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Preferred/Chosen Name Policy (Effective Fall 2020)

What is a Preferred/Chosen Name?
A preferred/chosen name is a name that you choose to be called that is different from your legal name. Stony Brook University allows you do this by setting a preferred/chosen name through your SOLAR account. When you select a preferred/chosen name, it will appear instead of your legal name where possible in some university related records, documents and systems. Your legal name will appear on all other University records and documents.

What is Stony Brook University’s Preferred/Chosen Names Policy?
It is the policy of the University to provide all members of our community with the opportunity to use a preferred/chosen name that is different from their legal name, where possible. In some instances, the University is obliged to use a person's legal name and cannot use a preferred/chosen name. Such instances include but are not limited to: employment and payroll records, health insurance records, billing records, financial aid documents, reimbursements, travel and purchasing authorizations, official transcripts, etc. 

The University reserves the right to remove a preferred/chosen name if it is used inappropriately, including but not limited to: for the purpose of misrepresentation, to be disruptive, or to attempt to avoid a legal obligation. 

Student's legal name will remain unchanged in all University-related systems. Students who wish to change their legal name can obtain the needed form on the Forms page of the Registrar's website.

Who Can Set a Preferred/Chosen Name?
Preferred/Chosen names are set using SOLAR. Therefore, you as a Stony Brook University student can set, change, and/or delete your preferred/chosen name.

How Do I Set My Preferred/Chosen Name?

You may set your preferred/chosen name by logging into your SOLAR account. Under Security and Personal Data, select Names. Click the edit button next to the "Preferred Name" type. Update your First name as you wish. When finished click the SAVE button.

Preferred/Chosen Names FAQ:

Can I print my preferred/chosen name on my diploma?   

Yes, students may elect to print their preferred/chosen name on the diploma.

Important Note for Students Who Attend or Plan to Attend Professional Schools (e.g. Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Social Work, Health Technology and Management, Law, etc.): Before opting to print your preferred/chosen name on your SBU diploma, please take into consideration that professional licensing requirements often require you to use your legal name. For example, application and licensure and federal employment/guidelines require the use of the legal name. Therefore, not using your legal name on a diploma may result in the rejection, delay, scrutiny, and/or requirements for additional proof of identification associated with any applications for employment, licensure, credentialing, visa applications, and/or other processes that require verification of your identity.

Important Note For All Students: Although SBU considers the diploma to be a ceremonial document, some countries may require your diploma (in conjunction with your official transcript) for various legal, immigration, and employment purposes. Choosing to print your preferred/chosen name on your diploma may result in unforeseen complications due to the discrepancy between your diploma and other documents (e.g. transcript, passport, birth certificate, etc.) that contain your legal name. To avoid such complications, we recommend printing your legal name on your diploma if you plan to live, study, or work outside of the United States.

Can anyone update my preferred/chosen name?
No. Only you as the student with access to your SOLAR account can update your preferred/chosen name.

How do I set my preferred/chosen name?
Log into SOLAR and go to Security and Personal Data, then Names and select the edit button next to the "Preferred Name" type. When finished updating click the SAVE button.

Can I set my preferred/chosen name to whatever I want?
You may set your preferred/chosen name to whatever you would like. However, the University reserves the right to remove a preferred/chosen name if determined inappropriate.

Can I use my preferred/chosen name for everything at the University?
No. Your preferred/chosen name can only be used and will appear where possible in some university related records, documents and systems.  For other University records and documents, your legal name will appear.

How do I correct or change my legal name at the University?


  • Complete Name Change Form found under the General section of the Forms page on the Registrar's website and submit it to the Registrar’s Office with appropriate and required documentation.


  • Contact Human Resource Services at:

    390 Administration Building

    Tel: 631-632-6161

    Fax: 631-632-6168