Student Preferred Name

As a campus, UW-Parkside is committed to creating and maintaining a welcoming and inclusive environment for our students. As such, we recognize that students may choose to identify themselves within the university community with a preferred first name that differs from their legal name. A process has been established to allow students to identify a preferred first name either via the online application process prior to admission or through the submission of a Preferred Name Request Form. As long as the preferred name is not for the purpose of misrepresentation or fraud, it will appear instead of the student’s primary/legal name in select university systems and documents except where the use of primary/legal name is required by university business or legal need.

Preferred Name – first name, other than legal name, by which one wishes to be identified.

Primary/Legal Name – first name that appears on valid birth certificate, passport or legally recorded name.

Places Where Preferred Name Is Used

  • Class Rosters
  • Grade Rosters
  • Unofficial Transcripts
  • Learning Management System (D2L)
  • Degree Audit Reports (DARS)
  • Campus Directory / Display Name for Email & Network ID
  • Ranger Card - front side

Places Where Primary/Legal Name Is Used

  • Official Transcripts
  • Student Accounts
  • Financial Aid
  • Required State & Federal Data Submissions
  • Teacher Certification Records
  • Human Resources (Student Employment Documents)
  • Immigration and Visa Related Documentation
  • Responses to Enrollment Inquiries such as Verification Requests (unless you have chosen to request a FERPA Hold)
  • Ranger Card - back side

* Please note: Preferred Name is used solely for UW-Parkside’s internal systems; external systems (such as hometown newspaper submissions, official transcripts, enrollment verifications, etc.) will continue to use your primary/legal first name.

Requesting a Preferred Name

For incoming students, if you submitted a preferred name on your electronic admissions application after April 10, 2017, you do not need to submit a separate request form. Your preferred name should be active in the systems listed above.

If you wish to indicate a preferred name or if you wish to alter or remove an existing preferred name you should submit a Preferred Name Request Form.

The Dean of Students Office is responsible for reviewing and approving requests for preferred names. Any preferred name request that may be deemed by a reasonable person to be an attempt at misrepresentation or fraud, and/or interpreted as offensive will be denied.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to enter a preferred name?

No. The preferred name option is for students who wish to be known and addressed by a name other than their primary/legal name. If you regularly use your primary/legal name, there is no need to indicate a preferred name. Requests for preferred names that match your primary/legal name will not be processed.

Are there limits on what the preferred name can be?

Preferred names are limited to alphabetical characters, a space, an apostrophe ('), and/or a hyphen (-). Your preferred name will appear as it is entered on the Preferred Name Request Form.

Who approves preferred names?

The Dean of Students Office will review and approve all preferred name requests. Any preferred name request that may be deemed by a reasonable person to be an attempt at misrepresentation or fraud, and/or interpreted as offensive will be denied.

How long will it take for my preferred name to be approved and when will it start appearing in campus systems?

The Dean of Students Office will review preferred name requests weekly. Once approved, your preferred name should appear in campus systems within 3 business days.

How will my preferred name appear on my Ranger Card?

If you submitted a preferred name via your admissions application (after April 10, 2017), your preferred name will appear on the front of your Ranger Card and your primary/legal name will be printed on the back of the card at Orientation.

If you submit a Preferred Name Request Form and it is approved, you can visit the Concierge Desk to have a new ID card printed.

Will my preferred name be incorporated into my NetID/UserID?

No – your NetID/UserID (the part of your Ranger email address before the “@”) is based on your primary/legal name and cannot be changed.

The display name for your email will reflect your preferred name.

How many times can I change my preferred name?

The decision to submit a preferred name should be taken seriously. Changing your preferred name more than once can lead to confusion regarding your identity, challenges in customer service, and/or the interruption of your ability to access some university systems.

How does my preferred name affect my passport and/or visa status?

International students may choose to select a preferred name (sometimes referred to as your “nickname” or “English/American name”) for use within the university community. However, the preferred name that you choose must be identical to the preferred name listed on your I-20 or DS-2019 immigration document.

For domestic students who plan to study abroad, your legal name must be used on your application for a passport, required insurance documents, airline tickets, and other legal forms.

Will my preferred name appear in the Parkside Directory?

Yes. The online directory will display preferred name if one is identified, otherwise it will display the legal name.

Please note: Since FERPA allows the release of directory information to 3rd parties, your preferred name may be released to the public.

How do I delete my preferred name?

You will need to complete the Preferred Name Request Form indicating removal of your preferred name.

How do I change my legal name?

If you have changed your name legally, you can submit a Change of Student Demographic Information form to the Registrar’s Office. You must provide proof of the name change such as a driver’s license or legal document.

If you have more questions about the Student Preferred Name Policy, contact the Dean of Students Office at 262-595-2598 or via email at

Or you may visit the Registrar’s Office.

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