Dropbox for Education Brings Cloud Storage to Ed Institutions

(Image: Dropbox Education)

(Image: Dropbox Education)

Dropbox has added a third tier to its offerings that extends its storage services from consumers and businesses to educational institutions and their staff members.

At a cost of $49 per year with volume discounts available, Dropbox for Education offers users 15 GB of storage per user, with the cumulative amount being shared with the team. That would give a 300-person team 4.5TB of space; one year of version history and deleted files; sharing permissions and activity monitoring through an Admin Console; and compliance with a number of security standards and regulations.

"With 500 million users on Dropbox, it's easy to share documents and collaborate with anyone — teachers, students and external partners — even if they don't have a Dropbox account," says Dropbox. "Our extensive app ecosystem includes higher education tools like Blackboard, Turnitin and Moodle — so faculty and students can work together with the programs they're already using."

By comparison, Dropbox for Businesses is similar, offering unlimited storage and revision history. However, it starts at $15 per month, or about $150 per year, with a minimum of five users.

The $49 price for Dropbox for Education only applies to teams of 300 users or more. Smaller groups will be required to contact the sales team at Dropbox in order to work out their own deal. Users will also have the option to purchase as much storage as they need for their team.

Dropbox for Business currently has over 150,000 customers, which already includes several colleges and universities such as he University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (which Dropbox founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi both graduated from), University College London, and the Teachers College at Columbia University.

Over 4,000 educational organizations are currently making use of Dropbox. That amount is expected to increase with the introduction of the new Dropbox for Education, writes Jordan Novet for VentureBeat.

The company hopes the new endeavor will be useful for universities and professors looking for a cloud-based solution to back up their files and share them with coworkers and students, but who do not want to pay for the features offered through the business set that they may not need, writes Napier Lopez for TheNextWeb.

However, companies including Google and Microsoft already offer free or low-cost access to file sharing for educational institutions, in addition to a full suite of office productivity tools such as document writing, spreadsheeting, and productivity, writes Ben Kepes for ComputerWorld.

Previously, Dropbox has pushed users to sign up for its Pro, Business, or Enterprise tiers, making this the first time the company has offered users a solution for individual industries at a special cost. However, concessions were made by the company in the past in order to ensure compatibility, including becoming compliant with HIPAA and HITECH laws for health care and launching a page on its website that is relevant to media organizations.

In comparison, Box, a smaller rival, has been creating industry-specific packages for some time, most recently announcing its Box for Government suite.

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