In order to eliminate a $5 million accumulated deficit, the UCSB Extension program will lay off nearly half its workers and cut several programs at the end of Winter Quarter.

According to Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Paul Desruisseaux, the layoffs, effective Mar. 31, come as part of an overall restructuring plan for the program, which was running a nearly $1 million annual deficit. At the end of the two-month phased in restructuring, the extension program will employ 23 people – down 18 from the present total of 41 employees.

The extension program, located off-campus in Goleta, offers classes separate from those offered to full-time UCSB students. Extension students do not earn a bachelor’s degree but can receive a professional certification in the programs offered, as well as take individual classes without enrolling in a specific program.

Desruisseaux said restructuring will eliminate unpopular offerings from the Extension catalogue.

“It was determined that some of the programs are no longer viable,” Desruisseaux said. “Extension programs are generally market sensitive. It’s based on what people are interested in pursuing, [and] these programs weren’t attracting enough enrollment.”

The department will eliminate a total of eight programs, including those in the fields of ground penetrating radar, watershed management and wild lands studies. The programs that will continue, described by Desruisseaux as having “broader appeal,” include legal studies, business management and education. The extension program also offers English classes to speakers of other languages.

Desruisseaux said the extension program is supposed to be self-supporting and cited financial pressures as the main reason for the cuts.

“The program is running a major deficit and has been for some years,” Desruisseaux said. “The university wants this program to be modified to stem the losses.”

According to Desruisseaux, the cuts are part of a larger cost-cutting plan developed by the administration of the extension program, along with the executive vice chancellor’s budget work group. He did not specify what other changes were included in the restructuring plan.

Representatives from the Extension program declined to comment on the plan.