E.D. Will Revise Rule Linking College Aid to Draft Sign-Up
Washington--The Education Department annnounced last week that it would delay for two years the part of a new regulation that requires colleges to verify that applicants for federal student aid have registered for the draft.
Undersecretary of Education Gary L. Jones unveiled the Reagan Administration's change in policy at a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education. A number of colleges have complained that the new regulations, scheduled to go into effect on July 1, are burdensome and will place them in a "policing" role unsuited to educational institutions.
In an interview last week, Mr. Jones said all students--male and female--requesting federal aid would still be obligated to sign an Education Department form assuring that they have complied with the draft-registration law. Men must assure that they have registered for the draft; women must indicate that they are not required by law to do so.
As originally proposed, the rule also would have required all students who signed up for the draft to prove that they did so by supplying their schools with a copy of a verification letter sent to them by the Selective Service System. Colleges were to have cross-checked the copies of the verification letters against the students' assurance-of-compliance forms before they released federal loans or grants to the students.
Under the proposed changes, Mr. Jones said that from July 1, when the regulation is scheduled to go into effect, through Jan. 1, 1985, students applying for aid will not have to supply their schools with the verification letter from the draft agency. "All they will have to do is check a box on a form stating that they've registered, if the law requires them to do so," he said.
During this period, the government would verify students' compliance with the regulation by conducting spot audits of their student-aid application forms, he said. After Jan. 1, 1985, he added, students would be required to begin supplying their schools with copies of the Selective Service verification letter and colleges would be drawn into the compliance process under the proposed rules change.
The department's rules were issued earlier this year to implement a law passed last year that linked registration for the draft with student aid.
Earlier this month, a federal district judge in Minnesota issued a preliminary injunction barring the government from enforcing the law. The Justice Department recently indicated that it would challenge the judge's ruling. (See related story, page 2.)--tm