Google Workspace Changes

The University of Alberta (U of A) has been using Google Workspace for its collaboration and storage needs for more than 10 years. A collection of cloud-based tools including Google Drive (My Drive and Shared drives), Google Docs, Google Sheets, Calendar and more, Google Workspace lets you manage and access files for active collaboration. 

What prompted this project?

In early 2021, Google introduced a new license and storage model, which no longer provides free, unlimited storage for higher education. The new model provides the U of A with a baseline of 2.6 petabytes of pooled storage. Currently, the university collectively uses more than double that amount within its Google Workspace environment. As a result, this project is looking at ways to reduce the university's reliance on Google Workspace as its primary data storage solution. This entails identifying better data management practices and building out a more comprehensive data storage ecosystem.

What is changing?

The university is looking at ways to best support the data storage needs of our community as we work to comply with Google’s new storage policy requirements. We are engaging and collaborating with groups from across the university community to determine what data storage requirements should remain within Google Workspace and what data should be stored within other storage options. 

Project updates and contacts

This project is managed in phases, outlined below. As we move forward with this project, we will continue to post the latest updates on this page. Project deliverables, how-to documentation, FAQ’s, and more will be updated as we continue to identify our storage needs and develop more storage options.

  • Phase 1: Changes to the CCID lifecycle were implemented, and these changes are expected to reduce Google data storage by 1.6 petabytes. This phase of the project was completed in January 2023.  
  • Phase 2: We are currently in Phase 2, which includes setting quotas on individual account storage. The quota encompasses Gmail, My Drive and Photos. 
  • Phase 3: Concurrent with Phase 2, Phase 3 involves optimizing data management practices by expanding and better supporting institutional and research data storage. This includes best practices on using Google Shared drives. 

If you have any questions or feedback to share, or need further information, please submit your questions through this form. We also encourage you to connect with your Senior IT Partner to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Changes to individual accounts (My Drive, Gmail, Photos)

Quotas are being implemented on all individual U of A accounts. This quota applies to the data stored in MyDrive, Gmail and Google Photos.

The storage quotas and dates on which they come into effect are as follows:

  • Undergraduate and Online Continuing Education students: 10 GB on June 15, 2024
  • Non-Academic Staff: 15 GB on January 31, 2025
  • Academic Staff, including researchers: 30 GB on January 31, 2025
  • Graduate students: 30 GB on January 31, 2025
  • Emeriti Professors: 30 GB on January 31, 2025
  • Guest: 10 GB on January 31, 2025
  • Non-primary CCID: 10 GB on January 31, 2025
    (A non-primary CCID is a role-based account, such as

To reduce your storage, you can get started by following these simple steps:

Step 1: Confirm how much storage you are using in Google Drive.

Step 2: If you are nearing or above your respective quota, these steps can help you reduce your storage:

  1. Reduce Gmail storage by searching for and deleting emails with large attachments and old emails that are no longer needed. You can specify your search with specific criteria.
  2. Review your data storage in My Drive and Photos, and remove any files that are not explicitly related to your work, studies and/or research at the university (i.e. personal files such as family photos and videos, personal financial documents, etc.)
  3. Review and delete large files or those that are no longer needed using the storage feature to sort your files
  4. Delete personal photos and videos by activity, creations and categories using explore in Google Photos


March - June 2024
University-wide storage quota awareness campaign with specific focus on undergraduate students
June 2024

Data management practices and alternative storage options for graduate students, faculty and staff are shared

June 15, 2024
Storage quota for undergraduate students implemented
January 2025
January 31, 2025

Storage quota for academic staff, non-academic staff and graduate students  implemented 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know how this change impacts me?

This change affects all U of A Google accounts, including all students and all employees. If you are unsure which quota you fall within, please contact your supervisor. In the case that you fall within two categories (i.e., you are a student and employee at the university), your account will default to the larger quota.

Please note that a student includes: graduate students, undergraduate students, Post-Graduate Medical Educational students, Post-Graduate Dental Educational students or continuing education students enrolled at the University of Alberta.

Please refer to the Changes to U of A Accounts web page for more information.

What action do I need to take now?

First, confirm how much storage you are using in Google Drive and if necessary, follow the reduce your storage consumption tips as soon as possible. At this time, it is recommended that you do not move U of A institutional data or research data to other non-approved storage solutions (i.e., Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.). More information on additional storage solutions will be released as soon as it is available.

Which Google applications count towards my account storage quota?

All file types (i.e., documents, digital media including videos and photos) stored in Gmail, My Drive and Photos count towards your quota and storage use. While Gmail counts towards your storage quota, users will still be able to send and receive emails if they are over quota.

How are Shared drives impacted by this change?

As Shared drives are included in the overall Google quota, we do not recommend moving personal data to a Shared Drive. However, Shared drives can be used to store institutional and research data.

What storage options do I have to move my data to?

Personal data not related to your work or studies at the University of Alberta should be removed from Google Drive. If you are staff or faculty member, you can move department data to your department’s network file storage. More information about other solutions for storing university and research records and data for staff and faculty will be available in the coming weeks.

How To Guides & Videos

We will continue to update this page with helpful resources and videos.

How to check Google storage usage

How to use Google Drive shortcuts

How to empty your trash in Google Drive

If you are looking for further information, please submit your question using our form.