How To: Update Your Preferred Name

Even if you are a student, CUNY employees (faculty or staff), must contact their main campus’ HR office to follow the proper procedure to update legal or preferred names.

Brooklyn College staff and faculty can refer to these resources for guidance on name changes.

Preferred Name

CUNY recognizes the importance of a name change. A preferred name is not a legal name but is generally used to change how others refer to the student. For example, student Jonathan Doe may prefer the name John or student Mary Jane Doe may want to be referred to as Mary Jane or Jane, rather than Mary.

Preferred names are not limited to variations of a student’s legal name; for example, student Jennifer may request the preferred name David due to a change in gender identity and be unable to present the documents necessary to secure a court-ordered or common-law name change.

Students may use a preferred name on all documents and records other than official documents. Documents and records that may display a preferred name include course rosters, student identification cards, and student e-mail addresses as well as honors, awards, and prizes issued by the university. A preferred name will not be reflected on a student’s diploma or transcript.

Preferred names may only be updated for students that have attended from Spring 2013 and onward.

Update Your Preferred Name in CUNYfirst

Current students should update their preferred name in CUNYfirst. To update your preferred name in CUNYfirst, follow the steps below.

  • Login to CUNYfirst.
  • Click on the Student Center tile.
  • Click on the Profile tile.
  • Under Names, click on the plus sign.
  • Update your preferred name, then click Save.

Students may not change their preferred last name.

Your preferred name will now be listed on your account. Your name on your digital ID card, class rosters, etc. will be updated. Preferred names are not listed on college transcripts or diplomas.

Update Your Preferred Name via the Personal Data Request Form

If desired, you can submit the Personal Data Change Request Form, to update your preferred name. You must complete the PREFERRED NAME REQUEST section of the form.

The completed and signed form can be submitted to the Enrollment Services Center at 102 West Quad Center. The request will be processed within 5-7 business days.

Removing Your Preferred Name

If you need to remove your preferred name, email


For questions on this process or to follow up on your request, reach out to

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