Academic Policies and Records

Preferred Name Policy

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls will begin implementation of the Preferred Name Policy in September 2017. The goal of the Preferred Name Policy is a consistent preferred name experience across university systems and use of one's preferred name wherever a legal name is not absolutely necessary. The university's infrastructure is multi-faceted and complex so there are still some systems where the implementation of preferred name will be forthcoming.

Preferred First and Middle Name Background

The preferred first and/or middle name policy allows students to indicate their preferred first and/or middle name to the university community regardless of whether they have legally changed their name.


The university recognizes that many of its students may use names other than their legal names to identify themselves. It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls that any student may choose to identify themselves within the university community with a preferred first and/or middle name that differs from their legal name. As long as the use of the preferred first and/or middle name is not for the purpose of misrepresentation, it will appear instead of the person’s legal name in university related systems and documents except where the use of the legal name is required by university business or legal need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Students: Preferred name can be set by filling out the form below.

Preferred Name form

To request a preferred name for the online directory for employees, please visit


No, you do not have to enter a preferred name. This is a service for people who wish to be known by something other than their legal name. If you regularly use your legal name then please do not enter a preferred name. If you enter a preferred name that matches your legal name the preferred name will not be displayed.

Preferred name will only be used in cases where legal name is not absolutely necessary. Examples of where your legal name are necessary include, but are not limited to, financial aid documents, payroll, official transcripts, and federal immigration documents. In some cases if you indicate a preferred name, it may be necessary to clarify that your preferred name is different than your legal name. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, official interactions with campus police, law enforcement, and verification of medical records.

You may be asked to validate and provide identifiers to our legal record data, please do not be offended and prepare for these interactions. One of the best suggestions is to start an interaction by providing your student ID number and stating you have both a preferred name and legal name in our system and provide one or both in your discussion while working with that university employee.

Staff with an administrative need (e.g., police, health, and financial services; deans' office staff) will see both legal and preferred names. Similar to GPAs and other sensitive information, these staff are trained on the implications of this access.

Changes will appear within 1-3 business days of the day the form was submitted.

Yes, your preferred name, once it is processed, will appear in the UWRF Directory.

Typically, preferred name requests will be processed within 1-3 business days of submission. Once processed, the preferred name will immediately appear in eSIS, while there may be a delay of 1-3 additional business days for other campus systems.

Changing your legal name in university systems to a preferred name can have ripple effects throughout your day-to-day experiences. 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.

When possible, your preferred name should only include alphabetical characters (A-Z and a-z), a space, or hyphen (-). Using other symbols may prevent your name from appearing as you prefer in campus software. It is a violation of the UW-River Falls Preferred Name Policy to indicate a preferred name for the purposes of misrepresentation or fraud. Fraud and misrepresentation may also violate UWS Student Nonacademic Misconduct Chapter 17.09.09, 17.09.10, and/or 17.09.11. Once entered, a user's preferred name may take up to five business days to reach affected systems. New preferred names are reviewed by the Registrar’s Office.

Any preferred names that may be deemed to be an attempt at misrepresentation, fraud, or interpreted as offensive will be denied by the Registrar’s Office.

If you have entered a preferred name and later decide that you would prefer to use your legal name everywhere on campus, simply contact the Registrar’s Office.

To ensure that instructors and other staff are able to appropriately identify you for class attendance, grading, and other university purposes, your primary/legal last name will always appear in conjunction with a preferred first and/or middle name. Last name changes can only be changed through a legal name change.

Contact the Registrar’s Office for inquiries about the Preferred Name Policy.

Students: Legal name can be changed by going to the Registrar’s Office web page and selecting the Name Change Policy under Academic Policies and Records. Complete the Name Change Form and supply two forms of documentation that reference your new name. Examples of documentation are driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, court or other legal document.

Preferred name is for use within the university community. International students may feel free to select a preferred name for on-campus use. However, this does not apply in situations where one's legal name is required to be used. For the purpose of F-1 or J-1 student visa status, the legal name must be used on I-20s and DS-2019s. An individual's legal name is what appears in the passport.

University mail will use your name from the directory. The directory will use your preferred name. That does mean that any mail that is sent to your home address will use your preferred name. 

  • Unofficial Transcript
  • eSIS Student Center
  • U.Achieve Degree Audit Reports
  • Class Rosters
  • Grade Rosters
  • Online Campus Directory
  • Display Name for Email
  • Canvas
  • Navigate 
  • Delegate access in eSIS
  • Student Accounts
  • Financial Aid
  • Enrollment verifications (unless you have chosen FERPA Exclusion)
  • Official UWRF Transcript
  • School of Education teacher certification records
  • Human Resources (Student Employment Documents)
  • Immigration and Visa-Related Documentation
  • Required State and Federal Data Submissions
  • University ID
  • If you have completed the Preferred Name policy form through the Registrar’s Office, then your next step is to formally request the change through DoTS.  Please follow this link to request this change;


Not at this time.  The University ID currently must state the cardholder's legal first and last name.  What is printed on the ID must match other government issued photo ID's (passports, driver's licenses, etc).  The University is working on a modernization of all campus ID's that will give us the option to include preferred names in the future.