(a) A hearing is a process conducted by the hearing official whereby an orderly presentation of arguments and evidence is made by the parties.
(b) The hearing process consists of the submission of written briefs to the hearing official by the institution or third-party servicer, as applicable, and by the designated department official, unless the hearing official determines, under paragraph (g) of this section, that an oral hearing is also necessary.
(c) Each party shall provide a copy of its brief and any accompanying materials to the opposing party simultaneously with the filing of its brief and materials with the hearing official.
(d) An institution or third-party servicer requesting review of the final audit determination or final program review determination issued by the designated department official shall have the burden of proving the following matters, as applicable:
(1) That expenditures questioned or disallowed were proper.
(2) That the institution or servicer complied with program requirements.
(e) (1) A party may submit as evidence to the hearing official only materials within one or more of the following categories:
(i) Department of Education audit reports and audit work papers for audits performed by the department's Office of Inspector General.
(ii) In the case of an institution, institutional audit work papers, records, and other materials, if the institution provided those work papers, records, or materials to the Department of Education no later than the date by which the institution was required to file its request for review in accordance with § 668.113.
(iii) In the case of a third-party servicer, the servicer's audit work papers and the records and other materials of the servicer or any institution that contracts with the servicer, if the servicer provided those work papers, records, or materials to the Department of Education no later than the date that the servicer was required to file the request for review under § 668.113.
(iv) Department of Education program review reports and work papers for program reviews.
(v) Institutional or servicer records and other materials (including records and other materials of any institution that contracts with the servicer) provided to the Department of Education in response to a program review, if the records or materials were provided to the Department of Education by the institution or servicer no later than the date by which the institution or servicer was required to file its request for review in accordance with § 668.113.
(vi) Other Department of Education records and materials if the records and materials were provided to the hearing official no later than 30 days after the institution's or servicer's filing of its request for review.
(2) A party desiring to submit as evidence any materials described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section shall submit that evidence with its initial brief.
(f) The hearing official accepts only evidence that is both admissible and timely under the terms of paragraph (e) of this section, and relevant and material to the appeal. Examples of evidence that shall be deemed irrelevant and immaterial except upon a clear showing of probative value respecting the matters described in paragraph (d) of this section include—
(1) Evidence relating to a period of time other than the period of time covered by the audit or program review;
(2) Evidence relating to an audit or program review of an institution or third-party servicer other than the institution or servicer bringing the appeal, or the resolution thereof; and
(3) Evidence relating to the current practice of the institution or servicer bringing the appeal in the program areas at issue in the appeal.
(g) (1) The hearing official may schedule an oral argument if he or she determines that an oral argument is necessary to clarify the issues and the positions of the parties as presented in the parties' written submissions.
(2) In the event that an oral argument is conducted, the designated department official makes a transcribed record of the proceedings and makes one copy of that record available to each of the parties to the proceeding.
(h) Any oral argument shall take place in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.