Hundreds of millions of dollars in federal student loan debt owed by tens of thousands of disabled military veterans will be erased in an expedited process under a directive President Trump signed this week.
Trump ordered the Education Department on Wednesday to “eliminate every penny of federal student loan debt” owed by U.S. veterans who are completely and permanently disabled.
Only about half of the roughly 50,000 disabled veterans who qualify to have their federal student loan debt forgiven have received the benefit, and the administration blames a “burdensome” application process.
The document directs the government to develop an expedited process so veterans can have the debt discharged “with minimal burdens.”
Trump said they won’t have to pay federal income tax on the forgiven debt and called on states to waive their taxes as well.
America, he said, owes its heroes “a supreme debt of gratitude.”
The action will wipe out an average of $30,000 in debt per person owed by more than 25,000 eligible veterans, Trump said, calling them “incredible people” who have made “the ultimate sacrifice, in many ways, for our nation.”
Student debt remains a heavy burden on generations of Americans. As the federal government has stepped up collections on delinquent loans, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who are vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, have proposed plans to forgive student debt.
Last week, the Trump administration appointed a longtime student loan industry executive, Robert Cameron, to be the government’s top watchdog for the $1.5-trillion student loan market.