Chosen and Legal Name

Chosen Name

A chosen name can be an important part of a person’s identity, and the University recognizes that students or employees may want to use a name that is different from their legal name. To accommodate this preference, the University has established a policy that allows students and employees to indicate their chosen first names to the University community, even if they have not changed their legal name.

Binghamton University’s chosen-name policy allows any student or employee to identify a chosen first name, in addition to the individual’s legal name, in Binghamton University information systems. Chosen names will be displayed in lieu of the legal name in University systems that do not have a legal requirement. Binghamton University students and employees must still be able to provide government-issued identification with their legal names when required. 

How do I add a chosen name?

Students: Log into MyBinghamton and select the "User Profile" link on the left-hand side, then click Personal Information


Review the information contained in the User Profile


To add or change a chosen name click Edit in the top right corner


Move the cursor to the Preferred First Name field


Enter the Chosen Name


Click Update


Employees: Visit Human Resources (AD-244) to request the Chosen Name Change Form.

Important note for education, nursing, pharmacy and social work students: If you interact with students or patients or are interested in an internship or placement in a patient-care area governed by New York state education or health law, licensing regulations may limit the use of a chosen name in place of a legal name. Before submitting a chosen name, you must speak with your dean’s office regarding limitations.

Please note: A chosen name submission is only needed if your chosen first name differs from your legal first name.

Restrictions to chosen-name policy

  • Chosen names cannot be used for the purpose of misrepresentation, avoiding legal obligations or in any manner that violates University policies or federal, state or local laws.
  • Chosen names that are not administratively possible to implement — including symbols or images — are prohibited.  
  • The University reserves the right to remove any chosen name without prior notice to the individual due to misuse or abuse of this chosen-name policy, including but not limited to, misrepresentation, attempting to avoid legal obligations or the use of highly offensive or derogatory names.

Chosen names will be used in the following systems and records:

  • University ID card
  • Card access system
  • portal
  • MyCourses
  • Banner class roster
  • STARREZ (Residential Life database)
  • DegreeWorks
  • Starfish
  • New Student Orientation databases
  • Binghamton University Public Directory, unless a FERPA information block has been requested
  • Email display name
  • Meal plan, library and health services display name
  • Human Resources self-service and online time and attendance (employees)

Legal Name Update

Current students may update their legal name by completing the Legal Name Update form and providing one of the following to the Registrar’s Office:

  • Marriage License
  • Court documents indicating the legal name change
  • Passport displaying updated name
  • Driver’s license displaying updated name
  • Social Security card displaying update name

Please note: Students who present a marriage license or court documents must also present a form of photo identification. Additionally, legal name changes are only made post degree conferral in cases of a legal sex change.

Legal names will continue to be used for official University records, including but not limited to:

  • International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) documentation
  • Student Accounts documentation
  • Financial aid
  • Federal requests for information
  • National Student Clearinghouse (NSC)
  • Transcripts
  • Athletics rosters where necessary for NCAA compliance
  • University Police Department
  • Health Services records, health insurance
  • Human Resources employment records, employee reports and payroll

Definitions for chosen-name policy

Chosen Name: A name someone wishes to be known by in the University community that is different from the individual’s legal name. Binghamton’s policy covers chosen first names only. Surnames (last names/family names) and primary names can only be changed in our records when a student or employee has obtained a legal name change.

Surname, family name, last name: The portion of a personal name that indicates a person’s family.

Primary name: The primary identifier when a person has only one name.

Legal name: The name that appears on an individual’s government-issued identification, i.e., passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, United States Social Security Card or Permanent Resident Card.