Frequently Asked Questions regarding student email change

As of June 1st, 2021 - the college changed the default email system for students from Hawkmail (also known as GSuite for Education) to Office 365.  We wanted to create a frequently asked questions page that answers the questions that our students, faculty, and staff may have about this change.

Overview of the change

What will my email address be?

Will I need to let people know of a new address?

Why is the college making this change?

What's the best way to access email on Office 365?

What do I do if I prefer using Hawkmail?

What if I forward my college email to my personal email address?

Can we move existing email from our Hawkmail to our Office 365 accounts?

How will this impact Alumni?


Overview of the change

The change happened in two phases - first in December 2020 for new students, and then in June 2021 for existing students.

  • As of December 2020 - we stopped automatically creating new accounts for students on Hawkmail.  This means that for new students (first matriculating or registering in December 2020 or later), their official college email will be Office 365.
  • On June 1st, 2021 - we made Office 365 the default email for students who were active before December 1st, 2020What this will mean will be that all email from the college (from Blackboard, Banner, and other college systems) will go to Office 365.  Mail sent to Hawkmail for active students will be automatically forwarded to their Office 365 accounts.


What will my email address be?

Your email address on Office will be the same as your Hawkmail account but with instead of

It's the same thing you use when logging into college services like Blackboard,, etc.


Will I need to let people know of a new address?

If you already have a Hawkmail address, you won't need to let anyone know of the address change.  As of June 1st, 2021, when we made the change for existing students, Hawkmail accounts for existing students had a forwarding address put in place (from to


Why did the college make this change?

There's a lot of different reasons - but some of the highlights are those below.

Easier collaboration between faculty/staff/students

We have had a lot of issues having two different systems - one for faculty and staff, and one for students.  Faculty and staff either had to use Hawkmail/GSuite to share documents with students (for collaborative editing/drafts/etc.), or students had to use Office 365 to share with faculty and staff.  In either case - you had people using a tool they didn't typically use - to make it easier for the other group.

These issues have been greater in areas where students are involved in studies (such as clinical work) where encrypting emails is needed - and this has caused even more confusion.

Additionally, we've had requests from faculty and staff to use Microsoft Teams, and we've held back on that to avoid platform fatigue (where students need to use too many different platforms).  With students using Office 365 as their default email, this will become less of an issue - and we can better support Teams.


We currently have Duo providing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for Office 365.  Using Duo to protect Hawkmail would be prohibitively expensive, since we would have to license all alumni for Duo, at tens of thousands a year in additional costs.  We can use the Google Authenticator tool, but then students would have to use two different MFA services (Duo for all other college services, and the Google tool for just Hawkmail).  We'd also have to enable it on all students/alumni at once - which would be an enormous disruption for students and alumni.

Microsoft also gives us additional tools to identify and protect sensitive data that may be stored on the various Office 365 systems (like SharePoint or OneDrive).


With students on Office 365 - we can more easily use Microsoft's Azure for authentication for services like Blackboard.  This way these services will still work even if there is a disruption in services on-campus (due to hardware failures, network outages, etc.).

Free Microsoft Office Suite

All students are eligible to download and install Microsoft Office (which includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and more.  See the instructions at the link below:

How do I install Microsoft Office to my personal computer or device?


What's the best way to access email on Office 365?

If you are at a computer, you should just go to (or from the New Paltz home page - click Resources at the top right, then choose Office 365).

If you are on a smart phone or tablet, we recommend the free Microsoft Outlook app.

Android - Microsoft Outlook

iPhone/iPad - Microsoft Outlook


What do I do if I prefer using Hawkmail?

If you are an existing student who already has a Hawkmail account, and would like to continue using it (and not switch) you can.  You will need to do two things to do so.  If you don't do both of these steps - you will have issues with your email account.

If you want to keep using Hawkmail - you would have to do the following, in this order.  Note: These instructions assume you are doing this from a computer, not a smart phone.

Please note: We recommend against this - and recommend all students keep using Office 365 as their official college email.  As of June 2021, we only provide limited support (login assistance only) for Hawkmail.

Disable the forwarding from Hawkmail to Office 365

  1. Log in to your Hawkmail account.
  2. Click the gear icon at the top right, then See all settings.
    Screenshot of Hawkmail showing the gear icon for settings, and the See All Settings button
  3. Click on the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab near the top, and change Forwarding to Disable Forwarding.
    Screenshot of Hawkmail showing the Forwarding tab and the Disable Forwarding button
  4. Click Save Changes at the bottom.

Enable forwarding from Office 365 to Hawkmail

Important: Make sure you have disabled the forwarding from Hawkmail to Office 365 before you do this.  Failure to do that first could cause a mail loop and loss of mail.

  1. Log in to your Office 365 account (via
  2. Click the gear icon at the top right, then click View all Outlook settings at the bottom.
    Screenshot of outlook with the gear icon and view all outlook settings highlighted

  3. Click on Forwarding in the middle column.
  4. Uncheck Enable forwarding and click Save at the bottom right.

    Screenshot of the forwarding settings window - with the Enable forwarding box shown

Once that's done - your college email will all go to your Hawkmail account.


What if I forward my college email to my personal email address?

If you prefer to have your college email forwarded to your personal email address - you can continue to do so, but you will have to set it up on Office 365 (even if you already had it setup on Hawkmail).

Note: If you forward your college email to an external address, we do not guarantee delivery.  If messages are lost in transmission, or official messages from the college, or from its faculty and staff are marked as spam, we are unable to assist with this.  For this reason, we recommend against forwarding to an external address.

These instructions are only for students.  Any forwarding setup by a college employee on their account may be disabled.

If you still want to setup this forwarding follow the steps below:

  1. Log in to your Office 365 account (via
  2. Click the gear icon at the top right, then click View all Outlook settings at the bottom.
    Screenshot of Outlook with the gear icon, and the view all settings button, highlighted
  3. Click on Forwarding
  4. Check the Enable forwarding check box
  5. Enter your personal email address in the Forward my email to box.
  6. Optional: check the Keep a copy of forwarded messages check box.  This will keep a copy of mail sent to you on Office 365 as well as forwarding it.
  7. Click Save at the bottom right.


Can we move existing email from our Hawkmail to our Office 365 accounts?

To request your existing email on Hawkmail be copied to Office 365 - just email your request to (from your Office 365 account).


How will this impact Alumni?

Unlike Hawkmail, Office 365 is only available for current students.  There is a grace period of around six months where your Office 365 account will remain active after your student status changes (due to graduation or withdrawal).  We will send notices periodically to recent students notifying them that their Office 365 account will be closed.

Because your Office 365 account will not remain active for long after graduation, we recommend that you do not use your address (which is on Office 365) as your account on personal services, or when you send out resumes.

What about Hawkmail?

If you already have a Hawkmail account - that account will remain active with the following two caveats:

  • Hawkmail accounts that are reported as being inactive (accounts which have not been logged into in over a year) may be suspended, and eventually deleted.
  • SUNY New Paltz reserves the right to end this service at some point in the future.  If that is done, we will provide at least one year's notice of any change.  We have no plans on making any such change at this time though.

Alumni who don't have a Hawkmail account but want one can get a Hawkmail account via (In the Alumni tab, click on Alumni Resources on the left, then choose Request Alumni Email Address).


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Article ID: 121240
Mon 11/30/20 10:53 AM
Mon 8/23/21 3:23 PM