University of Iowa

Student e-mail will move to MS Office 365 this fall

ITS will soon begin migrating student e-mail to Microsoft Office 365, providing them with larger mailboxes (25 GB vs. 1 GB today) and a full portfolio of communication and collaboration tools: (Excel, Power Point, Word, OneNote, instant messaging, video conferencing, and online meetings).

ITS plans to migrate all first-year students to the service before the fall semester begins, and remaining students will be migrated throughout the fall semester and will receive notification when the move is scheduled. Once students are migrated to 365, they will be able to check e-mail (and much more) and connect mobile devices by visiting

Moving e-mail to the cloud is a major trend in both higher education and corporate business as companies such as Google and Microsoft are now offering high-quality e-mail services to universities. Microsoft has over 20 million users of their cloud services in education alone, and several other schools, such as Nebraska, Duke, and Ohio State have moved or are in the process of moving to 365.

ITS conducted an extensive analysis and comparison of vendors, finding that the Office 365 solution integrates much better with the UI’s existing Microsoft Exchange infrastructure. Security and privacy are a chief concern, and the UI worked with several other institutions to negotiate strong contractual agreements with Microsoft, including a Business Associates Agreement that covers HIPAA data.

Office 365 is initially targeted for students. Faculty and staff represent more complexity because of the kinds of information they communicate using e-mail. ITS will work through those details to see if it’s appropriate to move faculty/staff, and will evaluate the performance of the service for students.