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Preferred Name Policy

Preferred Name Policy

Effective October 1, 2019

Montclair State University recognizes that some individuals have a strong preference to use and be known by a name other than their Legal Name for reasons related to their gender identity, cultural background, or for other social or personal reasons. It is the University’s policy to permit students and employees to designate, use, and be known within the University community by a Preferred Name, to the extent that doing so is consistent with law, assures the integrity of the University’s official records, and is reasonably feasible to accommodate within the University’s record-management systems. View the full Preferred Name Policy.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Preferred Name Policy

Use of Preferred Name

Preferred Name Definitions

  • Legal Name – The name that is recognized by state and/or federal law as an individual’s legal identification.
  • Preferred 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.

Use and display of a Preferred Name will be subject to the University’s record-management capabilities, the requirements of law, and assurance of the integrity of the University’s official records.  Within these constraints, the Preferred Name will normally be used, for example, for:

  • 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
Verifying a Preferred Name

Many students have already designated a preferred name in their initial college application or through the Dean of Students Office.

To verify your preferred name:

  • Log into NEST.
  • In the top right corner next to the Sign Out button, you will see your preferred name.

If you need to adjust, apply for or remove a preferred name designation, please use the Preferred/Used Name Designation/Removal Application.

Please Note: This form should not be used for informal nicknames.

Faculty: Check out this great resource on how to make spaces more inclusive for trans and gender non-conforming students.

Use and Change of Legal Name

Even when an individual has been approved to use a Preferred Name within the University, the University will use an individual’s Legal Name when doing so is consistent with law, required to assure the integrity of the University’s official records, or necessitated by the limitations of the University’s record-management systems.  For example, the Legal Name will normally be used for:

  • 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

Policy Contact:

Update Legal Name Change at Montclair State
  • Complete the Change of Name and/or Social Security Number form:
  • After you fill out the form, you must save it to your computer and then send it as a PDF to via MSU File Hawk.
    • The Registrar’s office will not accept emailed versions of these forms.
    • Important: When asked for “File Recipient(s) NetID:”, please enter: RegistrarformsDo Not Enter Your Own NetID.
  • Submit the form to the registrar with the required legal documents and the original court order document.
    • Acceptable Legal Documents:
      • Marriage Certificate
      • Divorce Decree which specifically states that a name other than married name may be used.
      • Court order which legalizes the name change.
      • Naturalization document which specifies a name change.
      • Birth Certificate
      • Passport
      • Original Social Security Cards are only acceptable for adding or changing your SSN.
  • The Registrar will update university records.

For university records information, contact the Registrar:

New Jersey Legal Name Change Information

National Center for Transgender Equality

New Jersey Courts

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Name Change

New Jersey Department of Health | Vital Records