State Watch

Attorneys general from 47 states ask DeVos to cancel disabled veterans' student debt

Attorneys general from 47 states, three territories and the District of Columbia wrote a letter Friday to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her to cancel student debt for veterans permanently and totally disabled or otherwise unemployable. 

The attorneys general requested that the Education Department establish an automatic loan discharge process "to ensure that all eligible veterans can have their student loans forgiven."

They added that over 42,000 veterans are eligible for such discharges, but that only 9,000 applied for them as of last April. 

Federal law enables veterans who are totally and permanently disabled to have their student loan debts eliminated, but the attorneys general called the department's process for doing so "inadequate." 

The letter was signed by attorneys general from every state except for Texas, Arizona and Alabama. It was also signed by attorneys general from Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Washington, D.C.

"As a nation, we have a moral obligation to assist those who have put their lives on the line to defend us," they wrote. 

The Hill has reached out to Education Department for comment. 

"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," Education Department spokesperson Liz Hill told Politico on Friday.  

"A student loan discharge could preclude the veteran from taking out additional federal student loans in the future for continuing education," she added.