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May 22, 2001, 10:30 a.m., EDT



Selective Service Reports First Increase in Registration
Following Years of Steady Decline

Agency Seeks to Overcome Challenge of Reaching Underrepresented Populations


Washington, D.C. (May 22, 2001) - The Selective Service System today announced its second annual report to the nation showing an overall 4-percent increase in state-by-state registration compliance rates for men born in 1981 who registered through calendar year 2000. This report followed several years of declining rates.

The Selective Service Progress Report showed that 87 percent of men turning 20 in calendar year 2000 who registered with Selective Service is up from last year's 83 percent of men born in 1980 who were registered in 1999. Numbers were up in almost every state, with some achieving an increase of as much as 8 percent.

"We are extremely excited because the registration compliance rate increase indicates that more young men are ensuring their futures by complying with the law and staying eligible for important benefits on the federal, state and local levels," said Selective Service Director of Public Affairs Lew Brodsky. "But we still have much work to do," he said. "Compliance is still too low in our inner cities and our southern border states, meaning that young men there risk losing out on a college education, good jobs, job training, and for immigrants, their chance to become U.S. citizens."

Federal law requires that virtually all young men living in the U.S. register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. The American people, through their local, state and federal elected representatives, have made Selective Service registration a requirement for securing a number of opportunities, including federal student loans, job training, government jobs, and U.S. citizenship for male immigrants. Twenty-nine states and 71 municipalities have similar laws tying education, training or employment opportunities for young men to Selective Service registration. Additionally, some states are making registration a requirement for men seeking driver's licenses. Failure to register is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

"Our research shows that the biggest barrier to young men's compliance is simple lack of awareness," Brodsky said. "It is tragic to see young men potentially missing out on future opportunities because they just don't know that they are required to register. But even more tragic is that our experience shows the young men most likely to miss the message are the very men who may stand the most to gain from these opportunities."

Brodsky cautioned that more needs to be done to reach out to all young men. "We are challenged. More than 5,000 new young men turn 18 every day. We need extra assistance in reaching those men who are failing to register. I think this can be accomplished best through the assistance of the community-based partner organizations we have gathered here today."

Community-based partners offering their assistance to Selective Service include: Greater Washington Urban League, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Congress of American Indians, National Council of La Raza and Organization of Chinese Americans (representing Pan-Asian cultures).

"While we are encouraged by the increase in registration compliance, we realize that we have more work to do in informing young men of their requirement to register with Selective Service, and helping them fulfill their potential," Brodsky said. "We will be greatly assisted in our efforts by these partners who share the same dedication to empowering and inspiring our nation's youth."

"The partners that have gathered here today represent the beginning of what we intend to be a growing outreach effort over the next several years," Brodsky said. "With the support of these individuals and organizations, with our plans to increase our outreach into other communities, and with continuing efforts on the state, local, and national levels, we will ensure that all young men are aware of their responsibilities and benefit from all of the opportunities due them."

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Video News Release via Satellite Feed:
A video news release will be available via satellite on May 22, 2001, from 2:30 to 3:00 p.m., EDT, on C-Band, Telstar 5, Transponder 23, Downlink: 4160 MHz(V), Audio is 6.2 and 6.8.

Questions: Contact Keira Rodriguez, (212) 736-2727, ext. 214.


News Graphic and Photos:
A camera-ready news graphic (B&W and color) can be downloaded on May 22, 2001, after 10:30 a.m., EDT, at

National news event photos can be downloaded on May 22, 2001, after 2:00 p.m., EDT, at



The maximum penalty for failing to register with Selective Service is a $250,000 fine and up to five years in prison. Failure to register will cause ineligibility for a number of federal and state benefits including:

A man must be registered to be eligible for jobs in the Executive Branch of the Federal government and the U.S. Postal Service. This applies only to men born after December 31, 1959.

Men who are not registered with Selective Service cannot obtain Federal student loans or grants. This includes Pell Grants, College Work Study, Guaranteed Student/Plus Loans, and National Direct Student Loans.

The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) makes registration with Selective Service a condition for U.S. citizenship, if the man first arrived in the U.S. before his 26th birthday and was required to register.

The Workforce Investment Act (formerly JTPA) offers important job-training opportunities. This program is only open to those men who register with Selective Service.

Most states have added additional penalties for those who fail to register with Selective Service.

As of May 21, 2001, seven states enacted driver's license laws supporting Selective Service registration: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Alabama and Utah. These laws require registration with Selective Service in order to obtain a driver's license. The following states have bills passed: Colorado, Florida and Illinois. Others have draft bills: California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin.


Last Updated August 25, 2009
©2009 Selective Service System