34 CFR § 668.89 - Hearing.

§ 668.89 Hearing.
Link to an amendment published at 87 FR 66041, Nov. 1, 2022.

(a) A hearing is an orderly presentation of arguments and evidence conducted by a hearing official. At the discretion of the hearing official, any right to a hearing may be satisfied by one or more of the following: Summary disposition pursuant to § 668.88(e), with or without oral argument; an oral evidentiary hearing conducted in person, by telephone, by video conference, or any combination thereof; or a review limited to written evidence.


(1) Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, the hearing official sets the procedures to be used in the hearing, and may take steps to expedite the proceeding as appropriate.

(2) The formal rules of evidence and procedures applicable to proceedings in a court of law are not applicable. However, discussions of settlement between the parties or the terms of settlement offers are not admissible to prove the validity or invalidity of any claim or defense.


(i) The proponent of any factual proposition has the burden of proof with respect thereto.

(ii) The designated department official has the burden of persuasion in any fine, suspension, limitation, or termination proceeding under this subpart.

(iii) The designated department official has the burden of persuasion in a borrower defense and recovery action; however, for a borrower defense claim based on a substantial misrepresentation under § 682.222(d), the designated department official has the burden of persuasion regarding the substantial misrepresentation, and the institution has the burden of persuasion in establishing any offsetting value of the education under § 685.222(i)(2)(i).

(4) Discovery, as provided for under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, is not permitted.

(5) The hearing official accepts only evidence that is relevant and material to the proceeding and is not unduly repetitious.

(6) The hearing official may restrict the number of witnesses or exclude witnesses to avoid undue delay or presentation of cumulative evidence. Any witness permitted to appear may do so via telephonic, video, or other means, with the approval of the hearing official.

(7) Either party may call qualified expert witnesses. Each party will be limited to calling three expert witnesses, as a matter of right, including any rebuttal or surrebuttal witnesses. Additional expert witnesses shall be allowed only by order of the hearing official, granted only upon a showing of good cause.

(i) At a date set by the hearing official, each party shall serve the other with any report prepared by each of its expert witnesses. Each party shall serve the other party with a list of any rebuttal expert witnesses and a rebuttal report prepared by each such witness not later than 60 days after the deadline for service of expert reports, unless another date is set by the hearing official. A rebuttal report shall be limited to rebuttal of matters set forth in the expert report for which it is offered in rebuttal. If material outside the scope of fair rebuttal is presented, a party may file a motion not later than five days after the deadline for service of rebuttal reports, seeking appropriate relief with the hearing official, including striking all or part of the report, leave to submit a surrebuttal report by the party's own experts, or leave to call a surrebuttal witness and to submit a surrebuttal report by that witness.

(ii) No party may call an expert witness at the hearing unless the party has listed the expert and has provided reports as required by this section.

(iii) Each report shall be signed by the expert and contain a complete statement of all opinions to be expressed and the basis and reasons therefor; the data, materials, or other information considered by the witness in forming the opinions; any exhibits to be used as a summary of or support for the opinions; the qualifications of the witness, including a list of all publications authored or co-authored by the witness within the preceding ten years; the compensation to be paid for the study and testimony; and a listing of any other cases in which the witness has testified or sought to testify as an expert at trial or hearing, or by deposition, within the preceding four years. A rebuttal or surrebuttal report need not include any information already included in the initial report of the witness.


(i) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(8)(ii) of this section, if an institution has been required through compulsory process under section 490A of the HEA or other applicable law to submit to the United States or to the Department material regarding an express or an implied representation, the institution cannot thereafter, in any proceeding under this subpart in which it is alleged that the representation was false, erroneous, or misleading, and for any purpose relating to the defense of such allegation, introduce into the record, either directly or indirectly through references contained in documents or oral testimony, any material of any type that was required to be but was not timely submitted in response to that compulsory process.

(ii) The hearing official shall, upon motion at any stage, exclude all material that was required to be but was not timely submitted in response to a compulsory process described in paragraph (b)(8)(i) of this section, or any reference to such material, unless the institution demonstrates, and the hearing official finds, that by the exercise of due diligence the material could not have been timely submitted in response to the compulsory process, and the institution notified the Department or such other party that issued the order to produce, of the existence of the material immediately upon its discovery. The hearing official shall specify with particularity the evidence relied upon.

(9) When issues not raised in the notice of proposed action are tried without objection at the hearing, they will be treated in all respects as if they had been raised in the notice of proposed action, and no formal amendments are required.

(c) The hearing official makes a transcribed record of the proceeding and makes a copy of the record available to the designated Department official and to the institution or servicer.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1094)
[82 FR 6258, Jan. 19, 2017]