NOTRE DAME - Holy Cross College says it has reached an agreement with the University of Notre Dame as part of a long-term financial sustainability plan. The proposal, which still needs approval from multiple organizations, involves Notre Dame purchasing 75 acres of land owned by Holy Cross, then leasing the property back to the college.

The Higher Learning Commission has called for the school to develop a four-year plan to improve its financial standing. That came after a commission review showed operating losses for the school totaling more than $1 million in 2014 and 2015. The HLC cites shot-term credit lines, long-term debt and redirecting restricted gifts to balance budges and finance operations as financial risks that need to be addressed.

The Holy Cross College Board of Trustees "has been working on a robust and sustainable financial plan since the beginning of the academic year," says board chair Dave Bender. "The opinions and rumors that have been circulating recently are not reflective of the work the Board of Trustees and administration have done to secure the future of the college."

The deal with the University of Notre Dame involves 75 acres owned by Holy Cross College and the Brothers of Holy Cross Midwest Province on the west side of State Road 933 and south of Holy Cross Village. The college believes the arrangement will help it reduce debt and provide financial capital to meet operating needs.

Bender says the school will not release details of the agreement, but says the board "can assure the entire Holy Cross community that it will have a stabilizing impact on the college and will allow us to confidently plan for the future."