Name or Gender Change
University policy states that a student's primary name in the student database must be identical to the name on the Social Security card (for US citizens or permanent residents) or passport (for international students). The registrar’s office for the student’s school or program will process name change requests for current students who are US citizens or permanent residents and who provide appropriate documentation. Students who hold an F1 or J1 visa must contact the International Office to request a name change. Once a student separates from the University, their names are not changed except in situations where the student’s identity or safety could be compromised by the presence of a previous name on University documents.
Present the following information to the registrar’s office:
- Application for change of name
- Original Social Security Card with new name OR copy of legal documentation confirming legal name change
- Government-issued photo identification (e.g. passport, driver’s license, state ID)
- Northwestern Wildcard
Once this documentation has been presented to the registrar’s office, please allow a minimum of 48 hours for the change to take effect. For students who are not able to submit documents in person, fax (847-491-8458 to the Evanston Registrar) or mail (633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208) is acceptable; all documents submitted via fax or mail must be notarized to ensure the person’s identity is verified. Electronic submission is not allowed due to the sensitive nature of private demographic information.
Current students can use CAESAR to record a “preferred” first and/or middle name, a name the student wishes to be commonly known by, if different from their legal first name. Students should navigate to the Profile tile. Preferred names are displayed on Instructor Class Rosters, Instructor Grade Rosters, Course Management System (Canvas), and the Northwestern Online Directory.
Please note: the “primary” name remains the legal name reported to Northwestern at the time of application and will continue to appear on transcripts, the Wildcard, and any documentation involving financial aid, visa or SEVIS documentation or student accounts. Students must continue to use their primary names when conducting official University business. In addition, indicating a preferred name will not change the email address that appears in the NU Online Directory. It is important to know that the primary name can only be changed by visiting the Office of the Registrar and requesting a formal name change (see above).
Current students who change gender on legal documents may request their University records be changed to reflect that by filing an application for change of demographic Information and providing government-issued documentation such as a driver’s license or passport displaying the new gender. Students who are in gender transition or no longer identify with their birth or legal gender may request their University records be changed to reflect a U or unknown gender, using the same form. No additional documentation is required for this request.