12.021: Student Names




February 28, 2022

Initiated by:

Debra M. Benton | University Registrar

Endorsed by:

Elizabeth Sayrs | Executive Vice President and Provost

Approved by:

Hugh Sherman | President

Signatures and dates on archival copy
  1. Overview

    Ohio university is committed to fostering an environment of inclusiveness and supporting students' preferred form of self-identification. With this in mind, this policy provides definitions for and uses of names and pronouns recorded for students.

    A student is herein defined to mean any person who is or has been in attendance at Ohio university.

  2. Name types

    1. Legal name

      Students are required to provide their legal names on their applications for admission. After enrollment, students may process official name changes or corrections with the office of the university registrar. A change of legal name requires an official document or court order verifying the correct information at the time the request is made. One of the following documents may be submitted for verification of the legal name change:

      a.  Valid passport (required for international students in non-immigrant status);

      b.  Court action document;

      c.  Divorce decree (the appropriate page of the decree);

      d.  Marriage certificate;

      e.  Valid driver's license and social security card (you must submit both and the names must match);

      f.  Federal or state-issued identification card and a social security card (you must submit both and the names must match).

      When only one word is provided for the legal name, the information will be stored in a system’s last name field with the standardized designation of 'FNU' (first name unknown) stored in the first name field.

    2. Diploma name

      Students may choose to use their legal name, an abbreviated variation of their legal name or they may provide a preferred (chosen) name when they apply for graduation. The university reserves the right to remove a diploma name if it is used inappropriately or for misrepresentation.  

    3. Preferred name

      Students may provide a preferred name (or nickname) and pronoun in "MyOHIO Student Center." The university reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it is used inappropriately or for misrepresentation. The dean of students has final authority for determining an appropriate preferred name.

  3. Use of names

    1. Legal name

      Legal name will be used as follows:

      1. Reporting to state and federal agencies;

      2. Transcripts;

      3. Financial aid documents and processes;

      4. Identification cards;

      5. Enrollment and degree verification processes;

      6. Transfer and external credit processes;

      7. Official lists of students made available to the public or for communicating with "the parents or guardians of";

      8. Other records where the legal name is required by law or university policy.

    2. Diploma name

      Diploma name will be used as follows:

      1. Diploma;

      2. Commencement program, if student has not requested non-disclosure of personally identifiable directory information.

    3. Preferred name

      Preferred name and pronoun will be used in lieu of legal name when it is not necessary for the legal name to be used. It will be used across university systems where available. Faculty, staff, and students are expected to facilitate the use of preferred name and pronoun.


Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:

  1. Assistant Vice President and Director of Undergraduate Admissions

  2. Director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships

  3. Bursar

  4. Executive Director of Residential Housing and Residence Life 

  5. Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

  6. Chief of Police

  7. Chief Information Officer

  8. Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

  9. Director of International Student and Scholar Services

  10. Faculty Senate

  11. Administrative Senate

  12. Student Senate

  13. Graduate Student Senate