WEST PALM BEACH, Fla— With hashtags like #WorldWarIII and #DearIran trending on Twitter in recent days, many people have raised concerns about a potential draft. Some college students posted information about FAFSA and the fine print about the Selective Service System that caused the federal program’s website to crash.
“FAFSA is the free application for federal student aid,” said FAFSA expert Ed Walker.
It’s a form that school counselors encourage students to fill out to see if they qualify to help pay for secondary education. According to National Education Statistics around 83% of American college students receive federal student aid through FAFSA.
“First and foremost by filling out your FAFSA it doesn’t mean you’re automatically signed up for the draft,” said Walker.
However, there is a question on the form that asks about your enrollment status in the Selective Service.
“It’s just a yes or no question that asks you if you’ve done Selective Service or not even before we were doing it online back in my day early 2000s we did it on paper and you just had to check that box yes or no,” said Walker.
The Selective Service system creates the pool from which the government would pull potential soldiers if a draft was active, which it isn’t. Yet, whether you receive finical aid or not, if you’re an assigned male at birth you’re required to sign up for the Selective Service within 30 days of turning 18.
Over the weekend, after word spread that the United States had killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani during an airstrike in Iraq, students started posting on social media about a potential draft. It caused a lot of concern even among parents.
“I have two sons that are draft age,” said Brenda Brinkley.
Shortly after it spread on Twitter, the Selective Service website crashed. The agency then tweeted about the spread of misinformation and to not worry, that it was business as usual and that a draft would require Congress and President Trump to pass official legislation in order authorize.
Due to the spread of misinformation, our website is experiencing high traffic volumes at this time. If you are attempting to register or verify registration, please check back later today as we are working to resolve this issue. We appreciate your patience.— Selective Service (@SSS_gov) January 3, 2020
Regardless if you fill of a FAFSA or not, if assigned male at birth and you do not sign up for selective service, you’re ineligible for federal jobs, and could face 5 years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine.
If you have any questions about FAFSA, you should talk to your school counselor or visit the Selective Service System website.