The University of Texas at Austin is now offering all its 450,000 alumni a free lifetime e-mail account. Named UTmail, the new service is provided by Google Inc.
The service was rolled out to 35,000 current students earlier this year and is now being extended to alumni to help keep them engaged with the university. More than 2,000 alumni have registered for UTmail so far.
"Our alumni love now having a UT email address for life," said Leslie Cedar, CEO of Texas Exes. "The fact that it is powered by Google with its awesome search engine and suite of cloud-based office applications makes it even better. Also, the UTmail version of Gmail gives us more capacity and security than the consumer version of Gmail."
UTmail provides each alumnus with an @utexas.edu address along with 25 gigabytes of storage, which will accommodate about 500,000 e-mails of average size. The service also provides greater privacy than standard Gmail accounts, because UT's contract with Google is more restrictive regarding commercial data mining.
In the selection process, email vendors responded to a request for proposals, which were evaluated by a university committee. The strength of the proposals, vendor references and answers to technical questions were considered. Google was determined to be the most competitive vendor by the committee. The university is providing this as a service to students and alumni and will receive no income from the arrangement.
Higher education institutions on several continents have selected Google as their email service provider, including Hofstra, Vanderbilt and Wesleyan Universities in the United States.