Storage Management in U-M Google

You are responsible for managing your and the university’s data appropriately. Mismanagement of data under your purview puts the data at risk for permanent deletion. For this reason, it is extremely important to understand the tools available to you to help with storage and ownership management and the offboarding processes that occur when you and your colleagues leave the university.

You will find an overview of tips, tricks, tools, recommendations, and important information regarding storage management in U-M Google on this page. Select the drop-down for each topic you’re interested in below.


U-M Google accounts are available to all active U-M faculty, staff, students, and sponsored affiliates, as well as alumni and retirees, on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint campuses.

Storage limits

Storage limits affect all accounts and data in U-M Google.

Storage limits are as follows:

  • Faculty, staff, students, and sponsored affiliates - 250GB
  • Alumni and retirees - 15GB
  • Shared Accounts - 15GB
  • Shared drives - 15GB

It is not possible to pay for additional storage. You also cannot request an increase in your storage limit. There are no exceptions.

Refer to What Happens When My Storage is Full in U-M Google? for more information on how your U-M Google account is affected when you reach your storage limit.

Check your storage usage

Refer to Check Your Storage Usage/Limit in U-M Google for more information on how to check your current storage usage in an individual or Shared Account and a shared drive.

Note: Files shared with you (that you do not own) and files that are stored in a Google shared drive do not count against your individual account’s storage.
Managing Your Google Data While at U-M

Each individual, team, and department manages their Google storage differently. Because of this, we want to recommend tips, tricks, and tools to use with or improve your current individual and team workflows.

Be proactive

  • Maintain usage below your assigned storage limit. Reaching your limit will have a noticeable impact on your account’s functionality. Review Tips for Cleaning Up Your U-M Google Account for suggestions on how to best engage in sustainable data practices.
    • Delete unnecessary files, folders, shared drives, emails, and photos/videos.
    • Export personal data and avoid storing it in your university account.
  • Periodically evaluate your shared files, folders, and drives to ensure that access and permissions are kept up to date and ownership is appropriately assigned. Refer to the Who Owns That? page for more best practices.
  • Investigate more appropriate storage solutions. Everyone affiliated with the university should familiarize themselves with the array of storage options available to them using the U-M Data Storage Finder. Alternate storage options may be preferred in certain situations. The Finder includes information such as storage type, sharing options, and pricing (where applicable).
  • For researchers: If you use Google Drive to store research data, please refer to the Research Data Stewardship Policy (SPG 303.06). It includes expectations and guidance for research data stewardship, focusing on issues of ownership, sharing, and retention. You should work with your research team to determine the best location to transfer data you may own that must be retained by the university.
Caution: If you reach your storage limit as a faculty, staff, student, or sponsored affiliate, your account’s functionality will be noticeably impacted (including the inability to send/receive email). Refer to What Happens When My Storage is Full in U-M Google? for more information on how your account is affected.

Departmental responsibilities

Employees who reach their storage limit

Each department is responsible for U-M Google storage compliance. Please be aware that departments may be unable to edit data owned by active employees who reach their 250GB storage limit. Additionally, over-limit active employees will be unable to send or receive email. This could lead to missed important emails and interference with their (and their team’s) day-to-day work.

ITS will not intervene by restoring edit access or transferring ownership as a means to circumvent these compliance guidelines. Full access can only be automatically reinstated once an employee successfully complies with their designated storage limit.

Employees who leave U-M

Departments should work with the departing employee as part of their offboarding procedures to have ownership of university business-related files/folders transferred to another individual at U-M or a shared drive owned by the department. Refer to Transfer Ownership of Google Drive Files Owned by Departing Employee for more information.

Google shared drives must retain eligible Managers (i.e., faculty, regular staff, or students). If a departing employee is the only Manager on a shared drive, ensure they add eligible Managers before leaving. Shared drives that lose all eligible Managers become inaccessible to any collaborator/shared drive member within 24 hours of losing eligibility and are deleted 90 days afterward.

