Preferred Names FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Green River College use preferred names on non-legal documents?

The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and Green River College value and honor diverse perspectives, identities, and experiences. Green River College believes enabling students to use a preferred name supports and affirms the diverse needs of students, as well as ensures equity for marginalized populations. Referring to students by the name they wish to be called in classrooms and when interacting with college staff supports the goal of ensuring equity and inclusion for students.

What does a preferred name mean at Green River College?

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

Why would someone want to use a preferred name?

The reasons for choosing a preferred name that may be different from a legal 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:

  • Preferring to use a nickname or middle instead of their legal first name
  • Choosing a name that aligns with their gender identity
  • Desiring to use a “Western” or “Americanized” name rather than their legal name from another country
  • Wanting a preemptive name change while in the process of legal divorce proceedings

Where will the preferred nameppear?

Green River College will be expanding the use of preferred names over the course of the 2017-2018 academic year.

The college is updating applications on the following schedule:


  • Complete!
    • Instructor Briefcase (Class Roster -- used by college staff)
    • Admin Systems (used by college staff)
    • Online Orientation (used by students)
    • EdPlan (used by college staff and students)
    • PASS (Progress and Alerts for Student Success - used by college staff and students)
    • Radius (used by college staff)
    • Completion Tracker (used by college staff)
    • STAR (Student Tracking And Retention -- used by college staff)
    • Canvas (used by college staff and students)Completed!

      ✓ = Shows in Canvas ⊘ = Does not show in Canvas
LocationPreferred NameOfficial Name
Account Menu (Profile)  ✓  ✓ 
Personal Settings – “Display Name”  ✓  ✓ 
Canvas Inbox (sending messages)  ✓  ✓ 
Discussions - Viewing Posts* ✓  ✓ 
Peer Review  ✓  ✓ 
People (Class Roster)*  ⊘  ✓ 
Chat*  ⊘  ✓ 
Conferences*  ⊘  ✓ 
Note: Your instructor may choose to "hide" (not have visible in Canvas' menus) these options if your class is not making use of these features. 
  • August-December, 2018
    • Who's Next (used by college staff and students)
  • Date To Be Determined
  • CampusCE (used by college staff and students)

Green River College is discussing the possibility of the preferred name appearing on Green River Student ID cards.

What documents will not have preferred names?

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

Where will my legal / official name be used?

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

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

How do I update my name on my college records?

Preferred Name ChangeOfficial Name Change
Entered as part of your Student Contact Information. Does not require additional documentation.  Complete a Student Information Change Request in writing and submit with identity documentation to Enrollment Services. 

To change your legal / official name in Green River College's systems, you must:

  • Submit the change in writing. Complete a Student Information Change Request
    • Initiate the change. Signature is required.
      • Show documentation. A copy of a passport, marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption papers, court order or other legal document must be attached to the request.

Do I have to use a preferred name?

No. Use of a preferred name is completely optional.

When will my preferred name go into effect?

You may provide Green River College with a preferred name or update your preferred name anytime. It will take 24-48 business hours for the update to appear in the applications provisioned for preferred names.

Are there any preferred name restrictions?

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

Does a preferred first name affect my legal name?

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

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

Please email the Office of the Registrar at, or call (253) 833-9111, ext. 2500