The Education Department has dropped its controversial rule that would have required colleges to verify that male students receiving federal financial aid have registered for the draft.
The rule was set to go into effect this fall.
Students will still be required to certify that they have registered for the draft, but the schools no longer will have to play the strong enforcement role that was once envisioned for them.
A department spokesman said yesterday that the rate of compliance among young men is so high that it isn't necessary to have college aid administrators police the requirement.
"It's been going about 98 percent perfect, so there's no need to verify," said spokesman Duncan Helmrich.
"There's just no reason to hold the schools up" on awarding aid, he said. "Things are going so well that we're not going to bother to have the schools seek proof."
In 1982, Congress passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Gerald B. Solomon (R-N.Y.) requiring student aid recipients to sign forms certifying that they had registered for the draft.
Some students and civil liberties groups challenged the Solomon amendment, but the Supreme Court upheld the law, 6 to 2, on July 5, 1984. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger said it was "plainly a rational means to improve compliance with the registration requirement."
Although the military is not now conscripting anyone, draft registration was reinstituted in 1980. All male citizens and resident aliens born after Jan. 1, 1963, must register within 30 days of their 18th birthday.
After the Solomon amendment took effect in October 1983, more than 300,000 students who had previously failed to do so signed up.