A student walking by the School of Communication and Media and Life Hall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Preferred Names


What is a Preferred/Used Name?

  • A name different than an individual’s Legal Name that the individual selects and that the University approves for use within the University environment.
  • A Preferred/Used name is your displayed name in University systems.
  • This is not an appropriate venue for nicknames.

Where will my Preferred/Used Name be displayed?

  • University ID card
  • Student and Employee directory information
  • Class lists and grade reports
  • Advising lists
  • Learning management systems
  • Building/service access systems
  • Meal plan/payment systems
  • Red Hawk Dollars
  • Housing rosters
  • Class rosters
  • Convocation and Commencement programs and announcements

Can I choose where my Preferred/Used Name is displayed?

  • If a Preferred/Used Name is requested and approved, it will be displayed in all of the places listed above.
  • You can request to have your Preferred/Used name to be displayed in Convocation and Commencement programs and announcements only. Your legal name would be displayed in all other campus systems. Requests pertaining to Commencement and Convocation must be made at least 60 days prior to Commencement.

Where won’t my Preferred/Used Name be displayed?

  • Admissions records
  • Transcripts
  • Diplomas
  • University enrollment verifications
  • Employment and personnel records
  • Paychecks and tax documents
  • Financial aid records
  • Medical records
  • Disciplinary records
  • Law enforcement records
  • Visa and immigration records
  • Graduation applications

Where can I see the full policy?

Where can I get more information or ask questions?


Where can I submit my request for my Preferred/Used Name to be displayed?

  • On your application for admission to the University
  • After admission to the University and paying the intent to enroll deposit, you can use this form.

Where can I submit my request to remove my Preferred/Used Name?

  • Request Form
  • Removing a Preferred/Used Name will result in your Legal Name being displayed in the University environment.

What happens after my request is submitted?

  • For new student applicants, once you are accepted and pay your intent to enroll deposit:
    • Your Preferred/Used Name will be entered into NEST and NetID.
  • For new students after accepting the offer of admission and continuing students:
    • After you submit your request on HawkSync, please allow up to two weeks for review and processing.
    • Once processed and approved, your Preferred/Used Name will be entered into NEST.
  • Please note that depending on when the request is submitted and processed, it may take up to a semester for your Preferred/Used Name to appear in all systems.
    • Requests made and processed after the start of a semester/term may not be reflected on course rosters.

How long after I submit my request will my Preferred/Used Name be displayed?

  • Please allow up to 10 business days for approved changes to be displayed. Note that changes made after the beginning of a semester may not be reflected on course rosters.
  • I want my preferred name displayed at Commencement and Convocations. Is there a deadline to submit that request?
    • All preferred names must be submitted 60 days prior to Commencement for inclusion in Commencement and Convocation programs and announcements. Requests made after this time cannot be accommodated. Note that legal names will appear on diplomas and transcripts, and Preferred/Used Names, if requested and approved, will appear on programs and be announced (if applicable).

What if I need to change my legal name?

Would my name be rejected for any reason?

  • Please affirm that you understand that abuse of the University’s Preferred Name policy is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Examples of abuse include submitting “joke” names, profane/obscene names, names that knowingly belong to someone else (i.e. a celebrity or famous fictional characters), or frequent requests.

Who processes Preferred/Used Name requests?

  • Requests are processed through the Office of the Dean of Students, the Vice President for Student Development for campus life, and their designees.

What about the yearbook?

  • Students complete a form when their photo for the yearbook is taken and should indicate their Preferred/Used Name on that form.

Where can I submit my request for my Preferred/Used Name to be displayed?

  • Preferred/Used Names processes for Faculty and Staff will be managed by Human Resources. The policy takes effect October 1, 2019.
  • I know a student who has a Preferred/Used Name, what does this mean for me?
    • You should use the student’s Preferred/Used Name at all times and address them as they request to be addressed. In most cases, you will not be aware of any difference. As noted in the full policy, members of the University community are expected to respect an individual’s use of a Preferred Name in accordance with this policy.  Concerns about violations of this policy may be addressed by students to the Office of the Dean of Students and by employees to the Division of Human Resources.

What if I am also a student?

  • Please contact the Office of the Registrar to change your legal name.To change your legal name, please provide an official court order/marriage license with name change form to Red Hawk Central for processing. If you are not able to come to Red Hawk Central, please have your name change document notarized prior to fax.
  • You will need to complete both the student process and the process through Human Resources.