May 26, 2019

DeVos urged by 51 AGs to cancel disabled veterans' student debts

US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks during the fifth meeting of the Federal Commission on School Safety in Washington, DC, August 16, 2018.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A bipartisan group of attorneys general from 51 states, territories and the District of Columbia sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Friday, calling on her to automatically cancel disabled veterans' student debts.

Details: Disabled veterans' student loans are required by law to be discharged when requested. The provisions aren't automatic and "may prove insurmountable obstacles to relief for many eligible veterans due to the severe nature of their disabilities," according to the letter, signed by all state attorneys general except those from Alabama, Arizona and Texas.

The big picture: A Freedom of Information Act request filed by advocacy group Veterans Education Success shows more than 42,000 veterans are eligible for Total Permanent Disability status. Fewer than 9,000 people had applied by the start of May 2018 and more than 25,000 eligible veterans were in default, per USA Today.

The other side: The Education Department said in a statement to Reuters: "While 'automatic discharge' may seem like a simple solution, there are long-term impacts we want all veterans to have the chance to consider before their loans are discharged."

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