PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has joined a group of 51 attorneys general in urging the U.S. Department of Education to automatically forgive the student loans of veterans who became totally and permanently disabled in connection with their military service.
“As we approach this Memorial Day weekend, I cannot think of a better way to honor those who have sought to serve and protect us,” said Ravnsborg. “We all must manage our obligations, but these Disabled American Veterans have already paid a higher price for our freedom.”
The coalition noted in their letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that last year DOE identified more than 42,000 veterans as eligible for student loan relief due to a service-related total and permanent disability. Fewer than 9,000 of those veterans had applied to have their loans discharged by April 2018, however, and more than 25,000 had student loans in default.
Under federal law, DOE is required to discharge the federal student loans of veterans determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be unemployable (or totally and permanently disabled) due to a service-connected condition. Although DOE currently requires disabled veterans to take affirmative steps to apply for a loan discharge, those steps are not required by law.
The coalition notes that the federal government has taken some steps to make it easier for eligible veterans to secure student loan relief. According to their letter, however, an automatic discharge process that gives individual veterans an opportunity to opt out for personal reasons “would eliminate unnecessary paperwork burdens and ensure that all eligible disabled veterans can receive a discharge.”