Preferred Names

Pierce College values and honors diverse experiences and perspectives and strives to create a welcoming and respectful learning environment to promote access, opportunity and justice for all. Referring to students by the name they wish to be called in classrooms and when interacting with college personnel supports a respectful learning environment. The reasons for choosing a preferred name that may be different from a legally changed name are personal and different for each individual.

Changing Your Preferred Name

You can add or update a preferred name on your MyPierce portal or visit the Admissions or Registration Office at any campus to add a preferred name. 

Adding or Updating Your Preferred Name in the MyPierce Portal

  1. Login to the MyPierce portal using your SID and inquiry PIN (default is your birthdate in MMDDYY format).
  2. Under Your Info on the left side of the screen, you will see your name, SID and advisor information.
  3. Click Expand. Your address will appear.
  4. Click Update Contact Information
  5. You will be directed to the Student Online Services page and will need to re-enter your SID and inquiry pin (default is your birthdate in MMDDYY format). Your address, phone number and email address will appear. Preferred Name is below this information.
  6. Click the Change My Contact Information button.
  7. You can now enter your Preferred Name. Please make sure to click the Update button to save your changes.

If you change your preferred name after the first day of the quarter, then you must notify your instructors of the change to your preferred name. The college will not notify them that you have provided or changed a preferred name, although they will be able to see your preferred name and your student identification number.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a preferred name?

A preferred name is a name a student wishes to be known by in the college community that is different from a student’s legal name. Pierce College’s policy covers preferred first names. Surnames (last names) can be changed only with a legal name change.

What is a legal name?

A legal name is the name that appears on your passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, or U.S. Social Security Card.

Why does Pierce College use preferred names?

Pierce College values and honors diverse experiences and perspectives and strives to create a welcoming and respectful learning environment to promote access, opportunity and justice for all. Referring to students by the name they wish to be called in classrooms and when interacting with college personnel supports a respectful learning environment.

What does a preferred name mean at Pierce College?

The term “preferred name” refers to a name that an individual wishes to use that differs from their legal name on legal documents and/or differs from the name that is listed on a student’s original Pierce College student record that has not been changed legally.

Where will the preferred name appear?

  • Class lists
  • Canvas
  • MyPierce Portal
  • Student database screen used by college staff and administrators

What documents will not have preferred names?

Legal names, not preferred names, will appear on transcripts, diplomas, official student accounts and financial aid records, certification documents, student employment records, and immigration/SEVIS documents.

Where will my legal name be used?

Your legal name will be used in business processes and other activities that require use of a legal name. These include:

  • Student Financial Services Documentation
  • Financial Aid
  • Student Employment Records
  • Federal Requests for Information
  • National Student Clearinghouse
  • Transcripts
  • Academic Certifications
  • Diplomas
  • International Education Documentation

Does a preferred name affect my legal name?

No. Setting a preferred name does not change your legal name.

How do I change my legal name?

The Personal Data Change form is available on our Forms page. For a legal name change, please fill out the Personal Data Change form and bring it to the Registration Office at any of our campuses (JBLM, Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup). You must provide official documentation to prove the legal name change. 

Official documentation for a legal name change is considered one of the following:

  • Government issued ID AND Social Security card with the new name
  • Certified Court Order
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Dissolution/Divorce Decree

Do I have to use a preferred name?

No. Use of a preferred name is optional.

When will my preferred name go into effect?

Typically, it will take 24 business hours for the update to take effect in our college systems. You may change your preferred name at any time and more than once.

Why would someone want to use a preferred name?

The reasons for choosing a preferred name that may be different from a legally changed name are personal and different for each individual.

Students may have many reasons for asking to have their preferred names, over their legal names, displayed on non-legal documents:

  • Students known by names that are different from their legal names
  • Transgender or gender nonconforming identities
  • International students or other students who wish to adopt an English language name

What are the terms and conditions of setting a preferred name at Pierce College?

When you set your preferred name, you agree that:

  • You have not set a preferred name with an intent to impersonate someone else, to deceive, or to defraud
  • Hate speech, inappropriate language, or repeated frequent use of this feature may bar you from using this feature, at Pierce College’s discretion

Are there any preferred name restrictions?

Preferred names may not be used for purposes of fraud or misrepresentation. Pierce College reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it contains inappropriate or offensive language.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

Please contact the Office of the Registrar.