Rice University recognizes that students may choose to use a preferred first name other than their legal name to identify themselves. The university allows a student to submit a preferred first name that will appear with or in place of the student's legal name in certain university-related records.
To set or update your preferred first name, students should first log into ESTHER. At the Main Menu, select Personal Information and follow the prompts to Preferred First Name. Step-by-step instructions can be found at Updating Personal Information. Students can enter or update their preferred first name at any time within ESTHER, regardless of whether or not they have legally changed their name. Electing to use a preferred name will not change your legal name.
Acceptable uses of preferred first names include, but are not limited to:
The university reserves the right to remove any preferred first name that is deemed to be inappropriate, derogatory or misrepresentative (e.g., is being used in an attempt to avoid legal obligations or confuse one's identity with that of another). Those who intentionally misuse the preferred first name option may be subject to disciplinary action.
Preferred first names that differ from an individual's legal first name will be used solely for Rice's internal systems. The university shall maintain a record of the student's legal name which will be used when required by university business or legal need. All external reporting of your name must, by law, use your legal name. A student's name, including both the preferred and legal first name, is considered to be directory information. Students should use their legal name when conducting university business.
The university is working to expand the use of preferred first names across its systems. We will continue to update these lists as modifications are made.
Places Where Legal First Name Must be Used
Places Where Preferred First Name is Used
Under FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, directory information may be disclosed to the public. At Rice, directory information includes, but is not limited to, the student's preferred first name and entire legal name. A student who does not want to be included in the online directory can withhold their directory information via ESTHER.
It is important to know that withholding directory information means that you will not be listed in the online directory and the university cannot confirm your student status (e.g., for the purposes of insurance verifications, graduation application, or potential employment). For information and step-by-step instructions as to how to withhold your directory information via ESTHER, please see the FERPA Student FAQ, "How do I release or withhold my directory information?"
COMING SOON - Rice community members will soon be able to have their preferred first name listed on the front of their Rice University ID. For identity verification purposes, students must use their legal name, and to facilitate this, legal name will be printed on the back of the Rice ID card. More information on this to come (in late Fall 2019).
Students who wish to change their legal name must supply supporting legal documentation and complete the Biographical and Demographical Update Form for submission to the Office of the Registrar. More information can be found at Updating Personal Information.
More information on this can be found on the FAQs page.