President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to forgive student loan debt for permanently disabled U.S. military veterans at the American Veterans National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, according to Fox News.
"The debt of these disabled veterans will be completely erased," President Trump said. "That's hundreds of millions of dollars of student loans debt for our disabled veterans that will be completely erased."
The executive order provides an "expedited" process for veterans to receive student loan forgiveness. Currently, only about 20 percent of eligible disabled veterans have applied for loan forgiveness under the current program, the Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, due to the complicated process.
The order will apply to about 25,000 disabled veterans, according to a tweet from the president. Those 25,000 have debt of about $30,000 each, on average.
"It was my honor to sign a Presidential Memorandum facilitating the cancellation of student loan debt for 25K of our most severely disabled Veterans," President Trump wrote. "With today's order, we express the everlasting love & loyalty of a truly grateful Nation. God bless our Vets, & God Bless America!"
It was my honor to sign a Presidential Memorandum facilitating the cancellation of student loan debt for 25K of our… https://t.co/1nadOpO1LW— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1566433232.0
The veterans won't have to pay any federal taxes on these forgiven loans, and President Trump wants the states to provide similar tax relief to beneficiaries.
According to NPR's Quil Lawrence, veterans default on student loans at a surprisingly high rate, despite tuition benefits that service members have access to.
"Part of this problem is that vets have been really aggressively courted by for-profit colleges," Lawrence said on "All Things Considered" with Audie Cornish. "Veterans actually end up making a really disproportionate number of students who are in default on their student loans. And part of this is because these for-profit colleges are so much more expensive and, often, give a less valuable degree than, say, community college."