For trans students applying to colleges, very confusing questions can arise surrounding financial aid. Under federal law, males must register within 30 days of turning 18, and registration is considered a prerequisite for seeking financial aid. How does this requirement apply to a trans student?

For this purpose, a person is deemed "male" if their birth certificate listed them as male at birth, regardless of subsequent changes. So, if the trans student identifies as (and is now legally considered) a female, she might fill out her college application and financial aid forms listing herself as female, but would still be required to register for Selective Service, because she was assigned male at birth.

In contrast, if the trans student identifies (and is now legally considered) male, he would fill out his college application and financial aid forms as male. Having been assigned female at birth, he is not legally required to register, but because he is listing himself as male, everyone will still expect that he has registered and his aid application will likely be held up if he cannot show that he has. Trans male students in this situation are encouraged to contact Selective Service to secure a letter confirming they are exempt from registration.