About HCC

Preferred First Name

Holyoke Community College recognizes that some students may prefer to use a first name other than their legal name to identify themselves.  As long as the use of a preferred first name is not for an improper purpose, the college acknowledges that a preferred first name can and should be used where possible in the course of college business and education.  Students may use a preferred first name wherever a legal name is not required.  When students enter a preferred first name on the HCC application for admission or submit a request in Online Services, the following systems and documents will be affected:

  • Student identification cards
  • Email accounts
  • Online services transcripts, class rosters and advisor lists
  • DegreeWorks
  • Moodle accounts
  • Diplomas, awards, and recognitions.

A student's legal name shall be used on all college documents, systems and communications external to the college and/or where a legal name is required. Examples include, but are not limited to:  financial aid records; student accounts records; student personally identifiable information; student directory information; payroll records; health records; official transcripts; federal immigration documents; and interactions with government agencies. To change your legal name on all college records a court order or other acceptable legal documentation is required.

This service may be modified, changed, altered, or rescinded at the discretion of HCC.

frequently asked questions


New and re-admitted students will have the option of entering a preferred first name on the application for admissions. Instructions for entering a preferred first name can be found on the application.

Current students can complete the Preferred First Name Change Form in Online Services. The form does not change a student's legal name.

To change a first name on an HCC identification card, current students must first complete the Preferred First Name Change Form in Online Services, and then go to the Assessment Center in the Frost building, room 271. Students need to bring their old ID card. Students should tell the staff member they have changed their first name through Online Services and want a new ID card showing their new preferred first name. The staff member will look up the change and issue a new ID card. Current students must turn in their old ID card. There is no fee unless the student already had an ID card and does not turn it in.

If the preferred name first initial differs from the legal/previously listed first name, it will be reflected five minutes after you submit the request, and will affect the following:

  • HCC Campus Account (Computers, Email, Moodle*, Rave)
  • Online Services, including faculty rosters and advising lists
  • DegreeWorks
  • Diplomas, awards, and recognitions.

  Note - a student will only be able to access their email using the new username and address, and others will be able to email them using both, so no email will be lost. DegreeWorks will reflect the change the next day.   *Moodle accounts will be merged within 1-2 business days. During that time, you may not be able to access all your course material. Please consider this when deciding when to submit your request.

Students can confirm that their accounts have been changed by going to the MyHCC Login Information page, located in the Personal Information menu of the HCC Online Services. There they will see their HCC username and email.

When students enter a preferred first name on the application for admission or submit a request in Online Services, the following systems and documents will be affected:

  • Student identification cards;
  • Email accounts;
  • Online Service transcripts, class rosters and advisor lists;
  • DegreeWorks;
  • Moodle accounts; and
  • Diplomas, awards, and recognitions.

A student’s legal name shall be used on all College documents, systems, and communications external to the College and/or where a legal name is required. Examples include, but are not limited to: financial aid records; student accounts records; student personally identifiable information; student directory information; payroll records; health records; official transcripts; federal immigration documents; and interactions with government agencies.

If you are entering a preferred name in Online Services after the start of the semester, it is recommended that you inform your instructors because they are not directly notified and may not notice the name change on their rosters.   

Some campus departments interact with and send reports to federal, State, and other government agencies that verify the identity of students using the legal name, in some cases Social Security Number, and other personal identifiable information which prohibits the use of preferred name.

No. Preferred name only applies to your first name. If you would like to change your middle or last name on your college record you will need to change your legal name. To change your legal name, students must complete the Change of Data Form, which can be obtained in the Student Records Office, Frost 223. More information can be found in the HCC Student Handbook under the section Changing Biographical Data.

Students may determine and designate a preferred name that they want to be known by on College documents and in college systems as specified above. The College reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it contains inappropriate or offensive language, or is being used for misrepresentation.

No. Using a preferred name is entirely optional.

Yes. To change your name back to your legal name Complete the Preferred First Name Form in Online Services using your legal name.

To change your legal name, students must complete the Change of Data Form, which can be obtained in the Student Records Office, Frost 223. More information can be found in the HCC Student Handbook under the section Changing Biographical Data.

If students have questions about either the policy or the process they can contact Tony Sbalbi, Dean of Students at 413.552.2390 or tsbalbi@hcc.edu.