Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 90: Records

Name and Legal Sex Designation Changes

BPPM 90.75

For more information contact:
   Payroll Services

Request for Change of Legal Sex Designation
Request for Change of Name


Payroll Services is responsible for processing name and legal sex designation changes for all current and former students and employees. Processed name and legal sex designation changes are made in the University computer systems, including Workday.

Preferred or Chosen Names

Individuals may also add or change preferred or chosen first and middle names in Workday. See the Workday Modify Your Personal Information reference guide.

Note: Last names may be changed through an official name change process only. See Official Name Change.

Supporting Documentation

No supporting documentation is needed if an individual changes their first name or middle name to an initial.

Required Documentation

To change an official name or legal sex designation, the individual provides the documentation indicated below to Payroll Services.

Official Name Change

Supporting Documents

All supporting documents must reflect the new name. The individual must submit:

  • One certified legal document, or
  • A minimum of three proof of usage documents, and
  • One photo ID.
Certified Legal Documents

Acceptable legal documents include any of the following:

  • Certified copy of a court order
  • Certified copy of a marriage certificate
  • Certified copy of a dissolution decree
  • Unexpired passport

The legal document must reflect the new name in full.

Proof of Usage Documents

If a certified legal document is not available, an individual must demonstrate usage by providing proof that they are the person whose name is being changed.

A minimum of three of the following documents may be submitted as proof of name usage:

  • Current driver’s license
  • State-issued ID card
  • Military ID card
  • CougarCard
  • Birth certificate
  • Social security card
  • Voter registration card
  • Car registration
  • Insurance card
Photo ID

At least one of the supporting documents must include the individual’s date of birth, a photograph, and a signature of their new name.

Legal Sex Designation Change

To change a legal sex designation, an individual must submit:

  • A completed Request for Change of Sex Designation form (see Forms), and
  • One of the following supporting documents:
    • Current driver’s license
    • State-issued ID card
    • Military ID card
    • U.S. passport
    • Birth certificate
    • Court order
    • U.S. permanent resident card (I-551)
    • U.S. employment authorization card (I-766)
    • Washington Department of Licensing Change of Gender Designation Request

For questions regarding the WSU Request for Change of Legal Sex Designation form contact Payroll Services; telephone 509-335-9575; e-mail

For questions or concerns related to discrimination on the basis of sex and/or gender or gender identity/expression contact Compliance and Civil Rights (CCR); telephone 509-335-8288; e-mail

Students, staff and faculty may also contact the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC) for support and resources related to legal sex designation changes; telephone 509-335-8841; e-mail GIESORC.

Request Forms

The Request for Change of Name and the Request for Change of Legal Sex Designation forms are available in PDF format. See Forms.

International Students and Scholars

An international student or scholar requesting a name change must present an unexpired passport which reflects his or her new name, in addition to submitting a name change request form and photo ID (see Required Documentation). The presentation of an unexpired passport ensures compliance within the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Submitting Change Requests

Individuals may submit the Request for Name Change form and/or Request for Change of legal Sex Designation forms and supporting documents to Payroll Services using one of the following methods:

  • In-person at the Payroll Services office, French Administration Building 236, WSU Pullman
  • By postal mail to Payroll Services, PO Box 641024, Pullman, WA 99164-1024
  • By fax to Payroll Services; fax 509-335-1472
  • By electronic mail to
    Note: E-mailing may not be secure or encrypted.

See Supporting Documents and Legal Sex Designation Change for lists of acceptable documents for each type of change.

Records Retention

Payroll retains the original documentation for name and legal sex designation changes according to WSU retention policy.

Diplomas and Academic Records

Students’ official names (listed as Primary Name in myWSU) are the source of names printed on diplomas and academic records, including transcripts.

Students must submit an official name change request, including documentation, to alter how their name appears on their academic records. (See Official Name Change.) Note: Changing preferred or chosen name will not alter how names appear on diplomas or academic records.

Students wishing to change their first or middle name or add special characters, such as accent marks and umlauts, to an existing first, middle, or last name on their diploma must contact the WSU Graduations department to request further assistance; telephone 509-335-7724; e-mail WSU Graduations. Any other change to the diploma name requires an official name change. (See Official Name Change.)

Ordering New Diplomas

After a name change has been processed, a student who holds a degree from Washington State University may order a new diploma.

Bachelor’s and Professional Degrees

Bachelor’s and professional degree holders may contact the Registrar’s Office to order new diplomas; e-mail WSU Graduations; telephone 509-335-7724.

Masters and Doctoral Degrees

Masters and doctoral degree holders may contact the Graduate School to order new diplomas; e-mail Graduate School; telephone 509-335-1446.

Coding Conventions

WSU observes the following coding conventions for names.

Names are entered into the system as follows:

Surname, comma, first name, space, middle name, comma, suffix

Example:  Brown,Thomas James,Jr

Character Limit

The file includes the entire name if the name including spacing does not exceed 32 characters.

  • If the name exceeds 32 characters, replace the middle name with a middle initial.
  • If the name still exceeds 32 characters, abbreviate the first name. Retain at least the first and middle initials.


Do not code a period after an initial, abbreviation, or suffix.

Name Suffix

Limit coding of special suffices to Jr; Sr; or III. Code a comma before the suffix but do not code a period after the suffix.

Examples:  Neill,Ron L,Jr and Nixon,Richard D,III

St. in the Surname

Code all two-part surnames commencing with Saint, Sainte or St as follows:

ST, space, remainder of surname, comma, first name, space, middle name or initial, comma, suffix (if applicable)

Example:  St John,Lee L

Revisions:  December 2020 (Rev. 559); Aug. 2019 (Rev 534);Nov. 2018 (Rev. 523); Nov. 2014 (Rev. 440); May 2004 (Rev. 244); June 2002 (Rev. 209); July 1989 (Rev. 77); Dec. 1987 (Rev. 69); June 1983 (Rev. 52).