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EIU Office of the Registrar


Beginning August 1, 2015, any individual at Eastern Illinois University can indicate their preferred first name to the university community regardless of whether or not they have legally changed their name. 

Choosing a preferred first name in the BANNER system will automatically change which name appears in many internal locations such as class lists, and grade reports.  

Places Where Preferred First Name is Used

  • Panther Card
  • PAWS (select screens only)
  • Email account display name (this will take 24 hours and does not alter netid)
  • EIU Online
  • Degree Works (both legal and preferred names show)
  • Grade Reports
  • Advisee Lists
  • Diploma (preferred or legal name can be indicated on graduation application)
  • Directory Listing (unless you have a Request to Withhold  Directory Information in place)
  • Dean's List

Places Where Legal First Name is Used

  • Student Accounts
  • Financial Aid
  • Responses to enrollment inquiries such as verification requests (unless you have a Request to Withhold Directory Information in place)
  • Transcript
  • College of Education teacher licensure records
  • Governmental employment forms

Preferred first name is used solely for some EIU internal systems; external systems (such as FASFA, official transcripts, enrollment verifications, etc.) will continue to use legal first name.

How to Indicate Your Preferred First Name

To indicate your preferred first name log into PAWS, and click on the Personal Information tab and select the Change Preferred First Name link. Your request will be reviewed by the Office of the Registrar. Please note that names including offensive language or those used for purposes of misrepresentation will be disallowed. Once your request has been reviewed and processed, you will receive a confirmation e-mail to your EIU e-mail address.

Is a Preferred First Name already appearing?

Some students provided a “nickname” when completing their original application to EIU and may find the nickname they provided appearing already as their preferred first name. If you want to remove that, or to alter it, you can do so by following the same steps described above to indicate your preferred first name.

Examples of Preferred Names

  • Your name is William Smith, but you go by Bill Smith. You may set up "Bill" as your preferred first name. Your name is then displayed as "Smith, Bill." 
  • Your legal name is Mary Sue Smith. You go by Mary Sue, but the university directories list your name as "Smith, Mary." You may set up "Mary Sue" as your preferred first name. Your name is then displayed as "Smith, Mary Sue."

Staff with an administrative need (e.g., police, health, and financial services; deans’ office staff) will see both legal and preferred first names. 

Report any problems with this process to the Registrar’s Office (217-581-3511 or

Changing Your Panther Card

One you have received e-mail confirmation that your preferred first name has been approved you can have your Panther Card reissued. The replacement fee for a new card is $10 (charged to your student account), ONLY if the prior card is returned. If you do not have your previous card, the fee is $20 (charged to the student account), in addition, if you are using meal plans or dining dollars, you must visit the Housing Department to have the new card activated.

Keeping Legal Name Private

If individuals do not wish EIU to share their legal name with external organizations they have the option under FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) to submit a Request to Withhold Directory Information, which revokes the University’s right to share any of your information with any outside source. The form is available at files/requestwitholddirectory.pdf and must be printed, signed and returned to the Office of the Registrar, Room 1220 Old Main. 

It is important to know that choosing to submit a Request to Withhold Directory Information means individuals will not be listed in the directory, will not be included in the commencement program, and the University cannot confirm the student status (e.g., for the purposes of credit card and insurance verifications, etc.). For more information, please contact the Office of the Registrar’s Office at 217-581-3511.  

It is not possible to change the legal name to preferred in the EIU system yet list the legal name in the directory.

Related Pages

Contact Information

Office of the Registrar

600 Lincoln Avenue
1220 Old Main Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-3511
(217) 581-3831

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