Judges split on approving high-cost retraining tuition

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A panel of judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals couldn’t agree on whether a laid-off man’s request for training at an expensive college should be approved.

R.D. worked as a machinist in Bloomington earning nearly $25 an hour. He was laid off and decided he wanted to pursue training under the Trade Act of 1974 at the Art Institute of Indianapolis. He would obtain a degree in graphic arts in print and web in 18 months at a cost of more than $56,000.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development denied his request based on its cost and noted that he could attend Ivy Tech Indianapolis and receive similar training at a lower cost. The Administrative Law Judge hearing the appeal found the programs to be substantially similar and denied R.D.’s application to attend the Art Institute based on cost. The Review Board affirmed.

After examining the history and purpose of the Trade Act, Judges Paul Mathias and Edward Najam reversed because, based on the evidence, the training R.D. would receive at the Art Institute as compared to Ivy Tech was not similar.

Although nearly two-thirds cheaper in tuition, the program at Ivy Tech allowed for only studying print or web design. R.D. designated evidence that graduates of the Art Institute have a placement rate of more than 78 percent and he could get a full-time job at a salary of approximately $69,000. There was no evidence presented regarding Ivy Tech’s placement and graduates tend to start out at $9 an hour.

One goal of the Trade Act is to get people employed making at least 80 percent of what they were before, wrote Judge Mathias in R.D. v. Review Board, No. 93A02-1005-EX-559. Another precondition for approval of training under the act is that there must to be a reasonable expectation of employment after completing training.

The act says that training may not be approved at one provider, when all costs considered, the training is substantially similar in quality, content, and results at a lower-cost provider with a similar time frame. The majority found, unlike the ALJ, that the two programs are not substantially similar in quality, content, and results, and they don’t even result in the same degree. The majority reversed the denial of R.D.’s request to retrain at the Art Institute.

Chief Judge John Baker dissented because the purpose of the act is to train the highest amount of people at the lowest reasonable cost. Three people could get degrees at Ivy Tech for the cost of attending the Art Institute. Even if R.D. had to get two separate degrees from Ivy Tech to have training in web and print design, it would still be significantly less than his tuition for the Art Institute.

“When considering the purposes of the Trade Act, namely, to provide workers with training at the lowest reasonable cost that will lead to employment and result in training opportunities for the largest number of adversely affected workers, I cannot agree that R.D. has successfully demonstrated that the Review Board’s decision was unreasonable in denying his application for funding to attend the Art Institute,” he wrote. “In short, R.D.’s request for training at the Art Institute does not satisfy the ‘lowest cost’ requirement of 20 C.F.R. section 617.22(a)(6).”


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.