FAQ Regarding Email Expirations for Past Students

Note: This FAQ page may be edited from time to time to enhance its completeness or accuracy.

Why was the decision made to expire accounts?

This is a decision had been under consideration for many years, as the scale, costs and social uses of email, and the options for provisioning email services, continued to change. The proportion of alums using the existing service was modest and becoming smaller over time as people’s preferences for online communications and interaction continued to change. There are fixed costs of operating or simply administering the service that had become material to our options for affording services to current students.

If you graduated in 2014 or after, your email account has not been disabled and there are no current plans to disable it.

Prior to 2014, MSU expired email accounts for past students in order to free up university data storage resources, maintain operational efficiencies, and maximize services for current students.

My msu.edu address is a point of pride, status, and my identity. How can I stay connected with MSU?

MSU offers several ways to stay up to date on the latest news about the university and its alumni including the MSU Weekly News email, MSU Alumni Association publications, and a variety of social media accounts. To stay connected to MSU visit msu.edu/stayconnected and update your contact information.

Does being a member of the Alumni Association entitle me to my msu.edu address?

Being a member of the MSU Alumni Association provides many benefits. Email, however, is not a part of membership.

Is there a way to pay a monthly or yearly fee to keep my msu.edu address?

The administrative costs of managing a for-pay service are substantial. We observed, by way of the comments and questions received from people who enjoyed using the service and after announcing the change, that any single alternative approach would satisfy only a modest proportion of those alums using the existing service. In particular, only a small proportion indicated a willingness to pay for the address and in light of overall declining use of these accounts over time, this did not appear to be a viable or sustainable alternative.

Is there a way to grandfather in alumni and start this with new students?

We gave strong consideration to a forwarding-only service, as well as to outsourcing the provisioning of service to alums. For a variety of technical and legal reasons we would have needed to change the MSU alumni email address domain name to something other than “@msu.edu” (e.g., “@alum.msu.edu”). We learned from comments received that these alternatives (forwarding-only, or changing the domain name) would have been upsetting to many alums using the existing service.

If you graduated in 2014 or after, your email account has not been disabled and there are no current plans to disable it.

To minimize storage, could a forwarding option be available?

We gave strong consideration to forwarding; however, spam presents a real problem for forwarding. We know from experience that when spam is forwarded via email the receiving service blocks MSU’s email servers, adversely affecting our own email service.

I thought the “Technology Guarantee” gives me free email for life. Is the “Technology Guarantee” still in place?

The “Technology Guarantee” was announced by then President Peter McPherson in 1996. It stated that MSU students would have two post-graduate years of free email access, as well as affordable lifelong “technological access.” The commitment to provide “technological access” was not tied to a particular technology. Rather, the university committed to providing its students and graduates with “knowledge access” – in other words, access to university information and resources through the use of cutting edge technologies. Today, with the growth of the World Wide Web and other technological advances, access to information and resources at the university through technological means far exceeds anything envisioned at the time of President McPherson’s announcement in 1996.

Do other peer institutions allow students to keep their email accounts?

There is a wide variety of practices in place at other institutions, and each depends strongly on the timing of when they made their decisions about these services. The majority provide a forwarding-only service with a different domain name, and these are typically tied to membership in their alumni association.


Originally published 2 June 2012

Updated 29 April 2015

Updated 27 July 2012