§ 668.91Filing of requests for hearings and appeals; confirmation of mailing and receipt dates.
(a)Filing of request for hearing, show-cause opportunity, or appeal.
(i) A request by an institution or third-party servicer for a hearing or show-cause opportunity, or other material submitted by an institution or third-party servicer in response to a notice of proposed action under this subpart, must be filed with the designated department official by hand-delivery, mail, or facsimile transmission.
(ii) An appeal to the Secretary by a party must be filed with the designated department official by hand-delivery, mail, facsimile transmission, or by use of the Office of Hearings and Appeals Electronic Filing System (OES).
(2) Documents filed by facsimile transmission must be transmitted to the designated department official identified, either in the notice initiating the action, or, for an appeal, in instructions provided by the hearing official, as the individual responsible to receive them. A party filing a document by facsimile transmission must confirm that a complete and legible copy of the document was received by the Department of Education, and may be required by the designated department official to provide a hard copy of the document.
(3) The Secretary discourages the use of facsimile transmission for documents longer than five pages.
(i) A party may file an appeal to the Secretary, and any other pleading or other document submitted in a proceeding under this subpart, by use of the Office of Hearings and Appeals Electronic Filing System (OES), by hand-delivery, by mail, or by facsimile transmission.
(ii) A party must serve a copy on the other party of any pleading or other document it files, including an appeal to the Secretary, in a proceeding under this subpart. A party must do so by certified mail, return receipt requested; by hand-delivery; or, if agreed upon by the parties, service may also be made by use of the OES or any other means agreed to by the parties.
(iii) A party who agrees to receive a document by any means other than service by certified mail, return receipt requested or hand-delivery may limit that agreement to one or more particular documents.
(iv) A party who agrees to service of a document through the OES thereby agrees that the notice of such filing provided to the party by the OES suffices to meet any obligation of the filing party under these regulations to provide a copy of that document.
(5) Documents filed using the OES must be transmitted to the designated department official identified in instructions provided by the hearing official as the individual responsible to receive them. A party filing a document using the OES must ensure that the party has received an electronic confirmation that the document was accepted and approved for filing by the OES, and may be required by the designated department official to provide a hard copy of the document.
(6) Electronic documents must be formatted in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free atwww.adobe.com.
(b)Confirmation of mailing and receipt dates.
(1) The mailing date of a notice from a designated department official initiating an action under this subpart is the date evidenced on the original receipt of mailing from the U.S. Postal Service.
(2) The date on which a request for a show-cause opportunity, a request for a hearing, other material submitted in response to a notice of action under this subpart, a decision by a hearing official, or a notice of appeal is received is, as applicable—
(i) The date of receipt evidenced on the original receipt for a document sent by certified mail.
(ii) The date following the date recorded by the delivery service as the date material was sent for a document sent by next-day delivery service.
(iii) The date a document sent by regular mail is recorded, according to the regular business practice of the office receiving the document, as received.
(iv) The date a document sent by facsimile transmission is recorded as received by the facsimile equipment that receives the transmission.
(v) The date a document sent electronically via the OES is recorded as received by the OES as indicated in the confirmation of receipt email for E-filing.
(c)Refusals. If an institution or third-party servicer refuses to accept a notice mailed under this subpart, the Secretary considers the notice as being received on the date that the institution or servicer refuses to accept the notice.