Converting to Google or Microsoft eMail systems is saving some colleges and universities upwards of half a million dollars annually, and the move has satisfied some students and faculty members who have clamored for an eMail interface with more applications and storage capability.

Many schools that have switched from campus-run eMail accounts to commercial accounts made the decision before last year's economic recession hit, slashing campus budgets. But as IT dollars have dwindled, officials say the long-term savings of converting to an eMail provider that provides hosted, web-based service has proven critical to avoiding job cuts and maintaining IT staffing.

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