Office of Information Technology

Frequently Asked Questions about AU-Sponsored Gmail Accounts



General Information About AU-Sponsored Gmail Accounts


Privacy and Security


Configuration of Your AU-Sponsored E-mail Account




General Information About AU-Sponsored Gmail Accounts


What is an AU-sponsored Gmail account?

An AU-sponsored Gmail e-mail account is created for all newly admitted or enrolled students and alumni as requested. Student Gmail accounts are created when you complete the account creation process at myAU.american.edu. These e-mail accounts are hosted by Google and can be accessed via the Web at http://www.gmail.com. These accounts are referred to as AU-sponsored Gmail accounts to avoid confusion with any other Gmail accounts you may personally have. The AU-sponsored Gmail account uses an e-mail address format of username@student.american.edu or username@alumni.american.edu. For students, all electronic correspondence from the university will be sent to your "student.american.edu" e-mail address, so it is important to either check it regularly or configure Gmail to forward your e-mail to another address. Back to List

 

How do I log into my AU-sponsored Gmail account?

Open your Web browser and go to http://www.gmail.com. You will be prompted for your USER NAME and GMAIL PASSWORD.

Please note that your user name is your full AU email address. For students, this is your user name on the myAU.american.edu Web portal, followed by @student.american.edu. For alumni, this is your assigned e-mail account, username@alumni.american.edu. For example: If you are a current student, your name is Jane Doe and your AU ID number is 1234567, your username to log into your AU-sponsored Gmail account is probably going to be jd4567a@student.american.edu.

When you first created your user name, the portal displayed your initial temporary Gmail password. If you do not remember that password, please follow the steps to reset your password. Back to List

 

Who is eligible to get an AU-sponsored Gmail account?

An AU-sponsored Gmail e-mail account is created for all newly admitted or enrolled students, and for alumni upon request. Student Gmail accounts are created when you complete the account creation process at myAU.american.edu. Please note: Gmail accounts are not created for full-time AU faculty or staff, regardless of their student enrollment status. Back to List

 

Can I opt out of the AU-sponsored Gmail service and use AU-hosted e-mail instead?

Yes, if you are a current student. Contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, helpdesk@american.edu, or AskAmericanUHelp to request that your account be migrated back to the AU-hosted servers.

NOTE: if you choose to opt out of the AU-sponsored Gmail service, you will not be able to forward your AU e-mail to an external address any longer. If you want to forward your e-mail to another address, you should configure your account to forward your e-mail. Back to List

 

Will I be able to keep my e-mail address after I graduate from AU?

Your student Gmail account will continue to work for a period of time after you graduate. Alumni Gmail accounts are created upon request. Back to List

 

 

Privacy and Security


How do I make sure no one can intercept my password or the messages I am sending in Gmail?

You should enable encryption, or the HTTPS protocol, in the settings for your account. This will encrypt everything that is sent between the computer you are using and the Gmail servers, thereby reducing the probability of interception.

To enable this feature in Gmail:

  1. Log into your account at http://www.gmail.com
  2. Click MAIL SETTINGS at the top right of any Gmail page. 
  3. Set BROWSER CONNECTION to ALWAYS USE HTTPS
  4. Click SAVE CHANGES
  5. Press RELOAD. Note that the address now starts with https:// rather than http://, meaning the connection is encrypted.

It is also important to end each of your Gmail sessions by clicking SIGN OUT at the top of any Gmail page and to close all Gmail browser windows. Back to List

 

Will Google log my activity or scan my content?

Your AU-sponsored e-mail account is a standard Google Gmail account sent to your username@student.american.edu or username@alumni.american.edu address. Google's operating practice is to electronically process the contents, addresses, and other characteristics of Google Apps for Education services (including GMail, Calendar, Contacts, Blogger, etc.), in order to improve the efficiency of user searches, and also to focus advertising for individual users. Google's privacy policy states that hosted data is not sold or turned over to third parties, unless the data is subpoenaed in a court proceeding. The data derived from Google's automated processing are maintained by Google until two years after the last date of a customer's use of any Google service.

Under American University's agreement with Google, Google will not display advertising to students using @student.american.edu e-mail accounts while the student is enrolled at AU. When AU enrollment ends, Google may provide customized advertising for users in the same manner it does for other Gmail accounts. Back to List

 

Are AU or Google sharing my personal information with any outside organizations?

No. Google has signed a contract committing to compliance with AU's strict privacy policies. Back to List

 

Is my AU-sponsored Gmail account secure and private?

