5 Examples of College Consortiums

Major Consortia in the World of Academia

  • The Claremont Colleges
  • Five Colleges
  • Baltimore Collegetown
  • Atlanta University Center Consortium
  • The Quaker Consortium

College consortiums are formed through a collaboration between multiple institutes of higher learning that expands educational opportunities for students of all the participating schools. These groupings may be small with only a few members or represent a vast network of dozens of different campuses. Membership in a consortium can be a huge draw for colleges and universities, as it allows them to offer students more opportunities for specialization and academic exploration.

1. The Claremont Colleges

This consortium is a league made up of five undergraduate liberal arts colleges and two graduate schools. Member schools include Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College and Harvey Mudd College. The consortium offers around 2,000 different classes each year to the thousands of students attending one of its seven member schools. The Claremont consortium also boasts over 500 acres of campus across its various locations, giving students broader horizons to explore during their academic career.

Ranking: 30 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in the West, Ranked by Return on Investment (ROI)

2. Five Colleges

Considered by one Forbes author to be the "Grandfather of All Consortia," the Five Colleges Consortium is both old and prestigious. The organization was founded on the collaborative efforts between Amherst, Smith College, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Mt. Holyoke College in the 1950s. It currently serves roughly 30,000 students and more than 2,000 faculty members across the 5 campuses.

3. Baltimore Collegetown

Baltimore Collegetown lies at the center of the coastal mid-Atlantic region in the heart of one of its major cities. The consortium currently has 13 member colleges, including Johns Hopkins University, Community College of Baltimore County, University of Baltimore and Towson University. Collegetown not only links various schools together in a common organization but also provides a joint platform for social and professional exploration in the area.

4. Atlanta University Center Consortium

The Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) is centered around developing a strong sense of community and civic responsibility throughout their service area. Members currently include Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College. As a collective, the AUCC is committed to advancing the causes of equality and empowerment through various initiatives. They maintain various partnership programs to engage with local neighborhoods and communities in the Atlanta area.

5. The Quaker Consortium

The Quaker Consortium is a joining of long-standing collaborative efforts between several local universities in the Philadelphia region. The organization is currently comprised of the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College and Swarthmore College. All of the schools have some Quaker heritage and academic traditions, which serves as the inspiration for the consortium's theme. There are particularly strong academic ties between the campuses of Haverford and nearby Bryn Mawr, a combination also known as "Bi-Co."

Membership in a consortium can be an attractive trait for prospective students, but it shouldn't necessarily be a deciding factor. Students should discuss the practical and logistical concerns of participating in consortium programs or transfer courses. In some cases, taking advantage of the wider course selection can also lead to travel or scheduling difficulties. Despite the potential challenges, thousands of students at schools in the major college consortiums take advantage of their services every single year.