CORNISH: So can the president actually do this, to start? And what does it mean – this order that all federal debt would be forgiven for these folks?

LAWRENCE: Well, it’s a lot easier to do it because this is actually a pre-existing program since 1965 – the Higher Education Act. It was amended in 2008. But the problem with that was that it was, essentially, opt-in. You had to know and apply to have your debt forgiven. Under the Obama administration, the – they had studied the social security rolls, found out who was disabled and who was in debt and sort of matched these records and found tens of thousands of people who were eligible and sent them letters. But the onus was on them to participate. Pressure kind of continued into the Trump administration for this to change. And in just January, 47 states’ attorneys general had urged that they do something to make this easier. And there were bipartisan bills in Congress, so there was a lot of momentum for this to happen.

Read the full story and transcript at NPR, “Trump Signs Executive Order Forgiving All Federal Student Loan Debt For Disabled Vets” published on August 21, 2019.