OAKDALE - Eleventh-hour efforts are underway to save Dowling College from shutting down due to financial problems.

The liberal arts school in Oakdale was scheduled to close for good on Friday, to the dismay of many of its students and faculty.

Alumni Association President Frank Corso Jr. says he has a group of successful business people and an unnamed financial institution that are ready to help restructure Dowling's $54 million long-term debt problem.

The college's board of trustees also announced Friday that it is trying to solve its financial problems by working with Global University Systems, a for-profit education group.

"It is Dowling's hope that a strategic alliance with Global University Systems can be reached, which will allow for a stronger Dowling," the college told News 12 in a statement. It's unclear what effect such an alliance could have on the alumni group's efforts.

Ron Beattie is the president of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce. He says Dowling is the No. 1 employer in Oakdale, and that businesses rely on the foot traffic of students to survive. He also says replacing the school with a suitable alternative will not be easy.

While negotiations are still underway, the college has extended its closing date until Wednesday evening so students can continue to get copies of their transcripts.