No university can offer every class at every time, but smaller colleges and universities face even more challenges when it comes to maximizing their course catalogs. Enter the College Consortium, a new online course-sharing program allowing students enrolled at colleges within the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to take discounted online courses at other member schools. Here’s a closer look at what students can expect, as reported by EdScoop.

Amplified Educational Resources

Created by a former private equity associate, College Consortium is an education technology company which enables schools to join consortiums, like the CIC, as a means of sharing resources. While 55 consortiums are currently using the platform, the CIC is its biggest yet.

CIC president Richard Ekman said of the benefits of participating in the College Consortium, “The core thesis here is that though [a college] can’t get everything that students need when they need it, it probably has access to it through some network it’s already part of.”

An institution can add anywhere from a handful to hundreds of courses. As of December, the course marketplace comprised more than 9,000 offerings. Using a search option, schools select courses based on specific gaps and or enrollment issues for certain students, such as retaking classes or catching up over the summer.

The Start of a Trend

Ekman anticipates that hundreds of other CIC institutions will join the College Consortium in the upcoming years, and can expect to receive substantial discounts due to the group’s growth.

According to university vice president of enrollment services Cyndi Porter, meanwhile, students don’t discriminate about where they are taking a class as long as they get credit for it. An added perk is they can use financial aid -- something that would be unavailable to them with a traditional credit transfer.

“This isn’t going away -- it’s not a flash in the pan,” Porter told EdScoop. “The consumer [...] has grown up with online, and they expect online. For smaller schools that don’t want to build their own online program, this is an excellent answer.”