Leaders at Notre Dame College anticipate having more information to share about the financially struggling school’s future “in the coming days.” 

That comes after officials at the South Euclid campus previously told Signal Cleveland they expected to have additional context to share in mid-February. 

Several Notre Dame faculty and staff members, who did not want to be identified, told Signal Cleveland last month they had been told a decision would come on or by Feb. 15 about whether the college would remain open, merge or close. 

As Signal Cleveland recently reported, leaders at Notre Dame and Cleveland State University met three times last fall. Cleveland State categorized those conversations as “opportunities for both administrations to explore the feasibility of CSU potentially absorbing Notre Dame College.” 

Notre Dame’s team said they are engaging in strategic planning in response to the challenges – such as declining enrollment and financial woes – that the small private college is facing. 

One option, they said Jan. 27, includes a “potential opportunity with Cleveland State University that would be mutually beneficial to our students, our school community, and both organizations.” 

Cleveland State’s Bloomberg discusses Notre Dame  

Cleveland State President Laura Bloomberg brought up Notre Dame College at the university’s Faculty Senate meeting Jan. 31. She said it was not a “well-kept secret” that Notre Dame College and other small private colleges like it were struggling. 

Bloomberg went on to say that the university, as part of its recent work with the accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young, decided this might not be the only situation where the institution could be talking “with a small private college in this area that might be struggling, or thinking about closing, or thinking about whether they can be acquired.” 

Cleveland State officials moved on to think about Notre Dame College as “something of a test case,” according to Bloomberg.

This work, she added, could “help us come up with a rubric, what would be the things that we would think about if we were to consider a different kind of relationship” such as a merger, an acquisition or a strategic partnership with a type of revenue-sharing model. 

Notre Dame agreed to this and then provided Cleveland State and EY with “quite a lot of data,” she said, which Cleveland State’s team then used “as a case to walk through our rubric.”

“That’s what’s happening right now,” Bloomberg said. “That’s all.”

Signal Cleveland has asked Cleveland State officials repeatedly for more clarification about the implications of this “test case.” The university hasn’t yet responded. 

Looking ahead for Cleveland State and Notre Dame

Bloomberg seemed to push back most at the perceived speed of a potential timetable. 

“If we were going to be this close to a merger or an acquisition, like the media would have us think, we’d be having different kinds of conversations with you,” she said. “There’s accreditation implications, there’s a lot of things. There would be much more to come.”  

She closed that portion of her address by saying she wasn’t in a position to speculate. 

“But I can tell you that it’s not like ‘wait for an announcement tomorrow’ that we’re going to be merging or something like that,” she said.  

Higher education reporter for Signal Cleveland in partnership with Open Campus.