Mandatory switch for students to .edu email pushed back to summer

Technical issues force SDCCD to postpone shift of communications to student emails


Megersa Bayisa, City College instructional lab technician, demonstrates the student email login process on April 13, 2023. Bayisa said he has helped students with email issues and knows some struggle with technology. Photo by Sean Monney/City Times Media

Sean Monney, Multimedia Journalist

The San Diego Community College District is planning a mandatory shift of communications to .edu emails, but the switch has been pushed back from March 27 to summer 2023, officials announced.

Logging into this student account is critical, as all communications from the district and City College professors will be sent to the .edu address and any personal email will no longer receive any information.

The specific date is undetermined, but Dean of Student Services Victor DeVore said it will happen “during the heavy period (of) the summer semester.”

The decision behind the deadline change, DeVore explained, was because of insufficient registration for student email accounts and some technical issues. 

As of April 3, only 74% of the 97,345 students enrolled at SDCCD had engaged with their student email, according to data provided by DeVore.

The remaining 26% of students had never logged in to their .edu email, meaning  25,376 students would have stopped receiving school communications from their professors or faculty if the switch had occurred as originally planned.

DeVore explained that the student email rollout also had some technical issues, including streamlining accounts for students who are also district employees.

The district sees the summer as an opportunity to softly roll out student emails, giving them time to deal with nuances before the start of the fall semester. 

“So if there’s anything that we might have missed, we can use the summer to be able to tweak our messaging, maybe add some additional training materials, or maybe even some suggestions to make the process better,” DeVore said. 

DeVore stated the district also plans on developing training material in different languages to assist non-English-speaking students.

Aileen Gum, a City College professor and faculty online mentor, understood the district’s decision to postpone the email deadline. 

“I think they want to be a little more cautious and make sure everyone will be served as much as possible,” Gum said. “And that if there are things that haven’t been considered, that they can have those supports put into place so the students don’t get frustrated or that it doesn’t lock communication.”

Gum said access to a .edu email for students is an “equity issue” and would provide SDCCD students equal opportunities for access and discounts students at other colleges and universities already have. 

She also explained not all students have as much technological access or knowledge to register for a new email.

“I think we have some student populations that need more help that wasn’t anticipated,” Gum said. 

SDCCD has provided online help with signing up for a .edu email and with setting up forwarding from a student account to a personal inbox.