Preferred First Name

Preferred First Name

Cal State LA recognizes that some students may wish to use a Preferred First Name other than their legal name to identify themselves. The university acknowledges that a Preferred First Name can and should be used where possible in the course of university business and education.

About requesting a Preferred First Name Change

Use the Request Preferred First Name Change feature in GET to formally request a Preferred First Name be used by the University.

If approved, your Preferred First Name will be used:

  • In the university directory
  • In campus communications
  • In the MyCalStateLA Student Center
  • In Canvas as your Display Name
  • On class rosters
  • On your Golden Eagle One Card
  • In reporting

Note there are circumstances where the use of the legal name is required. For example, some records, such as paychecks, legal documents, and transcripts require use of a legal name; in such circumstances, the university is not able to use Preferred First Name.

An approved Preferred First Name may be used on a diploma and in the Commencement program if requested by you on a graduation application, otherwise your primary (legal) name shall be used.

Inappropriate use of the Preferred First Name, including but not limited to misrepresentation or attempting to avoid legal obligation, may be cause for denying the request.

How to request a Preferred First Name in GET

  1. Log into GET and navigate to the Student Center (Main Menu > Self Service > Student Center).

  2. Under the Personal Information heading, click on Names. Screenshot of Student Center with Names link highlighted

  3. Under the pref names tab under Personal Information, click on the Request Preferred First Name Change button. Screenshot of Preferred First Names screen with Request Preferred First Name Change button highlighted
  4. Enter your proposed Preferred First Name and click the button marked Save. Screenshot of Preferred First Name Change Request screen with Preferred First Name Save button highlighted
The processing time for a Preferred First Name request is approximately three business days. If your request is approved you will see it being used in the GET Student Center. If your request is not approved you will receive an email in your inbox from [email protected] stating the reason your request was denied.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Preferred First Name

What is a Preferred First Name?
A Preferred First Name is a name that you choose to be used in place of your legal first name in appropriate university systems. Students may not designate a preferred middle or last name.

Where will my Preferred First Name appear?
Your Preferred First Name will appear in many places used by instructors, advisors and support staff including:

  • In the university directory
  • In campus communications
  • In the MyCalStateLA Student Center
  • In Canvas as your Display Name
  • On class rosters
  • On your Golden Eagle One Card
  • In reporting

Where will my legal name appear?
Your legal name will be used where it is required by University business or legal need such as:

  • Enrollment Verification
  • Transcripts
  • Diplomas (unless otherwise requested on graduation application)
  • Financial Aid and Scholarships documents
  • Payroll and Other Financial Matters
  • Any legal document produced by the University
  • Federal and state reporting

Are all Preferred First Name requests approved?
To protect the University and to promote a positive campus community, requests will be reviewed for appropriateness. Preferred First Names cannot be nicknames, cannot contain foul or inappropriate language, nor can they be used for purposes of misrepresentation. All requests will be reviewed by the Records Office.

Do I have to use or enter a Preferred First Name?
No, by default your legal first name will be used. A Preferred First Name is an accommodation for students who wish to be known by something other than their legal/official first name.

How Do I Change my Legal Name?
To submit a change of legal name, you must provide all required documentation and complete a Bio/Demo Change form.

I've got an approved Preferred Name; how do I get it on my Golden Eagle One Card?
Information about card replacement can be found on the Golden Eagle One Card website.

Name Change Resources

Your legal name is the identity by which you are officially known. A court-ordered name change allows you to have a new legal name recognized by all government agencies. To change a legal name, file a petition with the courts and allow up to three months for approval. More information may be found here:
Once you have received your decree making your name change official, you will need to update your name with a few agencies to avoid any confusion regarding your new name.

Social Security Administration
To change your name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) you must take your court order (decree) to an SSA office, fill out an SS-5 form (available at, and request that they change your name. The closest Social Security Office to campus is: 215 N Soto Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033.

Driver’s License and California ID
To change your name on your California driver’s license or DMV identity card, you will need to submit a certified copy of a court-ordered name change and fill out a form DL-44. You can pick up a copy of the form at any DMV location (it is not available online). Once the form is filled out and signed, take it to the DMV and pay the fee. You will receive a temporary license with your new information. Your official license or ID will be mailed to you.
The closest DMV location to campus is: 3529 N Mission Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90031.

To change the legal name on your US passport, you may be eligible to renew by mailing a DS-82 to the State Department. Please consult their website for the most up-to-date information and requirements.