Dropbox Offers Colleges New Cloud Storage Option

File-hosting service Dropbox has created a new option to entice more colleges and universities into joining its service. The company believes that the new offering, called Dropbox Education, will help students and faculty members collaborate with files efficiently and conveniently. Dropbox Education is priced at $49 per user, with a minimum of 300 users. However, the cost could be discounted for some educational institutions depending on the size of their student enrollment.

Dropbox Education users will have access to files anytime and from anywhere in the campus. The new service will work on any device, online as well as offline. The service integrates with popular education software, including Blackboard, InCommon and Turnitin. Dropbox users also get advanced security with multiple layers of protection. Individual users of Dropbox Education will get 15 GB cloud storage space.

Dropbox will work with colleges on complying with various regulations governing the storage of students’ information, such as Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and has pledged that the company will to store colleges’ data in the U.S. The institution’s IT team will have access to tools for monitoring, managing and permission sharing purposes.

Dropbox is currently one of the most popular cloud storage service providers in the market. The company currently has about 500 million users worldwide. Users can get up to 2 GB of storage with a free account and gain more storage without cost by performing tasks and encouraging friends to sign up. Dropbox also offers Business and Pro plans.

More than 4,000 institutions currently use the company’s cloud-based storage solutions for businesses. Dropbox Business with unlimited storage capacity has a monthly price plan of $12.50 per user with a minimum of five users. The company reports that Dropbox Business currently has over 150,000 paying customers.

Dropbox hopes that the introduction of Dropbox Education will attract more schools, colleges and universities to the service in the near term. The move could give the company a bigger foothold in the lucrative education market. Jason Katcher, who leads Dropbox’s education efforts, was previously the head of Google Apps for Education.

Other cloud storage companies already have a foothold inside educational institutions. Many schools have already purchased a productivity suite, like Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps for Education, which provides large amounts of cloud storage. The problem for Dropbox is that a school that is already paying for one storage product may not see a need to pay for another.