Preferred Name Policy (AE 6.1) - Nevada State College

Preferred Name Policy (AE 6.1)

  • category:
    Admissions and Enrollment
  • Policy Id#:
    AE 6.1
  • Effective Date:
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Nevada State College recognizes that students of our community may most closely identify by a name other than their official Legal Name. To foster an inclusive campus environment, any current student may use a Preferred Name at the College. We strive to have Preferred Names used wherever a Legal Name is not necessary.


Legal Name: The name that identifies a person on official government documents and forms of identification for legal, administrative, and other governmental purposes.

Preferred Name: A name that an individual wishes to be known or identified by that differs from the individual’s Legal Name.


I. Overview

Students will be referred to by their Preferred Name whenever possible within the campus community. When it does not constrain the College’s ability to comply with federal or state regulation or law or the ability to enter into a contract, the designated Preferred Name will be used in place of, or in addition to, the Legal Name in College-controlled systems and documents. This includes, but is not limited to:

A. Class and attendance rosters;
B. Grade rosters;
C. Student services/success/support applications;
D. The learning management system (Canvas);
E. Student ID cards;
G. Internal, NSC-funded scholarships;
H. Student email account.

II. Designating a Preferred Name

Students may use their myNSC self-service account to designate a Preferred Name. To request use of a Preferred Name in a College-controlled system that does not allow self-service name changes, students should contact the Office of the Registrar.

In some systems, the Preferred Name will appear immediately. Systems in which changes must be made manually or which have fixed syncing schedules may experience delays in displaying the Preferred Name.

Creating or changing a Preferred Name will also update a student’s NSC e-mail address. When this update occurs, the previous e-mail address will no longer exist. The student is responsible for updating any entities or individuals that have it on record to ensure email messages continue to be delivered.

III. Limitations and Exceptions

While NSC will use Preferred Names wherever possible, in some situations this will not be possible.

A. External Systems: The official Legal Name will be used in all College-related systems and documents that require a verified Legal Name or that must be matched to external systems or databases that use Legal Names. This includes, but is not limited to:

    1. Academic transcripts;
    2. Financial aid and Veterans Administration (VA) documentation;
    3. Student employment paperwork, including payroll and tax documents
    4. Applications for in-state residency classification;
    5. Student account statements;
    6. Immigration documents;
    7. Standardized and/or formally proctored testing services;
    8. External scholarships.

B. Inappropriate Names: Nevada State College reserves the right to refuse to implement:

    1. Any Preferred Name that would lead to misrepresentation;
    2. A Preferred Name used for illegal purposes or to avoid a legal responsibility;
    3. Multiple Preferred Names simultaneously for the same individual;
    4. Preferred Names that contain threats of violence or violations of copyright or other legal claims;
    5. Preferred Names that include non-alphabetical (a-z) characters;
    6. A Preferred Name that the College deems inappropriate (e.g., vulgar, obscene, offensive, fictional, or creates confusion with another person).

C. Identifying Inappropriate Names and Appeals Process: The Office of the Registrar will regularly identify newly-submitted Preferred Names that are or may be inappropriate:

    1. Flagged Preferred Names that clearly violate any condition in III.B.1-5 above will be denied by the Registrar;
    2. Preferred Names that potentially violate III.B.6, or where the Registrar is uncertain whether the Preferred Name violates III.B.1-5, will be reviewed by a three-person committee consisting of the President’s Chief of Staff, the Director of Community Engagement and Diversity Initiatives, and the Director of Academic Advising. The Registrar will summarize the reasons each name is potentially inappropriate. The committee may consult with campus legal counsel or others with relevant expertise, as needed;
    3. The review committee will vote on each flagged Preferred Name. A majority of votes is required for approval;
    4. If a Preferred Name is denied, the Office of the Registrar will remove the name and notify the student;
    5. A student whose Preferred Name is denied may appeal by contacting the Registrar for the appropriate form;
    6. Appeals will be reviewed by the Vice President of College and Community Engagement. This decision is final and is not subject to further appeal.

IV. Student Responsibilities

A. A student who designates a Preferred Name accepts any financial obligations at Nevada State College under either the Legal Name or Preferred Name.

B. Students who use a Preferred Name should always be prepared to reference their Legal Name and provide corresponding identification when legal identification or official information is necessary.

C. A student ID card that displays a Preferred Name cannot be used as a valid form of identification in some situations where a student ID card is normally accepted, such as in completing employment paperwork. All students using a Preferred Name on their student ID card are encouraged to obtain a legal State ID card, driver’s license, or passport to use for identity verification purposes when needed.

D. The use of a Preferred Name may lead to more intensive scrutiny when seeking certain federal or state security clearances or background checks (e.g. applications for employment in law enforcement, education, or other positions that require background checks). Students are encouraged to disclose this information to the investigating authorities in advance to avoid unexpected discrepancies and delays in processing their applications.




Updated October 19, 2021.


Approved by Dr. Laura Naumann, Faculty Senate Chair, October 6, 2020.
Approved by Dr. Vickie Shields, Provost, October 8, 2020.
Approved by President Bart Patterson, February 18, 2021.

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