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Google and Microsoft Service Changes at Virginia Tech

Information about changes to Microsoft and Google storage and services, email, and calendaring at Virginia Tech.

four groups of people using computers for work and communication

Changes to storage, email, and calendar services underway

The era of 'low-cost' or 'no-cost' online file storage is ending. Both Google and Microsoft have made significant changes to their online storage cost models for higher education institutions, including Virginia Tech.

As a result, the university is making changes to its Google and Microsoft services. The elements of the new service plan are outlined within this page. 

While these changes are going to present challenges for all of us, the Virginia Tech community must take steps to find the right balance between needed file storage and acceptable costs.

Changes for each user group are outlined below. Please see the timeline of changes for important dates.

All users

  • Access to the Google Photos app at Virginia Tech has ended. Users can no longer access the app through their Virginia Tech Google account. Users may still export a copy of their photos, but cannot delete content from the app.  

Refer to the Google Photos export guide for more details.


  • Alumni email service will remain on Gmail. Note: 2023 graduate email accounts have temporarily migrated to Exchange Online, as these individuals retain the 'student' affiliation in Virginia Tech systems for a period of time.
  • Alumni will receive email service only, with 5 gigabytes (GB) of storage space within the Gmail app.
  • Email addresses will not change (you will keep your ""' address).
  • All other Google services have been discontinued. For details on the alumni Google benefit, read this article.

Refer to the alumni information page for more details. 


  • Email: All employees are now using Exchange Online for email and calendars.
  • Google Workspace storage: allocations are now set by each employee's department. Employees will receive a minimum of 5 GB Google storage.
  • Shared Drive storage is now managed by departments. New Google Shared Drives can be created by request
  • Employees retain Microsoft 365 services and most Google Workspace apps, including Docs, Sheets, Forms, Sites, etc., as well as Google Groups. 
  • Microsoft storage: coming in 2025, employees will receive up to 25 GB baseline storage in Microsoft 365 (date of these changes to be determined). Storage allocations will be managed by departments.

Refer to the employee information page for more details.


  • Departments now manage employee storage allocations in the Google and Microsoft environments.
  • In addition to baseline storage allocations for each employee, departments have received additional storage allotments in both Google and Microsoft, which may be used to support shared storage or to increase individual employee storage. 
  • Departments can purchase additional storage on both platforms in 10 TB increments. Storage subscriptions renew on a yearly basis.
  • Departments control the creation of Google Shared Drives. In the future, the same restriction will apply to Microsoft SharePoint and Teams sites.

Refer to the department information page for more details.


  • Email: Student email has moved to Exchange Online for email and calendar services as of Jan. 15, 2024.
  • Google Workspace: students are limited to 5 GB Google storage as of Jan. 16, 2024. 
  • Shared Drives: students may not create new Google Shared Drives. Existing Shared Drives will require departmental sponsorship by Feb. 15, 2024 to remain active. 
  • Microsoft 365: students receive access to Microsoft 365 Online services. Coming in 2025, storage will be limited to 10 GB.

Refer to the student information page for more details. 


  • Retiree services differ based on the date of retirement:
    • Retired on or before June 1, 2023: receive Google email (Gmail) and calendar and Google Workspace (My Drive), with 10 GB storage.
    • Retired June 2, 2023 or later: receive Exchange Online email and calendar and Microsoft 365 services, with 10 GB storage.

Refer to the retiree information page for more details. 

Individuals no longer affiliated with Virginia Tech 

  • As of Jan. 16, 2024, individuals not currently associated with Virginia Tech no longer retain access to Google storage or email services. This includes access to Google apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, Drive, and Photos.
  • These individuals include, but are not limited to, former employees who did not retire with Virginia Tech and former students who did not earn a degree.

If you have questions, please contact 4Help.

Be aware of the timeline for Google storage changes and email migrations. A timeline for Microsoft storage changes will be shared in 2024. 

Review changes for your user group. We have created guides for each user group with specific changes. Please review the guide that applies to you: 

Note: if you belong to more than one user group, please review this knowledge base article, which outlines these cases.

If you had content left in the Photos app through your VT Google account, you may still use Google Takeout* to export a copy

  • As of Jan. 16, 2024, users can no longer access the app to delete data. 
  • Data left in the app will continue to count against the user's storage.
  • See the Google Photos export guide for more information.

*Google Takeout cannot be used to export data left in Google Drive if you no longer have access to Drive.

Support is available to assist the Virginia Tech community during this implementation. Many guides and how-to articles are available on this website and through the 4Help Knowledge Base.

Students and employees also have free access to training videos for Google and Microsoft through Virginia Tech's LinkedIn Learning library.

Managing storage costs under new licensing models

We already pay significant base costs for these collaboration platforms, and continuing to allow unfettered accumulation of files will result in exhorbitant additional costs every year. While both collaboration platforms have become a critical part of the university's IT infrastructure, and enable the achievement of Virginia Tech's mission, they also need to be managed in a fiscally responsible fashion, especially now that our costs will be increasing so significantly. 


Consolidating employees, students, and new retirees' email on the Microsoft Exchange Online platform will provide significant security benefits. 

Improved user experience 

Consolidating email for employees and students under a single email and calendar platform also will provide a unified user experience and simplify scheduling of meetings and events.

However, given the cost structure recently announced by Microsoft, we have reconsidered the move to Exchange Online for alumni. Maintaining alumni email accounts in Google, and allowing alumni to keep their email addresses, will simplify the work that alumni need to do to pare down their email accounts and migrate files out of Google storage.

Meeting the university's needs in a changing digital landscape

Our ultimate goal is to ensure that we are providing the right balance of services to meet the needs of the Virginia Tech community. These decisions were not made lightly, and we recognize that they will create some challenges and adjustment. We are committed to answering questions and supporting everyone through these changes.

For answers to common questions regarding these changes, please see our frequently asked questions.

In 2021, Google announced an end to its long-standing policy of offering no-cost, unlimited storage to higher education institutions, including Virginia Tech. Google will begin enforcing a storage volume-based subscription model at Virginia Tech on July 1, 2024.

On August 1, 2023, Microsoft also announced a significant change to its licensing model for higher education as well. This change included a dramatic increase in the cost of storage on their Microsoft 365 (M365) platform. The Microsoft changes will go into effect in July 2025.

The university was already preparing for the Google changes, but the information from Microsoft made it necessary to change course on some elements of the service decision on Google Workspace, as well as to announce future limitations on centrally funded storage in the M365 environment. 

The Microsoft announcement also caused the university to re-evaluate its approach to email administration. In April, we had announced a plan to move all users to one platform (Exchange Online). This plan will move forward for employees, students, and new retirees. However, given the cost structure recently announced by Microsoft, we have reconsidered the move to Exchange Online for alumni and some retirees.

For more information on Virginia Tech's Google and Microsoft service changes, and how they might impact you, please visit our user information pages, or the FAQs.