While Google storage has been historically free and unlimited to higher education institutions, Google’s new storage policy prompted Colgate to look closer at current data storage practices. The following changes create an opportunity to intentionally keep institutional data decluttered, safe, and secure while keeping continuity and integrity in mind.

Data Storage Allotment

Information Technology Services is committed to supporting the University's academic research and business needs while balancing the sustainability and the costs associated with storage.  To act as a safeguard against unintentional consumption of large amounts of storage space, the University will be moving towards a tiered model of storage allocation.

  • Beginning on July 1, 2024, students will be allocated 25 GB of storage, and faculty and staff will be allocated 100 GB by default.
  • New shared Drives created by ITS will be allocated 100 GB of space.

A list of frequently asked questions below will help you understand how this policy change may impact you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Individual Google Accounts

Students are allotted 25 GB. Faculty and staff are allotted 100 GB. This allotment includes storage from Gmail, Drive, and Photos combined.

You may request additional storage by contacting the ITS Service Desk.

You can view a summary of your Google storage consumption, including a list of Google Drive files.


If you are already above the default storage allotment on July 1, 2024 (students are allotted 25 GB, faculty and staff are allotted 100 GB), your account will automatically be placed into the next storage tier.  

Google drive provides information on how much storage space you are using.  As you approach your current allotment cap, you may notice the color change in the bar on the left side of your web browser.  The bar changes color from blue (0% to 79%) to amber (80% to 89%) and finally to red (storage consumption 90% and higher) .  You should contact the ITS Service Desk to discuss your situation and arrive at a solution well before reaching the your cap on your current tier.  ITS staff can guide you through your options.

Your data will not automatically be deleted by ITS or Google.  If you have reached or exceeded the limit of your current tier, you will still be able to send and receive email. However, certain functions like creating or uploading new Drive documents will not be permitted.  You can at that point delete files to free up space.  You should note that when you do delete email or Drive data, it will sit in your trash for 30 days, then be automatically deleted forever.  If you want to see your storage space updated more quickly, you should empty your trash and refresh your web browser after you delete email or Drive data.

For more information on how to empty your trash, review Google's help center articles on emptying your trash for your inbox and Drive.

To request additional storage space, contact the ITS Service Desk.  

  • If you have a duplicate of a particular file, or an older version that is now obsolete, consider deleting those older files. However, please also consider that there may be situations where it is valuable to have older versions of files. 
  • If you have files that have not been accessed in several years and have no continuing value, you might consider deleting those files.
  • Keeping your data cleaned and organized is not a one-time event, but a continual process. Consider including regular opportunities to review and assess needs as part of your work.
  • Your inbox can also be the home to some large attachments that you may not need.
  • To find emails with large file attachments in your inbox, type: has:attachment larger:10M in the search box. You can adjust the “10” to filter by the number of megabytes. Most emails without attachments are no larger than 1M. Emails with attachments greater than 5M are considered much larger than normal. Select the emails you don’t need and delete them.
  • Deleted files and emails will remain in the trash for 30 days, after which they will be permanently deleted. 
  • For more information on how to empty your trash, review Google's help center articles on emptying your trash for your inbox and Drive.

Yes, archived mail counts towards your storage allotment.

You can request additional storage by completing this form.

If you have personal data, such as Google Photos, consider moving those to a personal Google account where you will receive 15 GB of storage space for free.

Shared Drives and Department Data

Starting in the Summer of 2023, Google Shared Drives provide 100GB of storage space. Additional limitations do apply.

If more space is needed, it can be requested by completing this form.

If your Shared drive is already above the default storage allotment on July 1, 2024 (Shared drives are set to 100 GB), your Shared drive will automatically be placed into the next storage tier.  

The University’s Data Retention and Disposal Policy provides guidance in this area.

Several options exist for data storage. Google shared Drives are one option that provides advantages over many other options including integration of our larger productivity suite. Owners or managers of shared Drives provide greater control over access to their data, and Google shared Drives can also help in assisting with business continuity. 

For a more traditional file share experience while using Google Drive and shared Drives, ITS recommends the Drive for desktop application from Google. This application makes Google Drive appear just like a network file share or external drive, allowing you to natively drag and drop files, edit, and more while on a Mac or Windows device. The application also allows you to keep your most important or frequently accessed files synced to your device in case you’re offline or unable to access the internet.

Security and Privacy

Yes, Google Drive is just as secure as a traditional file share. You can read more about Google Drive data protection in this Google support article

VPN access is not required when accessing Google Drive. The traffic between your device and Google’s servers is automatically encrypted without requiring a VPN connection.

While your connection to Google’s servers is encrypted, we still recommend that you consider using the VPN whenever you are connected to public wireless networks. You can find instructions for connecting to Colgate’s VPN service here.

Additional Resources

Evaluate data storage options at Colgate with our Data Storage tool.

For guidance on data and storage, please reach out to the ITS Service Desk.