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In 2015, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse established a preferred first and/or middle name policy that allows eligible students, faculty and staff to indicate their preferred first and/or middle name to the university community regardless of whether they have legally changed their name.

UWL began implementation of the Preferred Name Policy in August 2016. The goal of the policy is a consistent preferred name experience across UWL systems and use of one's preferred name wherever a legal name is not absolutely necessary. UWL's infrastructure is multi-faceted and complex so there are still some systems where the implementation of preferred name is forthcoming. 


UWL recognizes that many of its students, faculty and staff may use names other than their legal names to identify themselves. It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse that any faculty, staff, or 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 UWL related systems and documents except where the use of the legal name is required by university business or legal need.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I set a preferred name?

Students: Preferred name can be set by going to the Records and Registration Office webpage and selecting the Preferred Name under the Quick Links tabs. Or complete the Preferred Name Form linked above.

Employees: Visit the Human Resources website

Do I have to enter a preferred name?

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.

Can I use my preferred name for everything at the university?

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. 

When will my preferred name show up on my class roster?

Changes will appear within five business days of the day the form was submitted.

Will my preferred name appear in the UWL directory?

Yes, your preferred name, once it is processed, will appear in the UWL directory.

How many times may I change my preferred name?

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.

May I change my preferred name to whatever I want?

Preferred names are limited to alphabetical characters (A-Z and a-z) and a space or hyphen (-). Your preferred name will appear exactly as you enter it on the form. It is a violation of the UW-La Crosse 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 daily by the Records and Registration Office.

What happens if someone enters an inappropriate preferred name?

Any preferred names that may be deemed to be an attempt at misrepresentation, fraud, or interpreted as offensive will be denied by the Records and Registration staff. If this happens more than once the student’s name may be forwarded to the Office of Student Life. 

How can I change my NetID if I use a preferred name?

Once the Qualtrics survey reaches the Records and Registration Office, the name will be changed in system and passed on to the IT Department. If your preferred name change is related to your gender identity/expression or there are special extenuating circumstances, your request will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Will my preferred name appear on my Eagle ID card?

Yes, your preferred name will be on the front of the card and your legal name will be on the back of the card.  

How do I delete my preferred name?

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 Records and Registration Office.

I have more questions about my preferred name and/or the Preferred Name Policy, who can I contact?

If you have questions about setting up your preferred name, please contact the Records and Registration Office or the Pride Center Office.

How do I correct or change my legal name at the university?
How does the preferred name policy affect my F-1 and J-1 students?

Preferred name is for use within the university community. International students may feel free to select a preferred name for oncampus 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.

How will university mail be affected?

University mail will use your name from the directory.  The UWL directory will use your preferred name. That means that any mail sent to your home address will use your preferred name.