Preferred Name

Palomar College is beginning a phased implementation of the Preferred name Policy in Fall 2018. The goal of the Preferred Name policy is a consistent preferred name experience across College systems and use of one’s preferred name wherever legal name is not absolutely necessary.

Preferred First and Middle Name Background

Palomar College has established a preferred first and/or middle name policy that allows eligible students, faculty and staff to indicate their preferred first name to the college community regardless of whether they have legally changed their name.


It is the policy of Palomar College that any faculty, staff, or student may choose to identify themselves within the college community with a preferred first and/or middle name that differs from their legal name.

As long as the use of the preferred first and/or middle name is not for the purpose of misrepresentation, it will appear instead of the person’s legal name in college related systems and documents except where the use of the legal name is required by college business or legal need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to enter a preferred name?

  • No you do not have to enter a preferred name. This is there as a service for people who wish to be known by something other than their primary/legal name. If you regularly use your primary/legal name then please do not enter a preferred name. If you enter a preferred name that matches your primary/legal name the preferred name will not be displayed.

Can I use my preferred name for everything at the College?

  • Preferred name will only be used in cases where legal name is not absolutely necessary. Examples of where your primary/legal name are necessary include, but are not limited to, financial aid documents, payroll, official transcripts, diplomas, and federal immigration documents. In some cases if you indicate a preferred name, it may be necessary to clarify that your preferred name is different that your legal/primary name. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, official interactions with police, security, and/or law enforcement, and verification of medical records.
  • In some cases like class rosters, your preferred name may appear alongside your legal/primary name. This is to ensure that professors and instructors can verify attendance and record grades accurately. There are many different information systems across campus, it is the responsibility of the system owner to update their system to use preferred name.

How many times can I change my Preferred Name?

  • Changing your primary/legal name in the College systems to a preferred name can have ripple effects throughout your day-to-day experiences. Changing your preferred name more than once can lead to confusion regarding your identity, challenges in customer service, and/or the interruption of your ability to access some college system.

 Can I change my preferred name to whatever I want?

  • Preferred names are limited to alphabetical characters (A-Z and a-z), a space or hyphen (-). Your preferred name will appear exactly as you enter it in the portal.
  • It is a violation of the Palomar College Preferred Name Policy to indicate a preferred name for the purposes of misrepresentation or fraud. Fraud and misrepresentation may also violate Palomar College Student Code of Conduct.
  • Once entered, a user’s preferred name may take up to 48 hours to reach affected systems. New preferred names are reviewed each weekday by a member of the Preferred Name Team.

What happens if someone enters an inappropriate preferred name?

Any preferred names that may be deemed by a reasonable person to be an attempt at misrepresentation, fraud, or interpreted as offensive will be removed by a member of the Preferred Name Team. As a result of the removal of the potentially inappropriate preferred name:

  • A user’s primary/legal name will return as the default name displayed on affected College systems.
  • The Comet Center will be notified of the removed name.

Should a Student ID Card have already been issued displaying the inappropriate preferred name:

  • ID Card services connected to the ID Card with the inappropriate preferred name will be suspended and the card invalidated.
  • The cardholder will be asked to surrender the invalid ID Card.
  • A new ID Card will be issued to the cardholder at their own cost (replacement ID card cost $15).
  • For students, refusal to surrender the invalid card may be violation of the Student Code of Conduct and cases may be forwarded to the Director of Student Affairs.
  • Cases of misuse and refusal to surrender invalid ID Cards by faculty or staff will be forwarded to the appropriate human resources representative.
  • The above process will be facilitated by a member of the Preferred Name Team.


Can I change my Student eMail Address if I use a preferred name?

  • No, the Student Email Address is determined by an algorithm based on your primary/legal name and is not impacted by a preferred name.

Will my preferred name appear on my Student ID Card?

  • Your preferred name may appear on your Student ID Card. In order for your name to appear on your Student ID Card, you must have already indicated your preferred name in myPalomar. Not that this change may take up to 48 hours to take full effect.
  • If your preferred name has been properly entered via myPalomar, then you may request a Student ID Card with your preferred name indicated on the front face. Your primary/legal name will appear on the back side for purposes of identity verification.
  • If you already have a Student ID Card and wish to have a new Student ID Card with your preferred name, you will be asked to surrender your old Student ID Card. Replacement Student ID Cards are provided free of charge with the surrender of your old Student ID Card.

How do I delete my preferred name?

  • If you have entered a preferred name and later decide that you would prefer to use your primary/legal name everywhere on campus, simply go to the MyPalomar Student eServices account and click the delete button. Note: it may take up to 24 hours for the change to be registered in all campus systems.

How do I correct or change my legal name at the University?

  • Students: You can correct or change your legal name by filling out the Student Data Change Form in the Admissions Office and supplying a legal ID or documentation that references your new name. Examples of documentation are Driver’s License, Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage Certificate, court or other legal document.
  • Employees: Employees should contact the Office of Human Resources for information about changing your legal name.

How does the preferred name policy affect F-1 & J-1 visa students?

  • 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 or J-1 student visa status, the legal name must be used on I-20s and DS-2019s. An individual’s legal name is what appears in the passport.


Last modified on March 6, 2018