College students enrolled at one of the 650 schools in the Council of Independent Colleges, or CIC — the nation’s largest group of small, private institutions — will now have the opportunity to take discounted online courses at any school in the CIC via College Consortium, an online course-sharing platform that allows students to enroll in online classes at similarly-sized institutions.
The College Consortium is an education technology company created by Joshua Pierce, a former private equity associate, and his team, most of whom, like Pierce, have experience working on the business side of higher education. College Consortium enables associations of schools to join consortiums like the CIC to take advantage of new infrastructure and educational resources. The platform currently works with 55 consortiums, Pierce said, but the CIC partnership is the largest group yet.
Though the partnership was only officially announced last week, 80 schools in the CIC have already piloted its course-sharing platform, and 12 schools have signed on. The goal, CIC president Richard Ekman said, is to improve graduation and retention rates at small schools in the CIC that can’t provide vast online resources to their students.