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Higher Education Consortia

Through formal and informal channels, higher education institutions have long benefited by participating in consortia. Sharing resources and technology, however, carries significant risks. Marsh's Education Practice can help institutions like yours manage your consortia risk.

Consortia in higher education have existed for decades and vary in their scope and purpose. From regional and local colleges and universities whose networking makes it easier for students to earn credits, to shared research libraries, consortia can enhance schools' academic programs and help maintain revenue.

When institutions come together in consortium, they should consider the risks that can erode the advantages. From physical hazards to students, staff, and property, to cyber incidents, colleges and universities face complex exposures when linked together.

Our team of education risk specialists has a deep understanding of institutions like yours. We can provide cost-effective risk management solutions, so your institution can fulfill its singular mission and benefit from its consortia participation.


Higher education consortia can have complex risk profiles. Factors influencing institutions' exposures include their size, location, and assets. When institutions decide to share their resources in consortium, risks they should consider include:

  • Property risks: Facilities and equipment can be damaged by natural disasters, severe weather conditions, and accidents.
  • Liability risks: Students, staff, and visitors can incur injuries or illnesses, exposing consortium members to litigation.
  • Educators legal liability (ELL): Similar to directors and officers (D&O) liability, ELL can arise from acts relating to employment, tenure, harassment, federal civil rights laws, and more.
  • Fiduciary responsibility: Institutions' trustees, administrators, and employees can be held liable for their oversight of health, retirement, and other benefit plans.
  • Cyber risks: Institutions' technology systems may be crucial to the value delivered by the consortium members, making cyber risks significant concerns.

Strong risk management and thoughtful planning, aligned with strategic objectives, can help higher education institutions identify their consortia vulnerabilities and become more resilient. As the COVID-19 pandemic and other global events have demonstrated, threats can emerge quickly and force institutions to make drastic changes to their operations to protect their own staff and students as well as any shared resources.

Our experienced team of risk specialists can help your institution improve its own and your consortia risk resilience.

Risk analytics and claim data are valuable tools that can help institutions like yours benchmark their risk management programs. Reducing your total cost of risk can free up funds to deploy in new academic programs, acquiring assets, and enhancing the student experience.

Marsh’s risk specialists have experience in helping institutions like yours manage risks effectively, so that you can keep enriching lives in your own and your consortia community.

Our people

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Jean Demchak

Global Education Industry Practice Leader

  • United States

Frank Cella

Frank Cella

Managing Director, Education Industry Consortia Program Leader