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BU announces new Google and Microsoft data storage quotas for students and staff

Boston University Information Services and Technology notified students Sept. 14 about a new data storage quota for all BU Google accounts starting early next year.

The storage page on a BU Google account. Boston University will institute a storage quota of 15GB early next year. MOLLY POTTER/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

In an email to BU students, BU IS&T wrote that “after a decade of free services,” Google is now “charging all higher education institutions for the amount of storage used.” BU’s existing Google storage is significantly over the maximum level that has been negotiated, according to BU IS&T.

A quota of 15 GB has been agreed upon between Google and BU for all BU Google accounts starting Jan. 8, according to the email. It was also shared that Microsoft will be implementing similar quotas for data storage regarding educational institutions by August 2024, although specific quotas have not yet been determined.

Ken Weeden, platform services manager for BU Client Technology Services, wrote in an email that the cloud infrastructure to support the storage and applications that are provided by Google must include vast amounts of data for educational institutions.

“Google must have come to the point where they had to start charging for what was formerly a free service in order to at least cover their costs of providing this infrastructure and associated applications,” Weeden wrote.

In light of these new quotas, BU advised students to review their data usage in their Google and Microsoft accounts. Along with these measures, the BU TechWeb Help webpage has also provided students,faculty and staff with alternative solutions for data storage, including a personal drive from Google, Dropbox, Box and Microsoft M365.

Carlos Rivas, a freshman in the College of Engineering, said he does not think he will be directly impacted by the change, but students in media-related majors could face more issues.

Rivas said he thinks that alternative storage options like iCloud Dropbox, Google Drive, or even physical alternatives like solid-state drives are viable options for any student in general.

However, other students, while unaffected for now, expressed concern over the change and how it might affect them in the future.

“[The storage changes are] not really impacting me at all. I don’t really put anything into my Google Drive anyways,” said Wilmer Mejia-Castro, a freshman in the College of Communication. “However, once I start getting into production and I need to back up my files to Google Drive … I won’t have my whole portfolio of work. I’ve got to figure out how to store all that.”

Still, other students seemed worried about how the changes would impact their email storage.

“Having storage and my email is very important, especially as a student,” said Romina Khani, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. “We get all the important information, homeworks, tests, announcements, club announcements, all that. We get it through our email and we have to use our BU email.”

However, Weeden wrote that he thinks BU faculty and staff will be able to adjust to these new quotas.

“Faculty and staff will have some options to choose from if they are over the limit, and IS&T will have resources available to assist where necessary over the coming months,” Weeden wrote. “I am fully confident that they will be able to adapt and adjust to a different storage solution where needed for their research or daily business.”

2 Comments

  1. Something that isn’t mentioned here is how this affects Film & TV students. The very nature of our classes means we have single video files that are half a gigabyte or more, and that’s just not something we can easily adapt to. Even if we put all our personal files on physical drives (which costs a lot of our own money), we still need to be able to share and send files. Was there no way BU could set aside some of its massive budget to even just give COM students a terabyte or two of storage?

  2. 2020 Film and TV grad. My professors directly instructed us to dump everything we ever work on (footage, project backups, final work) on our Google Drives as free cloud storage. I have terabytes to move off the drive now. One of my alum perks that I could hold over Northeastern and other colleges is down the drain!