Preferred Name Policy

The University of Northern Colorado is aware that many of its students use a first name other than their legal name. As part of being a welcoming and inclusive campus, UNC has implemented changes to increase the use of the preferred first name in the course of UNC business and education.

Because use of a student's legal first name will continue to be necessary in certain records and communications, both the legal first name and preferred first name (if requested) will be stored within UNC's primary information systems. Implementation of the use of preferred names will be a process that occurs over time. When a student contacts a UNC office in person or by phone, the staff in that office may only have electronic access to the student's legal first name.

To initiate the process to include a preferred first name in a student record, the Individual Data Change Request Form must be completed and submitted to the Registrar's Office in Carter Hall, Room 3002 or email to registrar@unco.edu. (this policy statement may be modified or rescinded at the discretion of UNC)

  • What is a "preferred name"?

    A first name by which an individual wishes to be identified that is other than the individual's legal name. UNC provides a process for any student to include a preferred first name. While UNC will work toward primary use of the preferred name, students should be aware that the use of the legal name will continue to be necessary in some instances.

  • What are the reasons for this policy?

    Many members of the UNC Community use a first name that differs from their legal name. These may include individuals who prefer to use:

    • a middle name instead of a first name
    • an anglicized name
    • a name to which the individual is in the process of legally changing
    • a name that better represents the individual's gender identity
  • Where will my preferred name appear/be used?
    • Supplementary class rosters (please be aware that Faculty have access to both legal and preferred names)
    • Housing Contracts
    • Recreation Center
    • Student Online Directory
    • Canvas
    • Student Conduct/Dean of Student's Database
    • Library check-out system
    • Career Services Database (Bears Career Connection)

      Please be aware that many systems and process and many of the "screens" that staff use in our information system only display legal first names)
  • Can I use my preferred name for my graduation ceremony?

    If a student chooses to use a preferred first name at their graduation ceremony and in the commencement program, they must submit an Individual Data Change Request Form and select the appropriate box to override their legal first name. This form must be completed by the graduation application deadline (deadlines can be found @ Graduation Deadlines.

    Note: A student's legal name will be published on diplomas and official transcripts.

  • Can I specify a preferred middle or last name?

     No, a preferred name includes only your first name. If you wish to change your middle or last name, you will need to file an application with the State of Colorado. More information can be found @ Adult Name Change

  • Can I request any preferred name I want?

     Students may designate a preferred name with which they identify and by which they prefer to be known.

  • Why are employees not included in this policy regarding preferred names?

     The preferred name policy is student focused. Processes regarding employee preferred names may be implemented in the future.

  • How do i get a new UNC I.D. Card with my preferred name?

     After submitting your preferred name form to the Registrar's Office, allow one week for your student record to be updated and exported to the UNC I.D. Card system. You may then request a new I.D. card at the Card Office in the University Center. If you do not want your legal name to appear on your new card, you will be required to sign a form confirming that your new card will not be used for legal identification or banking purposes

  • How much will a new card cost?

     There will be a $15.00 replacement fee added to your UNC tuition bill

  • Do I have to get a new card if I submit a preferred name form?

     No, the decision to request a new card is entirely optional

error_outline UNC reserves the right to deny a request to include a preferred name if the request is fraudulent, carries connotations offensive to good taste and decency, or violates the Board Policy Manual, University Regulations, and/or the Student Code of Conduct. Issues relating to such matters may be referred to the Dean of Student's Office for consideration and resolution. UNC will investigate reports of misuse and abuse of the preferred name process/policy. Depending on the circumstances, those involved in such investigations may include Human Resources, Dean of Students, Provost, University Legal Counsel and/or appropriate Law Enforcement agencies.

UNC reserves the right to remove preferred names that are deemed misrepresentative and suspend the individual's privilege to update their preferred name.

Disclosure: Campus departments interact with, and send reports to Federal, State, and other Government agencies that verify the identity of a student by using the student's legal name, in some cases Social Security Numbers, and other personal identifiable information that prohibits the use of preferred names.