BP Restricted Signup by Email Domain is a plugin that allows a site administrator to set domain whitelists for user signups. This means that if you only want to allow members with a gmail.com address you can, or more likely, people with a .edu mail account
There is a way of getting a basic level of association between specific blog categories and Groups by using the Blog Categories for Groups plugin, and you can make it that comments to those blogs appear as topic replies in that particular groups forum.
Within BuddyPress, the Xprofile is the Extended Profile, information from which is what you can see when you view the Members>>Username>>Profile page. It is Xprofile fields that are completed when a member signs up for example. The registration page gathers data for the Xprofile “Base” Field Group. Other Field Groups can be added by Admin which are not set up on registration but will also be displayed on the members profile.