UCSB is closing its Ventura Center for Off-Campus Studies in light of a $45 million budget deficit, school officials announced on Thursday afternoon. Paul Desruisseaux, vice chancellor of public affairs, explained that some layoffs are likely; many UCSB employees who worked at the Ventura campus did so exclusively. Exactly how many people might be laid off has yet to be determined. Desruisseaux declined to say exactly how much the closure would save UCSB. “We’re not putting price tags on individual programs,” he said.
“I regret the circumstances that have led to this decision: The state is underfunding UC, and the Ventura program has long depended on the UCSB campus to subsidize its operations. In the current budget climate that is no longer possible,” explained the acting dean of extended learning services, Michael T. Brown, in a press release.
The school – which opened in 1984 and consists of six classrooms in a complex on Maple Street, near Highway 101 – currently has 65 students, many of whom transferred there from community colleges to pursue four-year degrees. These students will be assisted in finished their degrees, stated a press release on the matter, but no new students will be accepted. The closure of the Ventura campus follows that of a similar, Santa Maria-based program in spring of 2007, also for financial reasons. The press release also noted that the Ventura Center for Off-Campus Studies was the only surviving campus of its kind, other UCs having shuttered their own satellite schools in years previous.
“We are very proud of the major contributions UCSB has made to education and the workforce in Ventura over the years by graduating several hundred students through this program,” said UCSB executive vice chancellor Gene Lucas in the press release. “But this is an extremely challenging time for the UC system and for UCSB. The decision to shut down this program is a decision we wish we did not have to make. None of the choices that confront us as we reduce our costs are good ones.”