Google has extended Drive for Work — a paid version of Drive for users of Google Apps for Work that offers unlimited file storage — to students at institutions that use Apps for Education. Instead of the $10 per user per year paid by Drive for Work users, the upgrade comes freely for Drive for Education users. The offering allows for unlimited file storage, with a maximum individual file size of 5 TB (previously, users of Apps for Education were limited to 30 GB); users will be upgraded to unlimited storage over the next few weeks. Also included is access to Google Apps Vault, a utility offered for “search and discovery for compliance needs,” access to which will be rolled out by the end of this year.
Presumably, the rationale behind this move is to encourage users to switch to the paid Google Drive for Work upon completing their studies.
Google Apps for Education is part of a newer endeavor at Google that provides customized Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions using publicly available Google Apps, customized to the domain of a given institution. It also includes Google Classroom, a course management and virtual learning environment that competes with the proprietary Blackboard Learnsoftware, available as a package installable on local servers or as a hosted service. Individual students are unable to sign up for Apps for Education; their educational institution must be a participant in order to benefit from this offering.