NIU recognizes that you might use a name other than your legal name to identify yourself. As long as the use of this different name is not for the purposes of misrepresentation, the university acknowledges that a preferred/primary name can be used as reasonably possible for certain university business. Employees who elect to use a preferred name will have it displayed in Outlook and Blackboard. The primary name is the employees’ legal name and must be used on all tax documents, employment records, and reports for federal and state agencies.
If you go by a name that is different from your legal name, you can designate this by completing the Personal Data Form (XLS). Inappropriate use of the preferred name, including but not limited to misrepresentation, attempting to avoid a legal obligation, or a name that is deemed to contain inappropriate or offensive language can be denied. Please note preferred/proper name changes are only applicable to applicants and currently enrolled students.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a preferred name?
If you go by a name that is different from your legal name, you can designate this within the university’s human resource information system by completing a Personal Data Form (XLS). The preferred name will appear instead of the legal name in Outlook and Blackboard.
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 there’s no need to enter a preferred name since they are the same.
How do I set a preferred name?
Your preferred name can be set by completing a Personal Data Form.
When will my preferred name be used?
Your preferred name will be used in Outlook and Blackboard. Preferred name can also be displayed on your OneCard. The cost for replacing a damaged card will be $10 and the cost for replacing a lost card will be $20, which are the new rates for faculty/staff replacing a OneCard.
Can I use my preferred name for everything at the university?
Preferred name will only be used in cases where legal name is not necessary. Examples of where your legal name are necessary include, but are not limited to, tax documents, employment records, and reports for federal and state agencies and financial aid 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 police, security, and/or law enforcement and verification of medical records.
How soon will my preferred/proper name appear?
Your preferred will appear within the next business day after the change is processed by Human Resource Services unless you indicated a future effective date of this change.
What is the difference between adding a preferred name and changing my legal name and how do I change my legal name?
Adding a preferred/proper name is done by you through completion of the Personal Data Form. To change your legal name on official records, you must present your Social Security card with your new name indicated. Name changes can be made by visiting Human Resource Services on Lincoln Highway or the Swen Parson location. If visiting our office to make a name change, you must present a picture ID and Social Security card.
How do I get my preferred name on my OneCard ID?
You must first make the change through Human Resource Services. Your preferred name will appear by the next business day after being updated in unless a future effective date is selected as well.
Please visit OneCard Preferred/Proper Name for additional information or go to the FAQ’s for OneCard ID Services.
What is the benefit of having a preferred name?
Preferred name enables you to be addressed by a name different from your legal name.