salary Overpayment cases

Please note that E-filing is not permitted yet in Civil Rights cases. Documents in Civil Rights cases must be filed by hard copy via hand-delivery, private courier or U.S. mail.

Technical Problems
A user’s technical problems such as a lack of internet access will not excuse an untimely filing. If you wait until after close of business to attempt to e-file and encounter problems, no one will be available to assist you.If technical problems occur on OES or it is otherwise unavailable to receive e-filings, notice will be posted on OHA’s website as soon as possible. If OES is down or experiencing technical difficulties, please contact the System Administrator.

Service to other parties
Acceptance of an e-filing will constitute service to the other party(ies) in the case if these parties are registered users of OES. In that instance, parties will not need to file a certificate of service, however parties should still submit a service page listing the other parties in the case. If a party is not a registered e-filer, service must be made via traditional means such as hard copy via U.S. mail, hand-delivery, private courier, or facsimile transmission. In this instance, you must also follow up via hard copy to OHA if the other party is not a registered E-filer. Only in HEA and Overpayment cases, if all parties are registered E-filers, will you have the option of not following up with a hard copy to OHA. In all other cases (i.e. GEPA and Impact Aid), an E-filer must also send a hard copy to OHA.

Documents must be virus-free
You are responsible for taking all reasonable steps to prevent sending any material that contains computer viruses. All submissions using OES automatically will be deleted by the system and the E-filer notified.Rejection of a filing because it contains a virus will not excuse a late filing and is considered to be a user problem, not a technical failure of OHA’s system.

E-filings Must Be Timely

  • E-filings must comport with all applicable time requirements including those set by regulation and orders issued by the assigned judge or hearing official in your case.
  • Any document filed using OES shall be considered filed with OHA on the date and time it is sucessfully received. A document filed before midnight will be recorded as received on that date.
  • A failure to timely file or serve a document will not be excused on the basis of any technical difficulties encountered by the E-filer such as a claim that transmission could not be accomplished because OHA’s web server was off-line or unavailable for any other reason.
  • A party who files a document electronically shall have the same responsibility as a person filing a document in the conventional manner for ensuring that the document is properly filed, complete and readable.

Privacy Issues
Electronic documents that contain personally identifying information should be redacted. Personally identifiable information includes social security numbers, dates of birth, personal financial account numbers, and home addresses of students or individuals. See OHA’s Privacy Procedures for Filings to comply with our requirements regarding the inclusion and/or redaction of personally identifiable information in a party’s brief or exhibits.

Required Document Format
Documents must be converted to Portable Document Format (*.pdf). To learn more about PDF documents, go here.

Consolidated Cases
Unless two or more cases are officially consolidated by court order, any document applying in more than one case must be separately filed in each case. If cases are officially consolidated, a document may be filed in the lead case only.

Alternate Means of Electronic Submission
For the convenience of a party, all exhibits and pleadings may be combined and submitted on an optical disc (CD-ROM or DVD-ROM). The documents on optical disc must be in PDF format. The optical disc must be served upon the opposing party. A party should contact OHA before submitting a DVD-ROM.