Veterans & Service Members

AACRAO recognizes and honors the sacrifices these men and women have made and its members are proud to assist them and meet their educational needs. Veterans and students on active military duty and their families face special circumstances and challenges.

Changes in federal statute and executive actions have greatly promoted the expansion of services toward veterans and their families. Since the Post-9/11 GI Bill was passed in 2009, close to 1 million veterans, service members, and eligible dependents have taken advantage of the educational benefits available to them. With the passage of more recent legislation, such as the Forever GI Bill in 2017 and the Isakson Roe and THRIVE Acts in 2021, there will be significant changes to military education benefits over the coming years.


Latest Actions

AACRAO recently hosted a webinar to discuss the implementation of veteran legislation passed in December 2020, also known as the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act. This law will have a transformative effect on the mission of Education Service to provide ready access to, and timely and accurate delivery of, education benefits to Veterans, Service members, and their families, as well as further enable the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to empower GI Bill beneficiaries to achieve their vocational and career goals.

Other recent legislation introduced in both the House and Senate include important provisions to help ensure veterans can continue to receive their education benefits as well as technical corrections to the legislation passed last year.


Trump Administration Eases Loan Forgiveness for Disabled Veterans

Aug 22, 2019, 10:25 AM
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Summary : White House directs Education Dept. to more expeditiously forgive the student loan debt of veterans with severe disabilities, a move Secretary Betsy DeVos had resisted for months.
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President Donald Trump announced plans on Wednesday to more expeditiously forgive the student loan debt of veterans with severe disabilities. The move comes after U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for months resisted bipartisan calls to automatically cancel the loans, Politico reported.

Veterans and other student loan borrowers who are "totally and permanently" disabled are entitled under existing law to have their federal student loans canceled by the Education Department. However, the agency currently requires these individuals to fill out paperwork to become eligible for loan forgiveness—a bureaucratic obstacle that veterans' advocates slammed as too burdensome for many severely disabled veterans.

DeVos last year took steps to more easily identify which veterans were eligible for the benefit and send them letters. Yet the department still required eligible veterans to fill out paperwork before actually canceling the loans, despite bipartisan calls to change the process, Inside Higher Ed reported.

Under the "expedited" process outlined in a White House memorandum Wednesday, veterans will now receive loan forgiveness automatically unless they decide to opt out—a decision some might make because of issues like state tax liability. Congress last year eliminated federal tax liability for veteran loan forgiveness.

The new plan was applauded by veterans' groups and advocates for student borrowers. Some, however, said it showed the federal government could be doing more to automate loan forgiveness for other borrowers, according to Inside Higher Ed. 

Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, said the group would push the Trump administration to streamline other loan forgiveness programs as well.

"While we commend the administration, we will continue to call on it to take action to address the similarly egregious loan cancellation problems in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and TEACH Grant programs," he said.

Related Links

White House Memorandum


Inside Higher Ed

Michelle Mott
Categories :
  • Advocacy
  • Financial Aid and FAFSA
  • Grants and Scholarships
  • Veterans and Service Members
Tags :
  • Debt
  • education department
  • federal student loans
  • forgiveness
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness program
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