Jump to main content

Name Change Information

Name Change

Application for admission to the University requires students to use their legal name. The legal name must be the name that is recorded with the Social Security Administration. The same is true for a student to change their name; the University will require proof of that legal name by evidence of the social security card. The legal name is imperative at both the state and federal level reporting (i.e. financial aid, College Opportunity Fund, employment.)


 Preferred Name

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. 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.

(this policy statement may be modified or rescinded at the discretion of UNC)


 Preferred Name Policy

A first name by which an individual wishes to be identified that is other than the individual's legal name is a "preferred name". UNC will provide a process for any student to include a preferred first name in UNC's information systems. 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 multiple communications and processed due to UNC business or legal requirements and/or system limitations.

UNC reserves the right to deny a request to include a preferred name in its information systems if the request is fraudulent, carries connotations offensive to good taste and decency, or violates the Board Policy Manual, University Regulations and/or Student Code of Conduct. Issues relating to such matters may be referred to the VP of Campus Community and Climate and the Dean of Students Office for consideration and resolution. 

UNC will investigate reports of misuse and abuse of the preferred name process/policy statement. Depending on the circumstances, those involved in such investigations may include Human Resources, Dean of Students, Provost, University Counsel, and/or appropriate law enforcement agencies.

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

Source: UNC Undergraduate Catalog http://unco.smartcatalogiq.com/en/current/Undergraduate-Catalog/Undergraduate-Information-and-Policies/Student-Policies-and-Procedures/Name-Change)


Preferred Name FAQs

  • 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:

    • 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 (Handshake)
    • Student email address

    Please be aware that there are many systems and processes and many of the "screens" that staff use in our information system only display legal first names)

    DisclosureCampus 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.

  • 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 specify my middle or last name as a preferred first name?

    You cannot specify your last name as a preferred name as that would cause issues with reporting and create confusion. 

    If you decide to use your middle name as a preferred name, you will need to request that your middle name be removed from your student record to prevent duplication and confusion. If you need to request the removal of your middle name, please email the Office of the Registrar with that request. The email must come from your Bearmail Account. 

    Changing your preferred name to your current middle will impact the following areas:

    • Housing Contracts
    • Recreation Center
    • Student Online Directory
    • Canvas
    • Library Checkout
    • Career Services (Handshake)
    • Student Email address
  • 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 within the parameters established by the university and outlined on this website and the university catalog.

  • Does this policy apply to employees?

    The preferred name policy is student focused, however an employee preferred name policy is currently being developed. Please contact Human Resources with any questions.

  • 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 3 business days for your student record to be updated and exported to the UNC ID Card system. You may then request a new ID 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?

    If you have submitted a preferred name to the Registrar's Office before obtaining your first UNC ID card, and you would like your card to reflect your preferred name, please let the Card Office staff know prior to taking your picture. There will be no fee for your first card. There are options in how we print the card, and those will be reviewed with you before your card is printed.

    If you submit a preferred name request to the Registrar's Office after you have already obtained your first UNC ID card with your legal name on it, take your legal name ID card to the UNC Card Office and let the staff know you would like to have a preferred name on your card. As long as you turn in your existing UNC ID card, there will be no charge. If you do not turn in your existing ID card,  there will be a $15.00 replacement fee added to your UNC student bill.

  • Am I required to obtain a new I.D. card?

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

  • Are there any limitations regarding preferred name?

    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 VP of Campus Community and Climate & the Dean of Students 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.


 Preferred Name/Graduation Ceremonies

For graduation ceremonies and commencement program publication, the Office of the Registrar will use a student’s legal name.  If a student chooses to use a preferred first name in place of a legal first name at the graduation ceremony and in the commencement program (not transcripts or diplomas) they must submit an Individual Data Change Request Form and select the appropriate box to override legal first name and use the preferred first name at the ceremony. Student may also provide their preferred first name at the point they apply for graduation via the undergraduate graduation application

Students with a preferred first name on file with the Office of the Registrar and who wish to use their preferred first name for graduation ceremonies and commencement program publication, must submit an Individual Data Change Request Form or the Undergraduate Graduation Application by the respective graduation application deadline. For information on deadlines, please visit the Graduation deadlines site.   

Students without a preferred first name on file with the Office of the Registrar and who wish to use their preferred first name for graduation ceremonies and commencement program publication, must submit an Individual Data Change Request Form or Undergraduate Graduation Application by the respective graduation application deadline. For information on deadlines, please visit the Graduation deadlines site.   

If a student uses their middle name as a preferred first name, we recommend that a student request to remove their middle name to prevent duplication.  Please see the FAQ section for more information.  If a student chooses to not delete the middle name from the system and the middle name is the same as the preferred first name than the middle name will be omitted from the program. 

By changing your preferred name on the graduation application it will also impact:

  • Housing Contracts
  • Recreation Center
  • Student Online Directory
  • Canvas
  • Library Checkout
  • Career Services (Handshake)
  • Student Email address

A student’s legal name will be published on diplomas and official transcripts.