This service is being provided by the University as the primary e-mail/collaboration system for eligible students, and for alumni as requested. University policies will apply to the service.

Your AU-sponsored Gmail account has been customized for optimal educational collaboration. American University has taken steps to ensure that your data is protected above and beyond a publicly available account.

Google has signed a contract committing them to uphold a strict privacy policy and to always treat your personal information with the utmost care and security. Read more about Google Privacy & Security. Keep in mind that Google has agreed that AU student data is subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) when in Google's possession. Back to List

 

Will I be able to look up other students' addresses in a directory?

No. To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, the system is not configured to allow one student to look up another's information. Be sure to have the e-mail addresses of your friends and classmates saved to add to your contact list. You may find it helpful to add AskAmericanUHelp@gmail.com to your contact list, so you can easily chat with the IT Help Desk when you need assistance. Back to List

 

How do I ensure that my data stays secure when I'm using a shared or public computer?

IMPORTANT: Closing your Web browser will not end your Gmail session as it does with many other systems. Click the SIGN OUT button when you are finished using your Gmail account on a shared or public computer and then close the browser to be sure that no one else can access your data. Back to List

 

 

Configuration of Your AU-Sponsored E-mail Account


I can't log into my AU-sponsored Gmail account. How do I get my password reset?

For students, log into the myAU.american.edu Web portal. Click on TECHNOLOGY on the right. Under Personalized Links, click the CHANGE MY GMAIL PASSWORD link and follow the on-screen instructions.

Alumni with an existing AU-sponsored Gmail account can contact the IT Help Desk for a password reset. Back to List

 

Will I be able to use a firstname.lastname alias for my e-mail address?

You can request an e-mail alias of firstname.lastname@student.american.edu or firstname.lastname@alumni.american.edu by contacting the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, helpdesk@american.edu, or AskAmericanUHelp. Back to List

 

How do I forward my e-mail my AU-sponsored Gmail account to another e-mail address?

We would like to encourage you to try the Gmail service (which includes Google Chat, Documents, and Calendar), but if you wish, you can opt to forward your AU-sponsored Gmail account to another external e-mail address by following the steps below:

  1. Log into http://www.gmail.com
  2. Then, click MAIL SETTINGS at the top right of the page and click the FORWARDING AND POP/IMAP tab.
  3. Click the ADD A FORWARDING ADDRESS button and enter your EXTERNAL E-MAIL ADDRESS in the box. Click NEXT.
  4. A confirmation e-mail message, with a confirmation code, will be sent to your external e-mail address. Copy the code from the message into the box provided under your AU Gmail account settings, and click VERIFY.
  5. Click the radio button beside FORWARD A COPY OF INCOMING MAIL TO to enable forwarding.
  6. IMPORTANT: We recommend that you keep a copy of messages sent to you in your Gmail inbox by selecting the KEEP AMERICAN UNIVERSITY'S COPY IN THE INBOX
  7. Finally, click SAVE CHANGES from the bottom of the page.

Back to List

 

Can I use another program, such as Mac Mail, Outlook, or Thunderbird) to read my e-mail on my AU-sponsored Gmail account?

Yes. Please follow the instructions below to enable IMAP access and configure your e-mail program to access your AU-sponsored Gmail account:

  1. Log into http://www.gmail.com
  2. Click MAIL SETTINGS at the top right and then click the FORWARDING AND POP/IMAP tab.
  3. Scroll down and select ENABLE IMAP. 
  4. Then, click SAVE CHANGES from the bottom of the page. 
  5. Finally, follow the appropriate set of instructions below to configure your IMAP program to connect to @student.american.edu or @alumni.american.edu on the appropriate, secure ports:

Back to List

 

Will my portal password synchronize with Gmail?

Yes, however this is optional. When you change or synchronize your network password on the myAU portal, you will see a check box that if checked, will also change or synchronize your AU-sponsored Gmail account password. This will allow you to keep your portal and Gmail passwords the same. If you wish to keep the passwords separate, you must uncheck the box when changing or synchronizing your portal password.  Back to List

 

How do I make sure that mail I want to receive isn't marked as spam?

If messages that you want to receive have be sent to your spam folder, you can prevent that from recurring by taking three steps: 

  1. First, you should add any important addresses to your Contacts List. Most messages from people in your Contacts List will be delivered. 
  2. Then, you should review the contents of your Spam folder and mark messages you want to receive as NOT SPAM. Gmail's spam filtering system will learn what you think is spam, based on what you mark as spam and not spam. It will change how future messages are filtered based on that. 
  3. Finally, you can create a filter so the messages are never sent to the Spam folder.

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