University of Minnesota may eliminate "forever" emails for alumni, retirees
The University of Minnesota is considering eliminating "forever" emails, removing a long-running alumni perk and potentially shutting down more than 10,000 accounts by 2024.
Context: Unlike many colleges, the U has allowed graduates and retired faculty to retain their @umn.edu email addresses forever, as long as they log in at least once a year.
- The accounts, which are hosted through Gmail, receive unlimited storage in Google Drive — a plan so big, it's not even available as an upgrade for regular users.
- A free Google account includes 15 gigabytes of storage.
Why it matters: With email increasingly being used for record keeping and storage, thousands of alumni and former employees would have to transfer troves of data to a new account.
What they're saying: The U initially chose to allow lifetime access when free emails weren't widely available and unlimited data storage was free or low cost, a spokesperson for the university told Axios.
- But because Google has since eliminated free unlimited storage, allowing access for all would cost the U at least $350,000 a year, beginning in 2024.
- The roughly 2.3 petabytes of alumni and retiree data take up almost a quarter of the U's Google Workspace. That's enough data to fill over 150,000 free Gmail accounts.
Plus: The large number of account holders coupled with the rise in email phishing scams could now put the U at risk, not just an individual, according to a university presentation.
What's next: The U is considering several options, including an alumni.umn.edu address. No accounts would be shut down before phase one begins in 2024.
💭 My thought bubble: I've linked many accounts to my U email in the last six years. Transferring everything would take a lot of time and energy.
- Not saying I've done it, but I've also heard the email occasionally worked to get student discounts, even after graduation. I would (hypothetically) miss that.
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