FAFSA® and Selective Service

Male students between the ages of 18-25 are required to register for Selective Service to receive federal financial aid for college.

Male students 26 years of age or older may also be ineligible to receive federal financial aid for college if they did not register for Selective Service prior to turning 26.

How Selective Service Registration Impacts Financial Aid Opportunities

Your Selective Service registration status can have a substantial impact on your ability to get financial aid, as you won’t be eligible to apply for or receive federal student aid if you fail to register.

In some cases, you may also find that you can’t apply for or receive private student loans or even enroll in a degree program without registering with Selective Service.

If you’re required to register with Selective Service but you haven’t yet, you won’t even be able to complete the FAFSA® form. If you meet certain age and gender requirements, you can register quickly and easily simply by checking the appropriate box on the FAFSA® form. Then you can proceed with completing the form and getting the student financial aid you need.

Who Has to Register With Selective Service

Most men aged 18 to 25 who are United States citizens or immigrants are required to register with Selective Service. While most male citizens register on or around their 18th birthdays, male permanent residents and naturalized citizens should do so within 30 days of their arrival date.

If you meet the age and gender requirements yet you have dual citizenship, you still have to register if you’re a U.S. national.

Who Is Exempt From Selective Service Registration

Not everyone has to register with Selective Service before enrolling in a college program or requesting federal financial aid. Men over age 26 don’t have to register with Selective Service before applying for federal financial aid, and neither do residents who moved to the U.S. after turning 26. Members of the military who are on full-time active duty don’t have to register either.

Women and transgender men are also exempt from the registration requirement. However, transgender women who were born male do have to register with Selective Service.

When to Request a Status Information Letter

If your situation isn’t clear, you may need clarification. You may also need to prove your registration requirements to your school so that you aren’t penalized or prevented from applying for financial aid.

If you’re over 26 and have never registered with Selective Service, request a status information letter to confirm your exemption. If you find that you were required to register but didn’t do so before turning 26, you may need to provide additional evidence that you didn’t knowingly or willingly neglect to do so.

Talk with your school’s financial aid office if you have personal questions about registration exemptions, status information letters, or providing evidence of your status.

Don’t let Selective Service registration hold you back from completing the FAFSA® form. Confirm whether you need to register or request a status information letter, and then take the essential steps to get the financial aid you need.

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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