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Information for Students

Virginia Tech has temporarily reactivated the Google Photos service until 8 a.m. March 5, 2024 ONLY for users that still have data remaining in Photos through their VT Google account to provide one final opportunity to delete this data. See the photos guidance page for more information.

Google/Microsoft storage and email changes for students

Google storage and email services for students are changing at Virginia Tech during the 2023-24 academic year. Microsoft storage changes will be coming in 2025. Read the information on this page to know what is changing and what you need to do. 

Refer to the service changes timeline for important dates and deadlines.

  • Students now have a 5 gigabyte (GB) storage limit in Google Workspace (Google Drive).
    • If your Google account has over 5 GB storage, it will become read-only until you reduce storage below this limit. While you will have time to address this if needed, be aware that student accounts that still exceed the storage limit after May 1, 2024 will be subject to data removal to ensure compliance. This may include having your account deleted and reinstated with default settings and zero data.
  • Students still have access to Google Workspace tools including: Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Sites, as well as Google Groups.
  • Student email and calendar services have been moved from Gmail/Google Calendar to Exchange Online (Outlook)
  • To access your email, log into Exchange Online at my.office365.vt.edu using your VT email address and passphrase. For help accessing your Virginia Tech Exchange Online account, please see this article.
  • Emails that were in your Gmail inbox and your Google Calendar events are now in your Outlook inbox and calendar, respectively. Anything in Gmail Trash was not migrated.
  • Gmail and Calendar apps are turned off - you will no longer seem them in your VT Google account apps "waffle."
  • Your VT Google Drive is still available. If you used to get to your Drive through the Gmail app, do this instead: go to drive.google.com. You can then access the apps “waffle” through Drive.

If you graduated in May 2023 or December 2023, your email and calendar have been moved to Exchange Online. This change is temporary. At Virginia Tech, recent graduates are still recognized as students in university systems for several months, while a number of steps occur in the background to move your status from ‘student’ to ‘recent student’ and then to ‘alumni.’ Because of this, coupled with the timing of the student email migrations, 2023 graduates are in a unique position of being moved to Exchange Online for a period.

This also means that 2023 graduates will retain their student Google storage for a longer period than anticipated.

Eventually, when your affiliation with the university changes to “alumni,” your Virginia Tech email service will move back to Gmail, and you will lose access to calendar service, in accordance with alumni service changesNote that when this occurs, your old emails will not be migrated into your new Gmail account, so you may want to take steps to save the ones that are important to you prior to the change back to Gmail.

We also recommend that you start planning for additional alumni service changes now: move any files you want to retain out of your VT Google Drive to a different service; find a different calendar service if you currently rely on your VT-provided calendar, and make sure you have nothing in Google Photos.

  • Students may no longer create new Shared Drives in Google Workspace.
  • Beginning Feb. 15, 2024, student-managed Shared Drives that are not sponsored by a department will become read-only.
  • Beginning in April 2024, student-managed Shared Drives that are not sponsored by a department will be deleted.
  • Students are advised to download copies of files and folders in their Shared Drives that they need to keep. 
  • If you no longer need content in a Shared Drive you are a member of, do nothing. 
  • If you have the "Manager" role on a Shared Drive that a university department needs to maintain, please contact the department or your faculty member most closely connected with the contents of that drive. 
  • Please read our Shared Drive guidance for more information.
  • The Google Photos app was turned off on Jan. 16, 2024. This means you can longer access this app through your Virginia Tech Google account.
  • You can no longer delete data from the Photos app on your own, but you can still take the following steps: 
    1. If you still had syncing or automatic backups going from your devices to your VT Google Photos app, those connections are now disabled. You can continue backing up photos from your device(s) to another account.
    2. You can still use Google Takeout to export a copy of your photos. However, any data remaining in Photos will continue to count against your storage allocation. 
    3. If the amount of data that you have in Photos will cause your account to remain in a read-only mode due to being over storage limits, reach out to 4Help (4help.vt.edu or call 540-231-4357) to discuss options. 

More guidance is available in the Google Photos export and relocation guide.

All students will receive Microsoft 365 services, which include: 

  • 10 GB* of storage for use within the environment (including OneDrive and Exchange Online). 
  • Microsoft Office tools including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Forms, etc.
  • Storage resources include OneDrive (comparable to Google My Drive), SharePoint Online (comparable to Google Shared Drives), and Teams. 
  • In the future, SharePoint and Teams sites will require departmental sponsorship.

*The 10 GB Microsoft storage limit for students will begin in 2025.

Changes for students are now underway. Some students will need to take steps to reduce their Google storage amount. 

  • Check your VT Google account storage. Accounts exceeding 5 GB after Jan. 16 will become read-only until storage is reduced below this limit. Delete unneeded files from My Drive. If excess Gmail storage is causing your account to go over the 5 GB limit, this storage will be deleted by the university soon. If excess Photos data is causing your account to exceed the 5GB limit, please contact 4Help for assistance.
  • Review your Shared Drives, and download copies of files that you wish to keep. Unclaimed Shared Drives (which will include drives managed solely by students), will go read-only Feb. 15 and be deleted starting April 3. More guidance on Shared Drives is available here.
  • The Photos app was disabled on Jan. 16, 2024. While you can no longer access the app or delete content, you may still export a copy of photos remaining in the app using Google Takeout. Data remaining in the Photos app will continue to count against your storage, and if this puts you over the 5 GB storage limit, the university may need to delete and recreate your account with zero data and default settings to ensure compliance.

Starting May 1, 2024, student Google accounts that are still over the 5 GB storage limit will be subject to further action, including data deletion. In some cases, accounts may need to be deleted and reinstated with zero data and default settings. 

One more thing...if you are planning to move files from Google to Microsoft OneDrive, keep in mind that you will have a 10 GB total storage limit in Microsoft starting in 2025 — so depending on your data needs, you might want to explore other options. 

Where to get help

You can find an updated list of support resources and tutorials on this website. Our FAQs also contain more answers about these upcoming service changes.

You may also contact 4Help for individualized assistance.