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Teachers College Policy Library
Preferred Name Policy
Owner: Vice Provost for Student Affairs
URL: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/policylibrary/Preferred Name Policy
Teachers College recognizes that some members of the Teachers College community may prefer to identify themselves by names other than their legal name. As set out below, the College is required to use an individual’s legal name for certain purposes, but members of the Teachers College community may, if they wish, choose a preferred name for other purposes. This Policy addresses how students and employees can change their legal name and preferred name in College records.
Teachers College must maintain a “legal name” as part of the official records of all students and employees. The College will use the legal name for:
- International student identification by the Department of Homeland Security
- Official documentation produced by the Offices of Financial Aid and the Bursar
- Federal requests for information
- National Student Clearinghouse (NSC)
- National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
- Enrollment, degree, and employment verifications
- Tax reporting and tax documents
- Retirement plan documents
- Health insurance documents
- Documents that establish eligibility to work at the College
- Any other official documents where a legal name is required
A community member who wishes to change the legal name on file with the College must present appropriate documentation that shows the legal name as it should appear. This documentation should include the following items:
- Government-issued photo ID or other official proof of name change, such as a marriage license, divorce decree, court order, or amended birth certificate
- (For employees) Social security card with the changed name
- Proof of use of former name (e.g., old TC ID card, bank statement, marriage license, divorce decree)
Students should report legal name changes to the Registrar’s Office, while employees and students who are also employees should report legal name changes to Human Resources. Finally, international students who make a legal name change should also report it to the Office of International Services.
Individuals may add a preferred name to their records. The College will use preferred names as follows:
- On course rosters
- On the course schedule (for faculty members’ names)
- On the TC ID Card
- In learning management systems (e.g., Moodle or Canvas)
- In online directories
Preferred names will not appear on official documents and will not be used for official College business.
To add or change a preferred name to the record, students should complete the Change of Information form with the Registrar’s Office. Employees and students who are also employees should contact Human Resources.
Responsible Office: Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Last updated: August 2017