President Donald Trump announced to a group of veterans in Kentucky on Wednesday his new plan to sign an executive order to eliminate student loan debt for disabled veterans.
The new executive order calls for more streamlined discharges of federal student loans for disabled veterans who cannot maintain employment to repay their education debts. Trump noted in the order, “There is a pressing need to quickly and effectively resolve this problem [of disabled veterans carrying student loan debt]. Therefore, my Administration will take prompt action to ensure that all totally and permanently disabled veterans are able to obtain, with minimal burden, the Federal student loan debt discharges to which they are legally entitled.”
Trump began his speech to the veterans in Kentucky with lighthearted jokes indicating that he had considered giving himself a Medal of Honor, the highest recognition that can be awarded to those who’ve served in the military, “I wanted one, but they told me I don’t qualify,” Trump said. “I said ‘could I give it to myself anyway?’ They said, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.’ Trump agreed, saying he definitely was not worthy of that honor. The president’s sense of humor quickly segued into a very important matter, though.
“The debt of disabled veterans will be entirely erased,” Trump said in a speech at the 75th annual American Veterans’ convention in Louisville, Kentucky. “In a few moments, I will sign a memorandum directing the Department of Education to eliminate every penny of federal student loan debt owed by American veterans who are completely and permanently disabled.”
Trump ended his speech by remaining on stage to sign the executive order in front of the crowd of veterans gathered for the convention. “The debt of these disabled veterans will be entirely erased. It will be gone,” Trump said. “Sleep well tonight.”
The president indicated that his proposal would eliminate on the average of $30,000 for each of the more than 25,000 eligible veterans “who have made immense sacrifices, the ultimate sacrifice in many ways for our nation.” The president said “That’s hundreds of millions of dollars in student debt held by our severely wounded warriors. It’s gone forever.”
President Trump’s executive order will form a new process where the Department of Education will automatically identify veterans eligible for loan forgiveness via the Total Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge program. The order will give veterans the option to opt-out for 60 days before automatically discharging the debt owed. This order creates is an important development for disabled student loan borrowers.
The new order does not, however, create a new loan discharge program. In addition, the expedited process will be left to the Department of Education and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs for further streamlining, and to implement the order and make the necessary improvements.