The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) defines a contractual relationship with another educational institution as one in which an accredited college or university contracts with an unaccredited outside entity, which may or may not be a college or university, to offer 25% or more of a degree or certificate program because it does not have sufficient or appropriate resources to provide these programs. In these arrangements, the accredited institution cedes control of the curriculum to the unaccredited third party. This requires MSCHE approval.
Columbia University almost never engages in contractual relationships as defined by MSCHE. Columbia does, however, enter into intellectual partnerships with other institutions of higher education in order to broaden educational opportunities for students.