Opinion: DeVos should automatically forgive disabled veterans’ debt

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Opinion: DeVos should automatically forgive disabled veterans’ debt

When our veterans return home from war with a disability, the least we do can is absolve their student loan debt.

When our veterans return home from war with a disability, the least we do can is absolve their student loan debt.

U.S. Army official website

When our veterans return home from war with a disability, the least we do can is absolve their student loan debt.

U.S. Army official website

U.S. Army official website

When our veterans return home from war with a disability, the least we do can is absolve their student loan debt.

Ofelia Yeghiyan, Guest Writer

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Veterans have suffered unimaginable atrocities in the name of serving our country. The least Betsy DeVos can do is forgive their student loans.

It’s apparent that this is a largely agreed-upon issue. Although most political issues are divided by partisanship, in this case, a whopping 51 attorney generals (this is a bipartisan pool) have petitioned for DeVos to forgive disabled veterans’ debt.

This petitioning took form in a letter. Their letter to DeVos reads, “We write, as the Attorneys General of our jurisdictions, to urge the Department of Education to take prompt action to satisfy its statutory mandate to discharge the student loans of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled or otherwise unemployable. As a nation, we have a moral obligation to assist those who have put their lives on the line to defend us.”

The issue isn’t inherently with forgiveness, as much as opportunity and information. CNN reports that the letter delivers this blow, “The letter, which was also signed by attorneys general from three US territories and the District of Columbia, says just 9,000 of 42,000 eligible veterans applied for student loan forgiveness as of April 2018.”

While forgiveness is available, not many veterans seek it, whether this is due to lack of information, disillusionment, or another factor. The letter pushes for mandatory/automatic loan discharges of this marginalized group.

However, the Department of Education argued that discharges may cause more difficulties, as they stated to Reuters, “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… discharges might boost their tax bills or make it harder to borrow for education later.”

The issues the department stated sound like they need reform from within the system. The consequences mentioned above shouldn’t be inflicted on veterans in the first place. They shouldn’t be suffering the fallback from flaws within the system that they’re not responsible for.

Not only do these veterans deserve forgiveness for their service to our country, but the fact that they are disabled should make loan forgiveness an unquestioning decision. After suffering as much as they have, they deserve at least this from our country.

Disabilities also completely inhibit their ability to work and exponentially increase the difficulty of earning enough money to hope to cover these loans. In addition, the costs associated with having a disability are another concern. It’s cruel and unjust to shove heaping amounts of loans upon these people as well.

As a resolution, we need to repair the system to avoid inflicting unnecessary and harmful consequences on veterans and make veterans aware of loan forgiveness for their condition. It would be fair to inform all qualifying veterans of their options, while allowing them to understand the potential consequences, and thus allowing them to make an informed decision. Statistics like 9,000 out of 48,000 veterans seeking forgiveness are ridiculous and need to be direly avoided in the future.

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