Ed Department Urged to Help Erase Debt of Borrowers With Disabilities

Two letters sent to the U.S. Department of Education Tuesday urge Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to help erase the student debt owed by borrowers with disabilities, reported NPR.

Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVos

While these borrowers qualify to have their federal student loans erased, the process to do so is cumbersome, said one letter that was signed by more than 30 advocacy groups.

Likewise, the second letter, signed by student loan advocates of seven states and the District of Columbia, urged the department to erase all unnecessary administrative hurdles and to discharge the loans of all eligible borrowers with permanent disabilities.

The letters were sent to DeVos following an NPR investigation in December, which found that only 28% of eligible borrowers with disabilities “have either had their loans erased or are on track for that to happen.”

In response, the department signaled to NPR that it may be open to the suggested changes.

“The Department’s current implementing regulations require it to receive an application before completing a civilian [total and permanent disability] discharge, but we are interested in providing automatic discharge to these borrowers and believe the FUTURE Act makes this a possibility — but will require the department to undergo negotiated rulemaking,” said Education Department press secretary Angela Morabito.