Understanding Virginia Tech Email Routing and Forwarding Options


This article describes


Top of page


Within the next year, Gmail will be phased out at Virginia Tech. Please consider this if you are choosing to forward you email to Gmail. For more information regarding the changes, please see Google Service Changes at Virginia Tech.

Routing is not the same as forwarding.


Routing determines which email server (Gmail or Exchange Online) will be the location where you check your Virginia Tech email. Routing is configured in MyCAT. If you are not eligible for an Exchange Online account, Exchange Online will not be a routing option for you and your email will be routed to Gmail by default.

Top of page


Forwarding occurs when a message is delivered to an email server (Gmail or Exchange Online), but that email server then creates a copy of that email (with different headers) and sends it to a different email server. Forwarding occurs in your email client.

Top of page

Virginia Tech Email Configuration

Email coming to @vt.edu addresses routes to Google first. Your routing setting within MyCAT will determine what happens with your email once it arrives at Google (i.e., does it continue to the Gmail email server or get routed to the Exchange Online email server).

The exception to this is when a Virginia Tech Exchange Online user sends email directly to another Virginia Tech Exchange Online user. In this case, email stays within Exchange Online unless a special forward is put into place to send it to Gmail.

Users routing their email to Exchange Online will see copies of external and Virginia Tech Gmail emails in their Virginia Tech Gmail inbox. This is due to a required setting being enabled within the Gmail email server called comprehensive email storage (CMS). CMS ensures messages sent by other Google Workspace core apps, such as calendar, drive, forms, etc., appear in users' mailboxes. The exception to this rule is International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Exchange routing which disables CMS for compliance reasons.

Top of page

Options to Configure Exchange Online as Your Primary Email Service

Top of page

Options to Configure Gmail as Your Primary Email Server

Top of page

Additional Information

Top of page