Personal Information in UW Records

Name in Use (Preferred Name)

Change your name in use in student records

You can identify yourself within the university, including in some official records, with a first and/or middle name in use (not last name) that differs from your legal name. This is completely optional. Examples of when students might choose to use a name in use include:

  • You prefer to be called by a nickname instead of your legal name (e.g., “Jackie” instead of “Jacqueline”);
  • You would rather not have your middle name display as part of your commonly used campus name;
  • You have chosen a name that reflects your gender identity;
  • You are an international student who prefers to use a specific name while studying in the United States.

As long as your name in use is not used for misrepresentation, it will appear instead of your legal name in many university systems and documents — except where your legal name is required for a business or legal need.

View a step-by-step guide to viewing and editing your name in use.

The campus use guidelines for name in use and pronouns are managed by the Division of Student Life. If you need help getting your name in use recognized by others, please contact

Limits on name in use choices

It is a violation of the UW–Madison Name in Use Policy to indicate a name in use for the purposes of misrepresentation or fraud. Fraud and misrepresentation may also violate UW System Student Nonacademic Disciplinary Procedures, chapters 17.09.09, 17.09.10, and/or 17.09.11.

Any name in use that would be generally considered to be an attempt at misrepresentation or fraud, or interpreted as offensive, will be removed by the Office of the Registrar. The student’s legal name will revert to the default legal name displayed on campus systems. The Wiscard office will also be notified of the removed name.

If a Wiscard has already been issued with the removed name in use:

  • Wiscard services connected to the Wiscard with the removed name in use will be suspended and the card invalidated.
  • The cardholder will be asked to surrender the invalid Wiscard.
  • A new Wiscard will be issued to the cardholder at their own cost (replacement Wiscards cost $25).
  • For students, refusal to surrender the invalid card may be violation of UW System Student Nonacademic Disciplinary Procedures, chapter 17. Cases may be forwarded to the Dean of Students Office.
  • Cases of misuse and refusal to surrender invalid Wiscards by UW employees will be forwarded to the appropriate human resources representative.

Where your legal name will still appear

Your legal name is required to appear on transcripts, financial aid, payroll, residence for tuition and federal immigration documents.

In some cases, it may be necessary to clarify that your name in use is different than your legal name, such as verification of medical records or official interactions with law enforcement.

If you are worried about where your legal name appears and/or to hide your legal name in the directory, please contact

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UW directory

Your name in use will appear as the main name in the people directory, followed with “Also known as:” and your legal name. To hide your legal name in the directory, please contact


If your name in use has been properly entered via MyUW, you can request a Wiscard with your name in use on the front face. Your legal name will appear on the back side for identity verification. Replacement Wiscards are free as long as you surrender your old Wiscard.

NetID and email address

Your NetID is based on your legal name and won’t change if you set a name in use. You can request a change in your NetID after you complete a legal name change in your student record. Read about changing your NetID here.

F-1 or J-1 student visas

If you are an international student, you will use your legal name (the name on your passport) on forms like the I-20 and DS-2019.

Residence for tuition

If you are a residence for tuition status appellant, your legal name will appear on official hearing notices and hearing results letters.

Transcript and diploma

Your UW–Madison transcript will always be printed with your full legal name. If you follow the steps to change your legal name in academic records, you can order new transcripts and a duplicate diploma with your updated legal name. You can choose to have your legal name or name in use appear in the official commencement ceremony programin related communications when you graduate, and on your diploma via the application for graduation. 

Name display in the campus directory

The information that the Office of the Registrar has on record may not be the same as that which is displayed in the online directory because there is a delay between the time you make a change to your name and when the updated information appears in the directory. If your listing is inaccurate a week after you have initiated a name change with our office and your employing department, if applicable, consult the directory updates information or the help documents related to making directory corrections, or contact the DoIT Help Desk at 608-264-HELP (264-4357).


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My name is appearing in all capital letters. How do I change this?

You can change the capitalization of your name by completing a legal name change in your Student Center. 

Follow the instructions.

I have multiple last names/a hyphenated last name. I only want one of those to appear. How can I change this?

The name in use application does not allow for changes to last name. The only way to change your last name is to complete a legal name change request.  

Follow the instructions.

I changed my legal name, but my former name(s) are still appearing. Why is this happening?

If you have previously set a name in use under a different first or last name, this name will continue to appear, even if you have changed your legal name.  

You can change or delete your previously set name in use by following the instructions.

I don’t want my last name listed. How do I get this removed?

The name in use application can only be used for changes to first and middle name. Changes to or removal of last names are not supported by this application.  

Is it possible to pick and choose which platforms will show my legal name versus my name in use?

The name in use application is designed for the name in use to appear across all platforms and cannot be used selectively across different platforms. 

I set my name in use, but my legal name is still appearing in places like the directory. What do I need to do to make sure my legal name is no longer visible?

Changes to name in use do not automatically hide your legal name; however, if you wish to hide your legal name and only have your name in use visible, you can contact and request for your legal name to be hidden. This means your legal name will only appear on official documents, such as billing statements and transcripts. 

I no longer use the name in use I had previously set. Is it possible to change this?

Yes! Your name in use can be changed at any time by following the instructions.

Please note changes to name in use take a minimum of 24 hours to be reflected across all platforms.

My name contains diacritical marks (accents/“special characters”). How can I have this reflected in my name?

While special diacritical (accent) marks cannot be used in the student record’s primary name or name in use, they can be included for purposes of the diploma and commencement program. To have diacritical marks included with your diploma, please email any time prior to the end of the semester in which you plan to graduate. To have diacritical marks included on the commencement program, please email commence@chancellor.wisc.eduafter you’ve applied to graduate. In both scenarios, please write from your email account with information about what accents marks are needed and where they should be placed.