In 2015 responding to the national cost crisis in higher education, eighteen presidents of accredited, independent not-for-profit colleges and universities formed a working group of college presidents under the leadership of Michael Alexander, President, Lasell College. These institutions were committed to working together to develop, share, test, and market new models that would benefit students seeking a four-year degree and contribute to the sustainability of the independent four-year higher education sector.
The group met multiple times over the following two years to collaborate, share ideas, and explore the possibility of creating a consortium. With President Alexander’s leadership, the group received support from the Davis Educational Foundation to hire a consultant, Janet L. Holmgren, President Emerita of Mills College and Principal, Jangren Higher Education Consulting LLC. Through the work of President Alexander and Dr. Holmgren, the group met again at the Council of Independent Colleges Presidents Institute in January 2017, where they agreed to found the Lower Cost Models for Independent Colleges Consortium.
During 2017, the LCMC received additional support from the Davis Educational Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which they used to undertake several collaborative initiatives:
  • Explore a shared credential in Certified Financial Planning as a model for collaborative initiatives among a subset of the member institutions that choose to participate;
  • Explore a shared curriculum in undergraduate computer science; and
  • Pursue other opportunities for collaboration to enhance opportunities and lower costs.
In 2019, Adrian College President, Dr. Jeffrey Docking, decided to incubate a new company on his campus called Rize Education. Rize’s purpose was to harness the power of a full-time team to expand on the early success of the LCMC’s model in Certified Financial Planning and the Google Computer Science Program pioneered by many LCMC schools. Consequently, Rize is focused on helping LCMC schools start shared majors using curricula that have been developed in collaboration with top academic experts and taught by our own faculty. By starting these new programs, LCMC schools are attempting to 1) increase enrollment, 2) improve educational outcomes and job opportunities for our graduates, and 3) lower their tuitions over time because of the economic efficiencies of the cooperative model.

With generous support from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elizabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’s retirement as Chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc.