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Student Help

Legal and Preferred Names

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Legal Name

Input in your application and what is listed on your social security card and driver’s license.

Preferred Name

Input into SOAR under the profile tab for student, faculty, and staff. 

USM ID Number (W#)

Number assigned to each individual student, faculty, and staff member at USM. Your w# (or employee id) does not change with name changes. It is always the same. 


Name Changes

If a legal name change happens during time at USM, students submit documentation to the Office of the Registrar. Faculty and staff submit documentation to Human Resources.  

If you'd like to change your preferred name, you can do so in SOAR.

The steps for students to add/change Preferred name in SOAR: 

  • From Student Experience 
  • Click My Profile 
  • Biological Information 
  • Add Name 
  • Enter First and/or last name 
  • Click Save/Update  

Faculty and staff can add a preferred name here.


How is my name shown in various places at the university? 


All USM emails are technically the , legal names automatically serve as the alias for w# and based on availability. Occasionally, middle initials are included if the name is already in use.  

Faculty and staff update their email addresses to preferred names by completing a form through HR. Once the form clears HR who inputs the preferred name into SOARHR, then the person requesting updated email reaches out to iTech who can input the new alias and updates the email address.


Students may update their email to match their name if they have a legal name change. Students submit a form through the Office of the Registrar and two forms of id.



Class rosters, which show who is enrolled in a course, show students’ preferred names.  

Grade rosters list students’ legal names because of the connection to educational records.  


The Canvas Gradebook lists students’ legal names. 

Profiles list students’ preferred name as noted in SOAR. The profile name (or display name as called by Canvas) will post for interactions during the course, such as discussion boards and the Canvas Inbox. 



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