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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.

Primary Name

Primary name is used for all official university business including certification of enrollment or degree, diploma, official transcript, Cornell ID card, email and written communication.  This name initially comes from the admissions application.  You can 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.

Preferred Name

The preferred (first) name is used on faculty class lists with pictures.  Some students may choose to enter a preferred name if they have a nickname they regularly use that is different from their legal name.

Making Changes to Preferred Name

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

Email us at: