Western Carolina University recognizes that students may prefer to use a name that is different from their legal name. Under WCU’s Preferred Name policy, any student may identify a preferred first name of their choosing. Preferred first names may not be fraudulent or misrepresent or be inappropriate or offensive. Once a student indicates their preferred first name in myWCU, it will be used in many but not all university contexts.
A Preferred Name is the name that a student wishes to be known by in the university community that is different than the student’s Legal Name.
A Legal Name is the name that appears on a student’s passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, or US Social Security card.
No. WCU’s Preferred Name policy only allows a student to designate a preferred first name. Operationally, a student’s preferred first name and legal last name become their Preferred Name.
No, the use of a Preferred Name, pursuant to policy 125, is at the complete discretion of individual employees and students. If a preferred first name is not provided, it is assumed that the legal first name is preferred.
To update your preferred first name, go to mywcu.edu and type ‘name’ in the search menu.
The preferred first name, singularly or in combination with the last name may appear, as possible, in the following locations:
A student’s Legal Name will be used in business and legal processes that require the use of a Legal Name. A student’s Preferred Name may not appear in the following locations:
University administrators, University Police Department, and offices providing medical and mental health services.
Students can request two Preferred Name changes in an academic year. Additional changes are at the discretion of the Registrar or their designee.
Students should be mindful about timing issues when changing their Preferred Name. Western does not restrict when students can submit new preferred first names. Because Preferred Names appear on class rosters, students are advised to alert their instructors if they change their Preferred Name while courses are in-progress.
Yes, once you change your preferred name you can go to the Cat Card office and have a new, complimentary Cat Card printed.
No, updating your Cat Card to your Preferred Name is at your discretion.
No, the Cat Card is not accepted as a government issued form of identification.
Please know that while WCU values and supports the use of Preferred Names, Preferred Names are not necessarily supported in off campus situations and services.
For more information:
To change the address on file:
Effective Fall 2019, students enrolled at a UNC constituent institution and who exceed 140 attempted hours prior to earning a baccalaureate degree are no longer subject to a tuition surcharge. North Carolina’s mandatory tuition surcharge which has been in effect since 1994 is repealed.