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Names and Name Changes

Cornell's student information system allows a student to use two names: primary name and preferred name.

Student Primary Name

Primary name is used for official university business including certification of enrollment or degree, diploma, official transcript, and other external documents, systems and reports. Primary name initially comes from the admissions application.  View your primary name by logging in (NetID required) to Student Essentials.

Making Changes to Primary Name

To update or change your Primary Name on your student record, complete the Name Change Form and bring it to the Office of the University Registrar in B-07 Day Hall with photo ID, and a copy of the following:

  • US Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Court-issued Document (such as a marriage or divorce certificate)

A state issued driver’s license is not an acceptable form of proof for a name change.

If you are not in Ithaca, you can fill out the form, copy your documentation and mail (address at left) or fax it (607-255-6262).

For international students on a Visa, your name must reflect the name that appears on your Visa. Contact the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) at or 607-255-5243 for assistance with updating your name.

Student Preferred Name

As a student, you are able to designate a preferred first and middle name, which is:

  • a name that you can designate to be used on certain University-related records or documents in place of your primary name
  • a name that you wish to be known or identified by in the classroom (and elsewhere on campus)
  • different from your primary name

As long as the use of this preferred name is not for the purposes of misrepresentation, Cornell University acknowledges that a “preferred name” may be used where possible on certain University records and communications. See the Student Preferred Name Summary for more information.

Making Changes to Preferred Name

Students may change their preferred name at any time. To edit your preferred name:

  • Go to Student Essentials (NetID required)
  • Click on Names (under Personal Information)
  • Click the edit button next to your preferred name


Contact Information

Office of the University Registrar
B07 Day Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-4232

Mon-Fri 8:00-4:15

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