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Preferred Name Policy for Franklin Pierce University

 PDF version of the policy

Who is covered by this policy?

This policy covers active students, faculty and staff at Franklin Pierce University.

What is a legal name?

Your legal name is the name that you were given at birth and which appears on a birth certificate recognized by a government or other legal entity, or the name which appears on a marriage certificate or other government issued document on which a legal name change is recorded.

What is a preferred first name?

A preferred first name is a name that you choose to be called that is different from your legal first name.

What is Franklin Pierce University's preferred first name policy?

The University recognizes that some community members wish to use a first name other than a legal first name to identify themselves. The University refers to this as a preferred first name. As long as the use of this different first name is appropriate and not for the purpose of misrepresentation or an attempt to avoid a legal obligation, the University will display a preferred first name in place of your legal first name in many, but not all, internal systems and reports. Franklin Pierce University reserves the right to remove any preferred first name that is deemed inappropriate.

Can I use my preferred first name for everything at the University?

No. Your preferred first name can only be used in certain situations because of legal requirements or system limitations.

Where will preferred first name be used?

The university will attempt to display preferred first name to the University community where feasible and appropriate, and make a good faith effort to update reports, documents and systems accordingly. Currently, the University will display a preferred first name in place of your legal first name in the following areas:

Where will the University continue to use my legal first name?

Some University departments interact with, and send reports to, federal, state and other third party services that verify the identity of faculty, staff and students using the legal name and other personally identifiable information which prohibits the use of a preferred first name. Your legal first name will be used on any document related toemployment status or has a connection to your Date of Birth or Social Security Number. In these cases, your legal first name will appear on all other University records and communications such as:

How do I change or add a preferred first name?

If you did not supply your preferred first name when you first join Franklin Pierce, then you can complete a Request for Preferred First Name form. The individual is free to determine the preferred first name the student wants to be known by in the university’s information system. However, inappropriate use of the preferred name policy (including but not limited to avoiding a legal obligation or misrepresentation) may be cause for denying the request.

How do I correct or change my legal name at the University?

Students who wish to change their legal name must supply legal documentation and complete a Change of Biographical Information. The completed form should be returned to the Registrar's Office.

Staff who wish to change their legal name must supply legal documentation to the Human Resources Office.

Can I get a new ID card with a new preferred first name listed on it?

You can request a new ID card once your preferred first name request has been processed in Franklin Pierce University’s student/employee information system. Visit Campus Security to have a new ID card re-issued.

May I specify a preferred middle or last name?

No, Franklin Pierce's Preferred First Name Policy only covers preferred first name at this time. If you would like to change your middle or last name with the University, you will need to change your legal name.

Do I have to provide and set a preferred first name?

No. Using a preferred first name is entirely optional. If you regularly use your legal name, then please do not submit a preferred first name.

Student FAQs:


Consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Franklin Pierce University allows for the release of directory information, which includes a student’s preferred name when one is designated. If a student does not want disclosure of the preferred name to external organizations or persons may write to the Registrar’s Office requesting a directory block on his/her record. Students must submit this notice by the end of the add/drop period for which s/he is registered. This notice remains in effect until revoked by the student.

Will my preferred first name be used at commencement?

You can indicate your preferred name on your application for graduation (i.e., Notice of Candidacy for Graduation). The name you indicate on that application will be used on your diploma, in the commencement brochure, and will be the name called when you walk across the stage during the commencement ceremony.

Are there places where both my preferred first name and my legal first name will be used?

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

Can I set my preferred first name to whatever I want?

Preferred first names are limited to standard alphanumeric characters (e.g., A-Z, a-z, numbers), spaces, hyphens, and apostrophes. You may set your preferred first name to whatever you would like as long as the use of this different first name is not used for an improper purpose. The University reserves the right to remove a preferred first name if determined inappropriate. If your preferred first name has implications that may negatively impact your experience at Franklin Pierce, you will be contacted by an appropriate staff member to discuss your request.

How many times can I change my preferred first name?

Changing your preferred first name in University systems can have ripple effects on your day-to-day experiences. It can lead to confusion regarding your identity, challenges in customer service, and/or the interruption of your ability to access some University systems. As such, we highly recommend that you not change your preferred first name once it is set.

Reviewed by: James W DuMond Jr., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Approved by: Senior Staff 6/12/2018

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