WASHINGTON — The Department of Education will give the Selective Service System computer tapes with the names of 5 million student aid applicants in a move aimed at uncovering young men who have failed to register as potential draftees, officials said today.
Education Secretary William J. Bennett and Maj. Gen. Thomas K. Turnage, director of Selective Service, announced the agreement at a news conference.
It is the latest step in government efforts to carry out a 1982 law called the Solomon Amendment, which bars student aid from males who fail to register with the Selective Service System.
The draft was abolished in 1973, but after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the Carter Administration and Congress in 1980 began requiring young men to register at age 18. While their names are kept in a central file, they cannot be conscripted unless Congress passes new legislation reinstating the draft.
The Education Department will share the computer tapes from its Pell Grant program each year with Selective Service. More than 2 million students receive Pell Grants each year and 5 million apply for them through the College Scholarship Service and the American College Testing program.
The Solomon Amendment requires male students to register or be denied federal grants and loans. Students must sign a statement that they have complied with the registration law.
Bennett said the new arrangement "will not only protect the federal taxpayer, but also fulfill our obligation to those millions of fine young men who have registered to serve their country if ever needed."