New UBC email address domains distinguish students from alumni

Current students and UBC graduates alike will no longer be constrained to using an email address.

UBC launched on August 17 its and domains. Both current students and alumni used the retired domain, which caused students difficulty in proving their enrolment status, especially for student deals and discounts.

The UBC email service provides both students and alumni with a free Canadian-hosted mailbox which users can access through UBC webmail after registering for the service through the Student Services Portal.

UBC IT announced the change in mid-August, stating that it was being done “to differentiate between current students and alumni.” It said that the change was necessary to provide students with certain Microsoft services.

In an email to The Ubyssey, Bin Yin, a graduate student in health care, talked about his distaste for the previous email address.

“I feel that the decision (several years ago, as it seems) to impose an alumni domain email account on current students was an extremely ill-considered move. I am not aware of any other university that has done this,” Yin said.

The university said that addresses will automatically convert to an domain upon graduation.

“Clarity on the affiliation will not only grant students to access vendor discounts on hardware and software, but will also grant students access to the new online communication collaboration platform, Microsoft Teams, and the file storing service, Microsoft OneDrive,” reads the announcement.

UBC IT assured students that they will still be able to access their previous email addresses until further notice.

Unlike the previous email address format where students could choose what appeared before the @ symbol, the new one requires students to use their campus-wide login username in their email address. Students do have the ability to change their CWL username, but there are some limitations.

“Generally, when students in other universities sign up for their university domain email account, they are able to create their email user name independently of any central university log-in account they also have,” Yin said.

Due to the ambiguous nature of the email, some students ran into issues when trying to sign up for student-only deals and services, such as Apple Music for $4.99 a month. Instead, students reported that they had to email in a photo of their UBC student card to prove their eligibility.

In a statement to The Ubyssey, Enrolment Services explained that .edu domains are restricted to US higher education institutions, with no known Canadian equivalent existing.

“Personally, I don't fancy the change. I like my email with the hosted mailbox, and I've been using it to apply for jobs and for other professional networking purposes,” Reddit user AlternativeSense sense said.

“I’ve never had any trouble signing up for services like Amazon Prime and YouTube Premium for students, all I had to do was email my proof of enrolment letter to their support services.”