Some of you may have read some dire warnings about filling out FAFSA and having to go off to war.
This is not accurate. In a nutshell, here are the general rules and process:
The draft does not prioritize individuals who have applied for financial aid. In other words all eligible males need to register, even if they did not apply for financial aid and even if they are not planning to go to college. (More on eligibility below). Thus, the FAFSA part is irrelevant.
Should a draft go into effect (more on that below), the process relies on a random lottery number and a person’s year of birth.
The current confusion is a result of that section in the FAFSA that says if you are an eligible male you must sign up for the selective service in order to get federal aid. This is a long-standing rule and doesn’t mean you’re being shipped out.
Currently there is no draft. It can only go into effect if both Congress and the President sign legislation to authorize it. There would be an awfully big fight I can guarantee that and at this point it is highly unlikely.
However, here are the rules for the draft should it be authorized:
- Anyone assigned the sex of male at birth who is between 18 to 25 is required to register for the draft. Eligible males are required to register within 30 days of turning 18, and immigrants must register within 30 days of entering the U.S.
- If someone who is eligible for the draft has not registered, they’re basically unable to get federal aid for college.
- Exemptions include:
- Males currently in the armed services and on active duty (not including members of the Reserve and National Guard not on active duty)
- Males under the age of 18 at the time they complete FAFSA
- Non-citizens who came to the U.S. after turning 26 years of age
- Transgender males
- If you are an eligible male and do not register it is a felony and you may (1) be fined up to $250,000, (2) get a prison sentence of up to five years, or (3) receive a combination of the two.
According to the current set-up, the first group to be entered into a draft lottery would be men who are within the calendar year of their 20th birthday, followed by age 21, followed by 22, 23, 24 and 25 in that order. Males who are 18 and 19 would likely not get entered into the lottery. If your number is drawn, expect a physical, mental and moral evaluation, and it is at this point that a request for a postponement or exemption can be made.
In other words, don’t worry.