August 21, 2019

Chairman Takano Statement on President Trump Action Eliminating Student Loan Debt for Disabled Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Cali.) issued the following statement after President Trump announced a memorandum discharging the student debt of totally and permanently disabled veterans.  

“Disabled veterans have given more than their fair share in service to our country-- they should be recognized for their sacrifice. While today’s announcement is laudable, it is frustrating that the Administration and Secretary DeVos have dragged their feet instead of working to streamline this Obama-era program. 

“It is disingenuous for this administration to claim a victory for student veterans today, while it has systematically rolled back protections and allowed for-profit institutions to prey on student veterans. Together President Trump and Secretary DeVos have failed to address fraudulent and deceptive practices used by for profit schools that exploit loopholes and abruptly shutter their doors leaving veterans with mountains of debt and worthless diplomas.

“Just as it did earlier this year, this Committee will continue to call on the Department of Education to expeditiously implement programs to alleviate the burden of student loan debt for disabled veterans. We will also continue working closely with the Committee on Education and Labor to advance legislation like Rep. Conor Lamb’s FREED Vets Act and ensure we can properly recognize the sacrifices made by our veterans. Our veterans expect us to follow through on our actions-- this has to be more than just another announcement.”

Background: At a joint field hearing in April, the Committee pressed the Department of Education to enact this very program. Despite this push and Rep. Conor Lamb’s FREED Vets Act, which would essentially make this loan forgiveness automatic, little progress has been made to eliminate this burdensome step until today because of delays by the Department of Education and Secretary DeVos. Chairman Takano, a former teacher himself and member of the Committee on Education and Labor, has  introduced landmark legislation to eliminate the 90/10 loophole and finally protect student veterans from these predatory for-profit schools. 

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