Rotherham College of Arts and Technology pulled back from the brink of closure with the aid of a tough recovery plan and a troubleshooting neighbour.
Speculation mounted this summer over its imminent collapse after the Further Education Funding Council's Yorkshire and Humberside regional committee discussed the effects of "any significant reduction" in further education provision in the area.
The college was among 50 on the FEFC's sick list of institutions facing cash crises, and possible mergers were discussed with neighbouring colleges.
A recovery plan launched in February that involved the loss of 90 academic posts failed to quell fears of debts running into millions of pounds.
But managers at Thomas Rotherham sixth-form college stepped in, acting as paid consultants to help with restructuring.
They helped draw up a strategic plan, keeping the FEFC continually informed about developments.
Cooperation between the colleges is likely to continue, although it will be looser following the appointment of John Rockett, former executive vice-principal at Blackburn College, as principal of RCAT in August.