Cwynar, the Irish's starting nose guard to open the 2011 season, met with head coach Brian Kelly on Monday and will see where his undergraduate degree and MBA take him.
"I talked to coach Kelly last night about it and he reiterated it that he still wanted me, but he knew from previous talks that I was leaning toward other options, being able to utilize two awesome degrees from Notre Dame," Cwynar told the Tribune on Tuesday.
"I just don’t think staying around and taking one credit in summer and nine in the fall is a good use of my time. I loved my experience here but I just think it's time for me to move on and pursue other things."
Cwynar missed one game this season and was limited in four others because of a broken right hand, which forced him to play with a club on it. He had 59 career tackles in 36 games for the Irish and was named to the Capital One Academic All-District V team this season.
The decision was ultimately Cwynar's, as the staff welcomed him back.
"I just think in my mind it was time to move on. It's a pretty complex decision with a lot of dynamics. Playing in Solder Field (in 2012), playing in Ireland. At the same time, I couldn't imagine myself coming back and not being able to pursue anything academically. I just really think it's time to move on."
Notre Dame has yet to announce which fifth-year seniors would return to the team. Tuesday was the first day of classes for the spring semester.