Are Male Students Required to Register with Selective Service?

When you’re filing your FAFSA®, you’ll come across a section that asks if you’d like to register for Selective Service. The Selective Service System wants you to know that the requirement to register for the draft did not go away with the end of the Vietnam War.

Under the law, virtually all male U.S. citizens, and male aliens living in the U.S., who are ages 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service. You’re bound to hesitate — what exactly does that mean? Are you required to? What does it mean for your financial aid eligibility if you say no?

Male Students & The Selective Service

Male students who fail to register with Selective Service before turning age 26 are ineligible for Federal student loan and grant programs, including Pell Grants, Federal Work Study, and Stafford Loans. Several states have also made Selective Service registration a prerequisite for state financial aid and for matriculation at public colleges and universities.

Unfortunately, men who fall into the following categories must register for the draft; it’s the law.

You Must Register with Selective Service If You Are…

A Male US Citizen

Male US citizens (regardless of where they live) and male permanent resident aliens living in the US who were born after December 31, 1959, are required to register with Selective Service on or after their 18th birthday. 

A Male Non-Citizen

Male non-citizens (including illegal aliens, legal permanent residents, seasonal agricultural workers, and refugees) who take up residency in the US before their 26th birthday are also required to register. 

Disabled Man

Disabled men who can move about independently in public with or without assistance must register with Selective Service, even if their disability would disqualify them from military service. 

Trans Women

Trans women (U.S. citizens or immigrants who are born male and have a gender change) are required to register. 

Conscientious Objectors

Conscientious objectors are required to register. If a draft is instituted, they will have an opportunity to file a claim for exemption based on their religious or moral objections, but they must nevertheless register with Selective Service.

Even if you disagree with the requirement, you should register. The likelihood of the draft being reinstated is small, and failure to register can have a serious negative impact on your financial aid. Not to mention your ability to obtain a driver’s license, pursue an education, or obtain employment.

UPDATE – March 28, 2021: Beginning with the 2021-22 academic year, failing to register for the Selective Service will no longer impact a student’s financial aid.

For male students, registering with Selective Service no longer affects eligibility to receive federal student aid. Students can still register through the FAFSA®. The FAFSA® also no longer asks for a student’s gender.    

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