RICHMOND, Va. — President Donald Trump on Thursday issued a presidential directive to have the Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs forgive student loan debt for disabled veterans.

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Virginia's Attorney General Mark Herring and others requested the automatic student loan forgiveness for totally and permanently disabled veterans.

It is estimated that fewer than 9,000 of the more than 42,000 eligible veterans had their loans forgiven under the old process. 

Herring said they requested the relief because veterans deserve it.

"These veterans and their families should be able to focus on healing and caring for themselves, not jumping through bureaucratic red tape," Herring said. "Wiping away their student loans is the least we can do for this special group of veterans who have given us so much. I’m really glad to see this step forward, and we’ll be monitoring the implementation process to ensure the administration delivers on this promise.”

The Trump administration blames a "burdensome" application process for the lack of veterans with loan forgiveness.

The directive directs the government to develop an expedited process so veterans can have the debt discharged "with minimal burdens."

The action will wipe out an average of $30,000 in debt owed by more than 25,000 eligible veterans, Trump said, calling them "incredible people" who have made "the ultimate sacrifice, in many ways, for our nation."

In May, Attorney General Herring and a bipartisan coalition of 52 attorneys general urged the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to automatically forgive the student loans of veterans who became totally and permanently disabled in connection with their military service and to immediately halt debt collection on disabled student veterans.

The automatic forgiveness supported by the attorneys general also has the support of veterans groups including Vietnam Veterans for America, Veterans Education Success, The Retired Enlisted Association, High Ground Advocacy, and Ivy League Veterans Council.

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