Preferred Name Policy

Hofstra University Student Name Policy

Hofstra University recognizes that students may prefer to identify themselves by a First Name and/or Middle Name other than their Legal Name. For this reason, effective immediately in Summer 2017, students may request the use of a “Preferred Name” where possible in the course of University business and education, provided the name is not for inappropriate purposes, such as misrepresentation or fraud. The request is made using the form discussed below. This is an opportunity afforded to all students and requesting use of a preferred name does not indicate that a student is a member of a particular group.

  • A Preferred Name is a first and/or middle name a student wishes to be known by in the Hofstra community that is different from a student’s Legal Name.
  • A Legal Name is the full name that appears on an individual’s passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, U.S. Social Security Card, or other government issued identification.
  • Hofstra’s policy covers Preferred First and Middle Names. Surnames can be changed only with a legal name change. For more information about legal name changes, please contact Student Financial Services and the Registrar Suite, 206 Memorial Hall, via email at registrar[at]hofstra.edu, online at www.hofstra.edu/sfs/registrar, or by phone (516) 463-8000, option 2.

Students may choose to identify a Preferred First and/or Middle Name in addition to the Legal Name. To request the use of a Preferred First and/or Middle Name:

  1. Print and complete the form available at www.hofstra.edu/sfs/preferredname
  2. Submit the form to the Registrar via e-mail to registrar[at]hofstra.edu, or in person during business hours in 206 Memorial Hall.

Apart from the form, no formal documentation is required to support a Name request. A request for a name will not be approved if it contains inappropriate or offensive language, or is otherwise inappropriate, such as for purpose of misrepresentation or fraud. Students will receive an e-mail sent to their Pride account, notifying them when their Preferred Name has been updated in the University’s system. In the event that a request is denied for one of the reasons listed above, the student will be notified in writing and may receive a Referral to Community Standards. The University reserves the right to remove a Preferred Name if used inappropriately, including if used for misrepresentation or fraud.

Upon approval, the student’s Preferred Name may be used in many University contexts, including class rosters and Blackboard, as described below. The University will endeavor to display preferred names to the University community where feasible, except where the use of the legal name is necessitated by University business and/or legal requirements (some examples are listed below). In the event that your Preferred Name is not displaying correctly, please contact the Office of the Registrar. If members of the University community do not use your Preferred Name, please communicate to them directly your preference that you be called by your Preferred Name. Should members of the University community have any issues regarding Preferred Name implementation, please contact the Dean of Students Office. The University will periodically review the areas where a Preferred Name is used, and reserves the right to make changes to this Policy and/or the areas where a Preferred Name appears.

Examples Where Preferred Names will be Displayed
The University will endeavor to display preferred names to the University community where feasible, except where the use of the legal name is necessitated by University business and/or legal requirements. Examples include:

  • Advising rosters (when systems permit)
  • Blackboard
  • Blackboard discussion groups
  • Class Rosters
  • Grade rosters
  • HofCard (at student’s option)
  • Pride e-mail
  • Residence Life

Examples Where Legal Names will be Displayed
A Legal Name will be used in business and other processes or related systems that require use of a Legal Name. The most common areas where Hofstra will use a student’s Legal Name are:

  • Any Payroll related documents
  • Athletics Rosters
  • Diplomas
  • Department of Public Safety
  • Employment documents (e.g. timesheets/paychecks)
  • Enrollment/degree verification
  • Financial Aid
  • International Student Affairs Documentation
  • Transcripts
  • Admissions Letters

Preferred First Name and Legal Name
An approved Preferred Name does not change a Legal Name. For more information about Legal Name changes, please contact Student Financial Services and the Registrar Suite, 206 Memorial Hall, via email at registrar[at]hofstra.edu, online at www.hofstra.edu/sfs/registrar, or by phone (516) 463-8000, option 2. See also resources listed below.

Access to a Legal Name at Hofstra
Access to a student’s Legal Name will be limited to those with administrative need.

Preferred Name and the Student ID Card
Replacing a student identification card (HofCard) to display a Preferred Name is an option for students, but is not a requirement. However, if for any reason, a student replaces a HofCard after designating a Preferred Name, the Preferred Name will appear on the HofCard. (Note, Student ID cards with Preferred Names may not be used as legal identification for the student.)

In order to receive a new HofCard with a Preferred Name, a student must follow these steps:

  1. Make a Preferred Name request by printing and completing the Preferred Name Change Request form available at www.hofstra.edu/sfs/preferredname, and submitting it via e-mail to the Student Financial Services and Registrar Suite at registrar[at]hofstra.edu, or in person during business hours in 206 Memorial Hall.
  2. Upon notification that a Preferred Name has been updated in Banner, go to Hofstra Card Services in Room 110 of the Student Center, to obtain a replacement card. Students will not be charged for the first replacement HofCard that is issued as a result of an approved Preferred Name Change Request. Subsequent replacement cards follow standard replacement guidelines.

For More Information:
Questions about requesting a Preferred Name may be directed to the Office of Intercultural Engagement and Inclusion at iei[at]hofstra.edu, or the Title IX Officer for Student Issues at StudentTitleIX[at]hofstra.edu.

For information about legal name change procedures in New York State, see http://nyc ourts.gov/CourtHelp/NameChange/index.shtml

Important Note: This policy does not form a contract or confer rights of any kind and Hofstra University reserves the right at its discretion to change or rescind any of the statements, procedures, regulations, or conditions contained herein without prior notice.

Rev. 12/2019