34 CFR § 32.9 - Written decision.
(a) The hearing official issues a written decision stating the facts supporting the nature and origin of the debt and the hearing official's analysis, findings and conclusions as to the amount of the debt and the repayment schedule within 60 days of filing of the employee's request for a pre-offset hearing, unless the employee requests, and the hearing official grants, a delay in the proceedings.
(b) The hearing official decides whether the Secretary's determination of the existence and the amount of the overpayment or the extreme financial hardship caused by the involuntary repayment schedule is clearly erroneous. A determination is clearly erroneous if although there is evidence to support the determination, the hearing official, considering the record as a whole, is left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake was made.
(c) In making the decision, the hearing official is governed by applicable Federal statutes, rules and regulations.
(d) The hearing official decides the issue of extreme financial hardship caused by the involuntary repayment schedule only where the employee has submitted the financial statement and written explanation required under § 32.4(c). Where the hearing official determines that the involuntary repayment schedule creates extreme financial hardship, he or she must establish a schedule that alleviates the financial hardship but may not reduce the involuntary repayment schedule to a deduction of zero percent.