We came into this looking to solve a problem with our student email, and Apps definitely solved that.
The IT team at Wesleyan University faced a constant and frustrating challenge with disk capacity on their Unix-based email system. This caused needless expenses and required the staff to focus on email maintenance issues rather than higher-value projects.
Wesleyan University was drawn to Google Apps for Education because it is offered free of charge (and free of ads) for academic institutions. After deploying Google Apps, the university was able to avoid the steep hardware expenses required for a system upgrade. Also, the IT staff could devote time to projects that might make a real difference on campus. Because most students were already forwarding their email to Gmail, the transition to Apps went smoothly. Students use it for collaborative work, site creation, managing schedules, and more. Professors often request Google Docs for group assignments and presentations, because it works well across both Macs and PCs.