Fall colors with MSU sign.

Your name is your choice.  Beginning October 21, 2021, Montana State University will offer a chosen name service to students, faculty, and staff who wish to use a “Chosen Name” throughout their time at MSU.

Please note that users who adopt a chosen name will temporarily be unable to log into Brightspace/D2L. Once your request is processed, the D2L Team will automatically be notified of your name change and be prompted to make the necessary changes to D2L. In most  cases, your access will only be disrupted for a couple of hours. If this disruption lasts longer than two hours or if your access is time sensitive, please contact the D2L team by phone at 406-994-3255 or email [email protected] before 5:00 PM. If for some reason, this issue is not resolved prior to the close of business on the day your chsoen name was processed, it will automatically resolve itself overnight as Brightspace/D2L synchronizes with Banner.

General Statement 

The Chosen Name Service allows members of the Montana State University community to use names other than their legal names to identify themselves in times and places where a legal name is not required. 

Montana State University campuses will use an approved chosen name by current students, faculty, and staff, in its databases, mailings, and in academic and professional settings in accordance with these terms and conditions. In systems that require a legal name, we will use that name instead. 


Montana State University recognizes that some members of the campus community use names other than their legal names (“chosen names”) to identify themselves.  The goal of these terms and conditions is to create a consistent name experience across University systems and use of one’s chosen name.  

Permissible Use of Chosen Names

Except for prohibited uses of chosen names, members of the University community are provided the opportunity to use a chosen name to identify themselves.  A chosen name may consist of a first name, middle name, and/or last name.  It is solely the responsibility of individuals using a chosen name to communicate the name change to individuals internal and external to the University as necessary. 

Prohibited Use of Chosen Name

Chosen names shall not be used for the purpose of misrepresentation, avoiding legal obligations, or otherwise in any manner that violates University policies or federal, state, or local laws. Chosen names that are not administratively possible to implement, including, without limitation, symbols or images, are prohibited. The University reserves the right to deny or remove any chosen name without prior notice to the individual due to misuse or abuse, including, but not limited to, misrepresentation, attempting to avoid legal obligations, the use of obscene content or language which otherwise violates campus policies, or names that will disrupt the academic or work environment of the University. 

Display of Chosen Names

  In recognition that the University is a dynamic and changing environment, it is difficult to accurately indicate all locations that chosen name will be displayed.  The University will make reasonable efforts to display chosen name where appropriate and in accordance with these terms and conditions. The chosen name will appear in many internal locations, including but not limited to the following: 

  • Student or Employee ID Card (optional)
  • Campus Directory
  • Student and Employee Information System
  • Learning Management System
  • Degree Planning System
  • Class lists
  • Grade Roster
  • University Email
  • Many University communications
  • MyInfo
  • Student and employee profiles

Display of Legal Names 

The legal name must be used in the following places, as legally or operationally required: 

  • Background Checks
  • Degree Verification
  • Employment Verification
  • Enrollment Verification
  • Federal and State Agency Reporting
  • Financial Aid
  • Human Resources Benefit and Retirement Information
  • Official Academic Transcript
  • Paycheck and W2
  • SEVIS (Immigration status reporting)
  • Student Accounts
  • Student Employment

Student and Employee ID Cards  

Once the Chosen Name change has been processed, students or employees may optionally visit the ID card office to obtain a new ID card displaying their chosen name.  Normal replacement fees will apply.  

Note: Students or employees who choose to replace their ID card with one displaying their chosen first name are advised that the ID card with the chosen name shall not be used for employment verification or other uses requiring proof of legal identity. 

Email Address 

Individuals who elect a chosen name will have their University email address updated with their chosen name.  


Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a student’s name, including one’s chosen name, may be disclosed to the public as “directory information” unless the student opts not to permit such disclosure. 

To Whom Does This Service Apply

Students, Faculty, Staff 

Please follow the links below for more information.



NAH students
Chosen Name information for students.


Chaofu Lu in lab
Chosen Name Information for MSU employees.