Aug. 21 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to eliminate student debt for thousands of disabled veterans.
The order directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to discharge the federal student loan debts of totally and permanently disabled veterans eligible for forgiveness under the Higher Education Act.
"The debt of these disabled veterans will be entirely erased. It will be gone," Trump said during a speech at the 75th annual American Veterans convention in Louisville, Ky., before signing the order. "Sleep well tonight."
Trump noted the order would eliminate an average of $30,000 for each of the more than 25,000 veterans eligible for forgiveness.
In 2018, a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the non-profit Veterans Education Success showed that more than 25,000 of the 42,000 disabled veterans eligible for student loan forgiveness were in default of $168 million in outstanding loans and about one-fifth of those eligible had applied for forgiveness by May of last year.
Trump's memo to the Department of Education cited this discrepancy as a "serious and critical problem" for disabled veterans.
"There is a pressing need to quickly and effectively resolve this problem," the memo stated. "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."