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Strategic Storage Initiative

Classroom of Cornell students doing work on their laptops

After Google announced the end of unlimited storage for higher education, Cornell launched the Strategic Storage Initiative. Changes that will reduce storage and help keep services financially sustainable include:

  • Google Drive storage caps to constrain growth. Caps were added in June and July 2022 above each account's storage at that time.
  • OneDrive storage for faculty, students, and staff.
  • Office 365 email accounts for new alumni instead of Gmail starting with students who graduate in December 2022, May 2023, and August 2023.
  • Gmail accounts continue for current alumni. 5-GB storage cap applied July 2023.
  • Google Drive and Photos for alumni end July 2023.
  • Optional Office 365 email for students and alumni. 
  • Microsoft Teams for students.
  • No new Google Photos accounts.

Cornell's Strategic Storage Initiative was prompted by Google's and Box's 2021 announcements that they were ending unlimited storage. The effort is managed by CIT and works in partnership with a campus advisory group and the IT Governance Council.

The Initiative is a multiyear effort to:

  • Change the university's approach to storage services as vendors stop offering unlimited storage.
  • Minimize disruption to teaching, research, and Cornell business storage.
  • Monitor and react to changes in storage services and pricing.
  • Prevent excessive storage growth and the unsustainable costs that would result from it.


June 2022
Caps applied to faculty, student, and staff Google Drive accounts. The default cap is 15 GB, unless the account had more in it at that time, in which case the cap was set above that level. (More information about faculty, student, and staff storage caps.)

July 2022
Alumni direct communications began to all alumni who graduated August 2021 or earlier and included:

  • Storage caps were applied to alumni Google Drive (5 GB for accounts smaller than 5 GB, above current storage for accounts larger than 5 GB).
  • Alumni Google Drive and Photos will end July 2023.
  • Options for downloading or copying content.

September 2022
Alumni may request an Office 365 email account

Student direct communications began and included:

  • They can keep using Gmail until they graduate or switch to an Office 365 email account that they can keep as alumni. (Instructions on using the Office 365 email account are being developed)
  • Alumni Google Drive and Photos will end July 2023.

Spring 2023
Students can create Microsoft Teams.

2023: Timing to be determined
Cornell Box accounts will no longer be unlimited. (More information about Box.)

July 2023
Alumni Google Drive and Photos will end. Alumni Gmail accounts will need to be below 5 GB.

November 2023
Cornell Google services will end for December 2022, May 2023, and August 2023 graduates as their status changes to alumni.

November 2024
Cornell Google services will end for December 2023, May 2024, and August 2024 graduates as their status changes to alumni.

May 2025
Current Box contract ends and a new one will take effect. It has not been established whether the new contract will include unlimited storage.

November 2025
Cornell Google services will end for December 2024, May 2025, and August 2025 graduates as their status changes to alumni.

December 2025
Current Google contract that includes unlimited storage ends. Cornell will have around 325 TB of free storage, and costs will incur for additional storage.

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