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Federal law requires that most male U.S. citizens (regardless of where they live) and male immigrants residing in the United States (permanent resident aliens), age 18-25, register with the Selective Service. Generally, any man who is required to register with Selective Service must do so to receive federal student aid.
Some states require Selective Service registration to enroll in a state college or university or to qualify for state financial aid. Some colleges and universities require Selective Service registration for the student to receive institutional financial aid funds.
Exceptions to the Selective Service registration requirement include:
Conscientious objectors are required to register with Selective Service. If a draft is instituted, they will be able to file a claim for exemption based on religious or moral objections at that time.
Transgender students must comply with the Selective Service registration requirement based on the student’s gender at birth as listed on the student’s birth certificate. Thus, a student who was born male but underwent sex reassignment surgery to become female must register with Selective Service. Students who were born female but underwent sex reassignment surgery to become male are not required to register with Selective Service. (However, given the possibility of a data match conflict for students who are currently male, it may be advisable to register with Selective Service to avoid bureaucratic problems.)
Male students who have not yet registered with Selective Service may ask the U.S. Department of Education to register the student with Selective Service by checking the “Register me” box on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Only male students who are age 18 or older and who have not yet have turned age 26 as of the date the FAFSA is filed may register with Selective Service using the FAFSA. FAFSA on the Web will ask the student whether he wishes to register with Selective Service. (Female applicants will not be asked whether they want to be registered with Selective Service.)
Students who are male but age 17 or younger as of the date the FAFSA is submitted should leave the question blank. The student must register with Selective Service within 30 days of his 18th birthday. He can do this at the Selective Service web site, www.sss.gov, or fill out a Selective Service postcard at any U.S. post office.
If a student is unsure whether he has registered, he may check his registration status at www.sss.gov or call 1-888-655-1825 or 1-847-688-6888.
Male students who are over age 26 but never registered with Selective Service may be ineligible for federal student aid and, possibly, also some state aid. They should first obtain a status information letter from Selective Service to determine whether or not they were required to register. If they were required to register but did not, they will need to provide the college financial aid administrator (not Selective Service) with a preponderance of evidence that the failure to register was not knowing and willful. A preponderance of evidence means more evidence in favor than against. Examples include:
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