Trump signs executive order to eliminate federal student loan debt for disabled vets

Savannah Behrmann and Chris Kenning

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday a new plan to relieve disabled veterans totally of federal student loan debt.

"The debt of disabled veterans will be entirely erased," Trump said during his prepared remarks at the American Veterans 75th National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. "In a few moments, I will sign a memorandum directing the Department of Education to eliminate every penny of federal student loan debt owed by American veterans who are completely and permanently disabled."

About half of the roughly 50,000 disabled veterans who are qualified to have their federal student loan debt forgiven have received the benefit because of an application process that has proven burdensome, the administration said.

The memo directs the government to develop an "expedited" process, which the Department of Education said would mean loans are forgiven unless veterans opt out.

Trump addressed a large crowd of veterans at the event, saying, "You fought courageously for your country, and now we’re fighting courageously for you."

He also vowed to eliminate "every penny" of an average of $30,000 in federal student loan debt for each of about 25,000 disabled veterans.

At the conclusion of his address, the president stayed on stage to sign the executive order in front of the crowd, flanked by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, among others.

“That's hundreds of millions of dollars in student debt held by our severely wounded warriors. It's gone forever,” Trump said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump signs order to eliminate student loan debt for disabled vets