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Preferred Name FAQ

Do I have to enter a preferred name?

No, you do not have to enter a preferred name. This is here as a service for people who wish to be known by something other than their primary/legal name.  If you regularly use your primary/legal name, then please do not enter a preferred name. If you enter a preferred name that matches your primary/legal name, the preferred name will not be displayed.

How do I set a preferred name?

Instructions for setting a preferred name are available here.

Can I use my preferred name for everything at the University?

Preferred name will be used only in cases where legal name is not absolutely necessary. Examples of where your legal name are necessary include, but are not limited to, financial aid documents, payroll, transcripts, diplomas, and federal immigration documents. In some cases if you indicate a preferred name, it may be necessary to clarify that your preferred name is different than your legal/primary name. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, official interactions with police, security, and/or law enforcement, and verification of medical records. 

Students' preferred name would be used in the following places:

  • Drake ID card
  • Residence hall roster (for on-campus students)
  • Blackboard listing
  • Class list with photos
  • Advisor list with photos
  • Email

Students' legal name would continue to be used in the following places, including but not limited to:

  • Transcript
  • Diploma
  • Document with the Office of Student Financial Planning
  • Official University Records
  • Visa Verification

How many times can I change my preferred name?

Changing your primary/legal name in University systems to a preferred name can have ripple effects throughout your day-to-day experiences. Changing your preferred name more than once can lead to confusion regarding your identity, challenges in customer service, and/or the interruption of your ability to access some University systems.

Can I change my preferred name to whatever I want?

Preferred names are limited to alphabetical characters (A-Z and a-z), a space or hyphen (-). Your preferred name will appear exactly as you enter it in the portal.

It is a violation of the Drake Preferred Name Policy to indicate a preferred name for the purposes of misrepresentation or fraud. Fraud and misrepresentation may also violate Drake Student Code of Conduct.

Once entered, a user's preferred first name may take up to two business days to reach affected systems. New preferred names are reviewed each weekday by a university staff member. 

What happens if someone enters an inappropriate preferred name?

The University may disallow or remove a preferred name if it contains inappropriate or offensive language, or is being used for misrepresentation. As a result of the removal of the potentially inappropriate preferred name, the user's primary/legal name will return as the default name displayed on affected University systems.

Should a Drake ID card have already been issued displaying the inappropriate preferred name:

  • Services connected to the Drake ID card with the inappropriate preferred name will be suspended and the card invalidated.
  • The cardholder will be asked to surrender the invalid Drake ID card.
  • A new Drake ID card will be issued to the cardholder at their own cost (replacement Drake ID cards cost $25.00).
  • For students, refusal to surrender the invalid card may be violation of Drake Student Code of Conduct- Misuse of an Identification Card (Appendix L) and cases may be forwarded to the Dean of Students Office.

Who at the university will see both legal and preferred first name?

Staff with an administrative need (e.g. public safety, health center, financial aid, dean’s office staff), will see both legal and preferred first names. Similar to GPA’s and other sensitive information these staff are trained on the implications of this access.

Will my preferred name appear on my Drake ID card?

Beginning in Spring of 2017, your preferred name may appear on your Drake ID card. In order for your name to appear on your Drake ID card, you must have already indicated your preferred name. Note that this change may take up to two business days to take full effect. 

If your preferred name has been properly entered via MyDUSIS, then you may request a Drake ID card with your preferred name indicated on the front face.

If you already have a Drake ID card and wish to have a new Drake ID card with your preferred name, then you may visit the Drake Student Services Center in Carnegie Hall. You will be asked to surrender your old Drake ID card. One replacement Drake ID cards is provided free of charge with the surrender of your old Drake ID card.

How do I delete my preferred name?

If you have entered a preferred name and later decide that you would prefer to use your primary/legal name everywhere on campus, simply follow the instructions here and delete your preferred name. Note: it may take up to two business days for the change to be registered in campus systems.

How does the preferred name policy affect F-1 & J-1 visa students?

Preferred name is for use within the university community. International students may feel free to select a preferred name for on-campus use. However, this does not apply in situations where one's legal name is required to be used. For the purpose of F-1 or J-1 student visa status, the legal name must be used on I-20s and DS-2019s. An individual's legal name is what appears in the passport.

I have more questions about my preferred name and/ or the Preferred Name Policy.  Whom can I contact?

  • If you have questions about setting up your preferred name, please call (515) 271-2025 or email
  • If you have other questions about the policy, or would like to talk with someone to find out if indicating a preferred name would meet your needs, please contact any of the following:
University Calendar 
University News