Amy Morona - Higher Education Reporter in Cleveland

Hi! I'm currently the higher education reporter for the nonprofit newsroom Signal Cleveland. My role is in partnership with Open Campus, a national nonprofit news organization focused on strengthening higher education reporting in local markets. Before helping to launch Signal Cleveland in Nov. 2022, I covered higher education at Crain's Cleveland Business. That position was also in partnership with Open Campus. 

During the past four years, I've broken news on the city's biggest colleges, filed many requests for public records, created service journalism guides aimed at helping families, and highlighted students' voices. 

Before returning to my adopted hometown (go Browns!), I spent several years in Washington, D.C., including stints as a reporter/producer for the cable channel Newsy (now known as Scripps News) and as a producer for the roundtable show Washington Week.

I’m a curious person by nature. Just ask my husband, who frequently pulls me away from conversations I start with strangers at the grocery store or at coffee shops. I also enjoy training for half marathons, reading, and spending time with the people in my life who make me laugh the most.

Want to chat about the latest Real Housewives news, hear me gush about our three-year-old rescue beagle Marley, or share a story idea? Hit me up: 


Take a look at some of my clips from Signal Cleveland / Open Campus and Crain's Cleveland Business / Open Campus.

Cleveland State prepares to offer buyouts to some faculty, staff

Cleveland State University is preparing to offer faculty and staff voluntary buyout packages to help close a projected $40 million budget gap.

At a faculty senate meeting Wednesday, President Laura Bloomberg repeated that the university must “manage to our reality” – one that now, according to new projections, could see the university enrolling about 13,000 students by 2029.

That’s a far cry from the total enrollment of 20,000 former President Harlan Sands pledged to hit by 2025 as part of the

How Cleveland schools try to get students excited about college

Anthony Brown extended his arm and stared into his phone’s camera on a recent Saturday morning.

“Hey, good morning, everybody,” he exclaimed, standing in the middle of a fast food restaurant in Mansfield. “It’s the CMSD family guy, on location! Right now, we are in McDonald’s. We had a couple students and parents who were a little hungry.”

The program manager of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Family and Community Engagement Department then suddenly paused his early morning riff a

Cleveland State talks 'absorbing' struggling Notre Dame College

Cleveland State University and Notre Dame College have met to discuss the university potentially absorbing the struggling private college.

Meetings between officials from the two schools took place three times last fall, Cleveland State officials told Signal Cleveland.

The first conversation happened Sept. 7 at Cleveland State. On Oct. 2, Cleveland State officials met at Notre Dame’s South Euclid campus. The parties then met via Zoom Dec. 11.

Those meetings, Cleveland State officials said, “w

Why adult students are a focal point for Cleveland's colleges

Koenig, a recruitment specialist at Cuyahoga Community College’s Parma campus, always seems to be wearing something emblazoned with the college’s logo or mascot. It’s what makes people stop her at Marc’s grocery store to tell her about their educational path and how she ends up talking about job opportunities while in line to make a return at Kohl’s.

This week, decked out in a polo with the college’s logo and a hat emblazoned with its triceratops mascot, she brought her best Tri-C pitch to the

Case Western's Black students find community at local barbershop

The routine begins every other week during the school year: Sabian Burke sits down in a barber chair. A cape with a lion’s face on it gets draped around his shoulders. White crew socks tucked neatly into clean beige Nike shoes peek out from under that cloth. He breathes. Then the cut begins.

He’s at Premier Barber Lounge in Glenville. That’s where Shanetta McNair, also known as the Lioness Barber, works her magic Tuesday through Saturday. The shop is less than a mile from Case Western Reserve U

What future first-gen college students in Cleveland need to know

Navigating higher education can be challenging for anyone. Yet the paths for first-generation college students whose parents didn’t graduate from college often face extra barriers.

The Center for First-Generation Student Success spells it out this way: “While first-generation students are often quite academically skilled and contribute in many ways to a campus community, navigating the tangled web of college policies, procedures, jargon, and expectations can be a challenge.”

Even just figuring

Ashland University's prison program at the center of national controversy

As Ashland University’s traditional enrollment has decreased, the number of students in its prison education program has been on a steady rise.

Kristen Haley Theriot made her first and only visit to the campus of Ashland University in December 2018. She left with a purple blanket, a portfolio with the school’s logo and an associate’s degree.

The 33-year-old’s classes were completed far from the small campus, though. Theriot took them from a Louisiana prison, where she was serving time for arme