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Preferred First Name Data Standard


This policy applies to all faculty, staff, and students of Idaho State University.

Statement Summary

Idaho State University recognizes that faculty, staff, and students may use names other than their legal names to identify themselves. Except when an individual’s legal first name is required by law, policy, or business needs, individuals may choose to be identified in some university systems by the preferred first name that they have designated in accordance with this policy.

Allowable Name Formats

Many members of the ISU community use a first name that differs from their legal first name. Allowable name formats include (but are not limited to):

  • A shortened derivative of a name (e.g., “Sue” for “Susan”)
  • A middle name instead of a first name
  • First and middle initials (e.g., “ AJ” for “Andrew John”)
  • An anglicized name (e.g., “Peter” instead of “Xingyu”)
  • A name that better represents the individual’s gender identity
  • A name to which the individual is in the process of legally changing

The university will not accept a preferred first name that contains periods, special characters or is vulgar, offensive, obscene, fanciful, or creates intentional confusion of the individual with another person.


Persons who specify a preferred first name that is different from their legal first name agree that the designated name is, or will be, truly used to identify themselves.

The use of a preferred first name cannot be for the purpose of misrepresentation and must otherwise comply with ISU policies, including but not limited to the Student Code of Conduct. The personnel in Student Affairs will determine if a student’s preferred first name is appropriate under these criteria.  Human Resources will determine if an employee’s preferred first name is appropriate.

University Issued Identification Cards

Individuals who have opted to use a preferred first name in university systems will have their preferred first name printed on the front of their Bengal ID.  Idaho State University photo ID cards are issued for the purpose of university business only and should not be considered government issued identification for purposes such as air travel.

Faculty, staff, or students who replace an existing card with one displaying their preferred first name, may be charged a replacement fee to have a new card issued.


Preferred first name - An alternative to the individual’s legal first name.  Entered by the individual via MyISU.

Preferred full name – If an individual enters a preferred first name, the preferred full name is the preferred first name plus legal middle name plus legal last name.

Legal name – A person’s legal first, middle and last name as it appears on official governmental documents such as licenses, passports, and tax forms.

Systems and Processes

Idaho State University utilizes multiple systems to manage its operations and processes. Where appropriate, university systems will display the preferred first name in place of the legal first name. Instances in which a legal first name is required include, but are not limited to, financial aid forms, tax forms, university transcripts, and health records.

Faculty, staff, and students may enter their preferred first name at any time via MyISU.  Other university systems that are dependent on data from these enterprise systems will be refreshed based on business processes and may take up to several business days for updated preferred first names to be reflected in all systems.


Idaho State University will handle reports of misuse and abuse of both preferred first names and legal names in accordance with existing policies and procedures issued by appropriate authorities. Depending on the individual and circumstances involved, this could include the offices of Human Resources, Dean of Students, General Counsel, Provost, Student Affairs and/or appropriate law enforcement agencies.

The university also reserves the right to remove preferred first names that are deemed misrepresentative.