How to Get an .Edu Email Account

You don't necessarily need to be a current student to qualify

Logging into Villanova University web email

 Lifewire

The .edu address is reserved for educational institutions, and it's common for people to have one of these addresses in addition to a personal address. They're issued by schools from elementary all the way through graduate school. Let's explore why you might want to get one of these for yourself, and how to go about it.

Why Consider a .edu Email Address?

Why should someone use a .edu address over a single, personal address? There are a couple of reasons you might want to.

It's Required

First, you're required to have one, because you're a current student of that particular school. These accounts are important for students because they're one of the main ways to receive communications from the school regarding classes, registration, etc. Students are also likely to use this account to turn in assignments.

Alternatively, if you're a teacher, or another member of the administrative staff, this is effectively your work email.

More Professional

If you like your personal email to be fun, you can use a .edu address when you need to send emails in a more professional context. For example, using this address for job hunting can let recruiters know upfront where you went to school, and it creates a better first impression than an email from "beerboy191@gmail.com."

Additionally, like any other free email address, these can be useful to cut down on spam in your primary address.

Discounts

There are some instances where you can enjoy an educational discount on products by purchasing them with a school email address. This varies depending on the seller, but in many cases the only way these discounts are verified is based on whether they contain a valid .edu email address.

How to Get a .edu Email Address If You're a Student or Staff

Students and staff probably won't have to do anything at all. Once you begin your job as a teacher, or register for your first classes, you'll likely get an address issued to you. For staff, the account will be accessible for as long as you're with the institution. Students, in many cases, will have access to their account for life, or until it's left idle for a certain period of time after graduation.

How to Get a .edu Email Address If You're Alumni

Many schools will make .edu addresses available to those who have graduated, and from the perspective of a basic email account, they'll serve just fine. If you want to get one of these accounts, the best place to start is by searching your school's alumni relations website.

When a free .edu email address is one of the benefits they offer, it will probably say so front and center. If you can't find it there, consider giving the alumni relations office a quick call. The process may be as simple as submitting a form request to the school's IT department.

Opting-in to an alumni .edu email address

You might be required to verify you were a student of the school by answering some basic questions. Common ones would be graduation year, student ID number, and/or social security number. As part of this, it's likely you'll also be asked for an alternate email address used for recovery purposes. Once you're through the verification process, most systems will send you an invite to the school's email system.

For cloud systems like Gmail or Microsoft Exchange, this will contain either a link allowing you to access the system and/or set your initial password, or instructions on how to set up a mail client to connect to the school's servers.

Features of .edu Email Addresses

By and large, .edu addresses operate just like any other email address you might have. However, there are a couple of caveats you may want to keep in mind:

  • Email System: Just like a work account, you'll be stuck with whatever email system your school prefers. Some might use Gmail, Exchange, or on-premises mail servers requiring you to fetch mail via the old POP3 or IMAP protocols. The point is whatever they use, that's what you'll use.
  • Account Benefits: Alumni accounts may not have all the same benefits as a current student's account. For example, if your school uses your email account to sign you into other services, your alumni account may not get you into the school's Wi-fi. This all depends on the institution and the benefits they extend to their alumni but expect some limitations.
  • Features: Alumni and .edu accounts may not have all the features of "regular" accounts either. For example, it's important for current students and staff to have a decent amount of storage available for sending/receiving assignments, etc, but alumni accounts don't have the same requirement, at least from the school's point of view. 
  • Account Duration: Your alumni account might not be available forever. Email accounts take up resources that could otherwise be extended to current students. While most schools are happy to offer these to alumni, they'll be just as happy to take them back if they feel they aren't being used. If you sign up for one of these accounts, make sure you log in periodically so it doesn't look idle.