Preferred Name Frequently Asked Questions

What is a preferred name

Individuals may desire to be addressed by a name that is different than their legal name. Creating an inclusive environment is part of Kent State University’s mission statement, and we recognize that some use a name other than their legal name to identify themselves. Kent State University has established a process for identifying a preferred name.

The preferred name will be used where possible in the course of University business. There are places where the legal name will continue to be used for University business or legal needs. Those who are utilizing the preferred name should always be prepared to reference their legal name as well as provide their university identification when necessary.

Only the first and middle names can be updated with a preferred name. Last names cannot be updated through the preferred name process.

IS A PREFERRED NAME required

No. The ability to be called by a name that is familiar to an individual but is not their legal name aligns with Kent State's "Student First" goal. If an individual regularly uses their legal name, there is no reason to request a preferred name.

how IS A PREFERRED NAME Requested

A preferred name is requested through FlashLine. Please follow these instructions:

  1. Log into FlashLine
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Click on the Preferred Name Request link
  4. Complete and submit the request form

Can any name be requested as a PREFERRED NAME

No. The University has the authority to deny the request for a preferred name. They also have the right to remove a preferred name at any time.

Only the first and middle names can be updated with a preferred name. Last names cannot be updated through the preferred name process.

CAN A LAST NAME BE CHANGED USING THE PREFERRED NAME PROCESS

No. Only the first and middle names can be updated with a preferred name. Last names cannot be updated through the preferred name process.

CAN A PREFERRED NAME include special characters

Yes. The preferred first name is limited to at least one alphabetical character (A-Z or a-z), and can include the following special characters: apostrophe, hyphen. The preferred middle name can be blank or can be at least one alphabetical character (A-Z or a-z), and can include the following special characters: apostrophe, hyphen.

will the PREFERRED NAME be used everywhere at Kent state

No. The preferred name will be used where possible in the course of University business. There are places where the legal name will continue to be used for University business or legal needs. Those who are utilizing the preferred name should always be prepared to reference their legal name as well as provide their university identification when necessary. A listing of where the preferred name will be used may be found by visiting the Preferred Name page.

will the PREFERRED NAME show in blackboard

Yes. Once the preferred name is approved, allow up to two business days for the preferred name to show in Blackboard.

will the preferred name show on the rosters

Yes. The approved preferred name will be shown on all class and grade rosters. If a student's preferred name is approved in the current term, instructor(s) will receive an email notification that a student has an approved preferred name. Rosters will now reflect this change. It is expected that the instructors will address the student by the chosen preferred name. If the class rosters have been printed, please note the change or print a new roster.

will the PREFERRED NAME appear in the directory

Yes. Once a preferred name is approved, it will appear in the directory. It is possible to search by either the legal or preferred name. The preferred name will be the only result returned in the search. 

will the PREFERRED NAME appear in the kent.edu email

Individuals can change their display name of their kent.edu email address. Please contact TechHelp at either support.kent.edu or at 330-672-HELP.

will the kent.edu email address be changed with the approval of A PREFERRED NAME

No. The creation of the kent.edu email addressed is based on an algorithm and is assigned when a student is initially admitted or employed. An individual can, at any time, change their display name of their kent.edu email address. Please contact TechHelp at either support.kent.edu or at 330-672-HELP.

WILL it be known if a PREFERRED NAME request has been processed

Once a decision has been made to approve or deny the request for a preferred name, an email is sent to the indivudal's kent.edu email address which will give the status and next steps. 

Can a PREFERRED NAME be requested multiple times

The preferred name request process is not intended to entertain repeated requests for a preferred name change. Additional requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Individuals are encouraged to state the reason to change from one preferred name to another in the comments section of the request form. The preferred name is not intended to be used for purposes of fraud or misrepresentation. The Univdersity has the authority to deny any request or remove a preferred name. 

how CAN A PREFERRED NAME BE removed

An individual is able to request their preferred name be deleted by accessing the preferred name request form via FlashLine. 

What is the process for changing a legal name

The criteria and required documentation to legally change a student's name is available on the Office of the University Registrar's webpage at http://www.kent.edu/registrar/update-personal-information.  

The criteria and required documentation to legally change an employee's name is available on the Human Resources Forms Library webpage at https://www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/benefits-forms. Under the Benefit Notification section, please select the Change of Personal Information (PDF).

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR having the preferred name appear on the flashcard

Once a preferred name has been approved, allow two business days for the name to appear in the systems. It is highly recommended that a new FlashCard is obtained with the preferred name as soon as possible. The preferred name will be on the front of the card and the legal name will be printed on the back of the card.  

is there a cost to have a new flashcard created with a preferred name

No. There will not be a charge to reissue a FlashCard when a preferred name has been approved. You will need to surrender your old FlashCard to receive the new card.  

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR a regional campus individual to request a new flashcard when a PREFERRED NAME has been approved

The individual will need to visit the Student Services area of their regional campus for assistance in obtaining their new FlashCard. You will have to surrender your old FlashCard to receive the new card.

My Flashcard is connected to a pnc bank account. what do I need to do?

Once your FlashCard has been reissued, you are able to sync your new card with your PNC account by either visiting the PNC location in the Student Center or visiting pnc.com/kentstate.  

how does the preferred name process affect THOSE WITH AN f-1 and j-1

Preferred name is for use within the university community. International students may feel free to select a preferred name for on-campus use. However, this does not apply in situations where one's legal name is required to be used. For the purpose of F-1 and J-1 student visa status, the legal name must be used on I-20s and DDS-2019s. An individual's legal name is what appears on the passport.