What happens to work stored in Google Drive after graduation?

Students have access to their Google Drive for a year after they graduate, however, after one year has expired, students no longer have access but the data does not get wiped. - Graphics Editor / Julia Quennessen

Have you ever thought about what will happen to your Rowan Google account after you graduate?

All students, staff and faculty are given a Google Drive as part of their Rowan accounts for academic, research, administrative and professional purposes. Rowan’s email system is also run through Google. 

The university lists the benefits of using the system as ease of collaboration on documents and presentations, unlimited storage and the wide availability of apps and programs that can be paired with Google Drive. While these applications are free to use outside of the university providing them, the premade accounts give students easy access. The university also provides unlimited storage for Drive, while non-university Drive users only have access to 15 GB of free storage. 

However, the university does not provide students with this access forever. According to Rowan’s Alumni Offboarding Policy, students have 12 months until access to their technology resources through the Rowan NetID account is revoked. This gives students an entire year to download documents or other pieces of work to a different computer, external hard drive or another Google Drive account.

Erin O’Neill is the assistant director of communications for Rowan University’s Division of Information Resources and Technology and noted what students can do to keep their work.

“We encourage students to review the contents of their Google Drive and determine what files they need to keep and what they can discard. Then, you can save the files you want to keep using Google Takeout, which allows you to download your content or transfer it to another Google account,” said O’Neill. 

This process will allow students to save important emails into a personal Gmail account, as well as to save documents from Drive. However, this will not allow students to save documents saved into shared drives, files that the student only has viewer access or files where the document owner turned off the options to download, print or copy the file. 

After the one-year window post-graduation, the data doesn’t get wiped permanently. Students just don’t get access.

There are exceptions to this rule if the student earns their degree but continues activity at Rowan, either through taking additional courses or being employed by the university in some role. However, if activity is not continued upon the completion of a degree, alumni will not have access to the Rowan NetID and accompanying Google account or any of the content saved after one year. 

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