Approval of Consortial Arrangements for Shared Delivery of Academic Programs

Protocol established December 2016.

This is a summary of the policy on the Approval of Consortial Arrangements for Shared Delivery of Academic Programs. Click here to view the official policy in its entirety in the UW-Madison Policy Library.

When UW-Madison enters, restructures, or discontinues a consortial agreement for the delivery of academic programs, such agreements require academic approval by the faculty of the participating department or academic unit, the dean of the school/college, and the University Academic Planning Council.

If a consortial agreement involves a new degree/major program, then regular UW System and Board of Regent approval are required.

Consortial agreements must be also be approved by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) under the policies for substantive institutional change. See

For information about this requirement contact:
Jocelyn Milner
Vice Provost, Academic Planning and Institutional Research
HLC Accreditation Liaison

What is a consortial agreement?

A consortial arrangement is one in which an HLC-accredited institution develops an agreement with another accredited college or university in which all participating institutions provide some portion of a degree/major. To be considered a consortium, the agreement will involve two or more accredited colleges or universities as recognized by the US Department of Education.

The consortial parties each provide some portion of the educational program, which typically involves delivering instruction and sharing for-credit courses. Consortial components may include developing syllabi or courseware, providing academic resources, developing instructional design.

Consortial programs at any level of shared program instruction require campus approvals.
Consortial programs that involve 25-50% of the degree/major require notification to HLC.
Consortial programs that involve more than 50% of a degree/major must be approved by HLC.

Consortial agreement requirements do NOT apply to:

Approval Process

Consortial agreements for degree/majors should be approved through the same process as for the regular degree/major approval to establish, restructure, or discontinue a degree/major or named option.

After campus approval, and UW System and Board of Regent approval if required, the consortial agreement will be submitted to HLC by the University’s HLC Liaison for either recording (25-50% of the program covered by the partner institution(s)) or approval (more than 50% of the program offered by the partner institution(s)).

References: Approval of Consortia Arrangements for Shared Delivery of Academic Programs