Discharging the Federal Student Loan Debt of Totally and Permanently Disabled Veterans

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 165 (Monday, August 26, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 165 (Monday, August 26, 2019)]
[Presidential Documents]
[Pages 44677-44678]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-18520]
[[Page 44675]]
Vol. 84
Monday,
No. 165
August 26, 2019
Part II
The President
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Memorandum of August 21, 2019--Discharging the Federal Student Loan
Debt of Totally and Permanently Disabled Veterans
                        Presidential Documents
Federal Register / Vol. 84 , No. 165 / Monday, August 26, 2019 /
Presidential Documents
___________________________________________________________________
Title 3--
The President
[[Page 44677]]
                Memorandum of August 21, 2019

Discharging the Federal Student Loan Debt of
                Totally and Permanently Disabled Veterans
                Memorandum for the Secretary of Education [and] the
                Secretary of Veterans Affairs
                Since our Founding, the United States has been blessed
                with men and women willing to serve in defense of our
                Nation and our ideals. Many of those answering the call
                to serve make the ultimate sacrifice for their country,
                and many others carry physical and emotional scars for
                the rest of their lives.
                The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by the
                Higher Education Opportunity Act in 2008 and other acts
                (Higher Education Act), honors veterans who are totally
                and permanently disabled as a result of their service
                to the Nation by providing for the discharge of their
                Federal student loan debt. Borrowers who have been
                determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to be
                unemployable due to a service-connected condition and
                who provide documentation of that determination to the
                Secretary of Education are entitled to the discharge of
                such debt.
                For the last decade, veterans seeking loan discharges
                have been required to submit an application to the
                Secretary of Education with proof of their disabilities
                obtained from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The
                process has been overly complicated and difficult, and
                prevented too many of our veterans from receiving the
                relief for which they are eligible. This has inflicted
                significant hardship and serious harm on these veterans
                and has frustrated the intent of the Congress that
                their Federal student loan debt be discharged.
                Only half of the approximately 50,000 totally and
                permanently disabled veterans who currently qualify for
                the discharge of their Federal student loan debt have
                availed themselves of the benefits provided to them by
                the Higher Education Act. This has created a serious
                and critical problem for disabled veterans, who must
                deal with the day-to-day consequences of their service-
                connected injuries, and for our military, as readiness
                and recruitment suffer when we do not take care of our
                veterans. There is a pressing need to quickly and
                effectively resolve this problem. Therefore, my
                Administration will take prompt action to ensure that
                all totally and permanently disabled veterans are able
                to obtain, with minimal burden, the Federal student
                loan debt discharges to which they are legally
                entitled.
                Accordingly, by the authority vested in me as President
                by the Constitution and the laws of the United States
                of America, and to express the gratitude of our Nation
                for the service of our totally and permanently disabled
                veterans, I hereby direct the following:
                Section 1. Policy. It shall be the policy of the
                Federal Government to facilitate--in a manner that is
                quick, efficient, and minimally burdensome--the
                discharge of Federal student loan debt for totally and
                permanently disabled veterans.
                Sec. 2. Directive to the Secretaries of Education and
                Veterans Affairs. (a) The Secretary of Education is
                hereby directed to develop as soon as practicable a
                process, consistent with applicable law, to facilitate
                the swift and effective discharge of the Federal
                student loan debt of totally and permanently
[[Page 44678]]
                disabled veterans pursuant to section 437 of the Higher
                Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1087; section 455 of the
                Higher Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1087e; and section 464
                of the Higher Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1087dd. To the
                maximum extent feasible and consistent with applicable
                law, the process developed by the Secretary of
                Education should account for and make use of disability
                determinations made available to the Secretary of
                Education by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
                    (b) The Secretaries of Education and Veterans
                Affairs (Secretaries) shall take appropriate action to
                implement the policy set forth in section 1 of this
                memorandum as expeditiously as possible. To that end,
                the Secretaries shall consider all pathways for the
                Department of Veterans Affairs to share disability
                determinations with the Department of Education, so
                that veterans may be relieved of the burdensome
                administrative impediments to Federal student loan debt
                discharge.
                Sec. 3. Definitions. As used in this memorandum:
                    (a) the term ``Federal student loan debt'' means
                liability to repay Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL)
                Program loans, William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan
                (Direct Loan) Program loans, and Federal Perkins Loans.
                    (b) the term ``discharge'' means discharge of FFEL
                Program loans and Direct Loan Program loans and
                cancellation of Federal Perkins Loans.
                Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this
                memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise
                affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or
the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget
relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
                    (b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent
                with applicable law and subject to the availability of
                appropriations.
                    (c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does
                not, create any right or benefit, substantive or
                procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any
                party against the United States, its departments,
                agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or
                agents, or any other person.
                    (d) The Secretary of Education is hereby authorized
                and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal
                Register.


                    (Presidential Sig.)
                THE WHITE HOUSE,
                    Washington, August 21, 2019
[FR Doc. 2019-18520
Filed 8-23-19; 11:15 am]
Billing code 4000-01-P