Departments can refer their departing employees to the Offboarding and Leaving U-M drop-down section below, as well as the Leaving U-M site, for information on the actions they should take before leaving.

If an employee departs without transferring ownership of their Google files, their files become view-only for 90 days before they’re deleted. Refer to the Offboarding and Leaving U-M drop-down section below for more details and Transfer Ownership of Google Drive Files Owned by Someone Who Left U-M for instructions on how to claim the data before it’s deleted.

Shared Account management

  • The intended purpose of a Google Shared Account is to manage access to a shared inbox in Gmail and shared Google Calendars. Shared Accounts should not be used for storage in Google Drive or Photos.
  • The MCommunity group associated with a Shared Account must remain active to send and receive email.
  • Review account delegates often to ensure folks who shouldn’t have access are removed.
  • Shared Accounts that reach their 15GB storage limit will have their account’s functionality noticeably impacted (including the inability to send/receive email). Refer to What Happens When My Storage is Full in U-M Google? for more information on how it will be affected.
Offboarding and Leaving U-M

You are responsible for understanding your affiliations at the university to determine when access to certain U-M computing services, like U-M Google, will change or end and how to prepare accordingly. Refer to the Leaving U-M page for detailed service offboarding information.

Additionally, everyone is accountable for managing university data responsibly. It’s important for departing individuals to use the tools available to them and take action on university business files before they leave. This is to ensure members of the community who rely on the data continue to have access to it over time and as individuals leave U-M.

Your offboarding process will begin after your affiliation at the university changes (e.g., after graduation, after the last day of employment, etc.). It is critical that you work with your department to transfer ownership of files and shared drives, regardless of whether you are continuing affiliation as an alum, retiree, or emeritus. (Refer to Google: Accounts for People Who Leave U-M for more information related to Google offboarding.)

The following resources are helpful in finding and transferring ownership of Google Drive files/folders:

Note: You cannot transfer ownership of files, folders, or shared drives to a non-UM Google account (i.e., personal account or another institution’s). However, you can transfer a copy of all files you own and all your email in Gmail to a personal (non-UM) Google account using Google Takeout Transfer.

Refer to UHR Procedure: 201.40 Termination of Employment for a link to download the most recent version of the U-M Termination Checklist. The checklist provides a great overview of everything you should do before leaving U-M.

Upon role change/affiliation loss

The status of your account after leaving U-M depends on the role (or lack thereof) you retain after your departure.

For faculty, staff, students, and sponsored affiliates who leave U-M and retain an alum or retiree role:

Your Google storage limit will change from 250GB to 15GB when you leave the university.

If you are over the 15GB limit when your role changes to alum or retiree, your U-M Google account will be deactivated and scheduled for deletion.

Note: For students who graduate, the date your 15GB limit is applied depends on the term you graduate. Refer to Leaving U-M: Information for Graduating Students (under Cloud Storage) for the specific dates and additional details.

After 90 days, if you have not taken action to reactivate and reduce your storage below 15GB, your account and all its associated data (files, emails, photos, calendars, etc.) will be permanently deleted.

If your account is deleted, you can request a new, empty account by going to, reading the information, and clicking the Request a New Google Account button. In the meantime, if you are concerned about missing emails while you wait for your account to be recreated, you can set up a forwarding address in MCommunity to send to a personal (non-UM) email address.

For faculty, staff, students, and sponsored affiliates who leave U-M and do not retain an alum or retiree role (i.e., non-affiliated):

As of September 15, 2023, all U-M Google accounts and their data owned by individuals who leave U-M (without retaining an alum, retiree, or emeritus status) are deleted 90 days after their last day. (This does not affect accounts that became non-affiliated before September 15.)

This is why if you plan to leave the university without graduating or retiring, it is important to transfer the files you own that might be needed by someone else at the university before your last day. After you leave the university, ITS will not restore access to your files upon request from you. Departments, however, can claim the data within the 90-day recovery window when they notice the files have become view-only.