For Immediate Release     

Contacts: 

Carrie Wofford, President | carrie@vetsedsuccess.org (202) 422-6338

Veterans Education Success Reacts to Department of Education’s Delay Discharging Student Loan Debt for Disabled Veterans & New Effort to Reduce Student Loan Interest for Deployed Troops

Reaction by Mike Saunders, Director of Military & Consumer Policy, highlights urgency and importance of action promised by the Trump Administration. 

Washington, D.C. – Military and veterans service organizations learned in a story by Politico that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) had delayed implementing a promise by President Trump to automatically forgive student loan debt for severely disabled veterans. “We are disappointed and concerned to hear that automatic federal student loan forgiveness for severely disabled veterans did not go live back in September as promised, but we are thankful that it reportedly finally is back on track,” said Mike Saunders, Director of Military & Consumer Policy at Veterans Education Success. “We were grateful that President Trump heard our pleas of more than a year and took action this summer to ensure 100% disabled veterans get their lawful right to student loan forgiveness. We call on the Education Department to keep veterans and military service organizations regularly updated on the status and progress of disabled veteran’s lawful right to loan forgiveness. Additionally, we remain concerned about the 25,000 totally disabled veterans who were wrongly put in default on loans that should have been forgiven and who suffered clawbacks and illegal garnishment of their disability benefits and tax refunds. They need to be made whole.”

ED also announced efforts to secure a data-matching program between itself and the Department of Defense (DoD) under which DoD will disclose data to ED on service members deployed to areas that qualify for imminent danger pay or hostile fire pay. The program will allow ED to provide no-interest accrual benefits on qualifying loans made under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

“It’s great news that the men and women of the Armed Forces will now automatically get their legal rights to zero percent interest on their federal student loans during deployment, and that the Education Department will refund interest payments that should not have been paid, going back to 2008,” said Mike Saunders, Director of Military & Consumer Policy at Veterans Education Success. “Service members receiving Hazardous Duty Pay or Imminent Danger Pay need to be focused on the mission and making sure that their brothers and sisters come home alive, and not distracted about their student loans. We are glad to see that the Administration got this right.”

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About Veterans Education Success

Veterans Education Success is a veteran advocacy organization whose mission is to advance higher education success for veterans, service members, and military families, and to protect the integrity and promise of the GI Bill and other federal education programs. The organization offers free legal services, advice, and college and career counseling to servicemembers, veterans, their survivors, and families using federal education benefits – and helps them participate in their democracy by engaging with policymakers. Veterans Education Success also provides policy expertise to federal and state policymakers, and conducts non-partisan research on issues of concern to student veterans, including student outcomes and debt levels. Additional information is available at www.vetsedsuccess.org.