The UCSB Ventura Center for off-campus studies is closing its doors after 35 years of operation, leaving registered students and community members searching for alternative sources of education and work.
Announced at a meeting last Wednesday by Associate Dean Howard Adamson, the decision to close the center was made to help offset UCSB’s $45 million budget gap. UCSB was forced to close a similar continuation campus in Santa Maria last year, citing the financial drain as too much to bear.
While UCSB officials remain unsure of exactly when the satellite campus will shut down, the administration has frozen all future enrollment requests, leaving just 65 students currently registered.
“The campus will close sometime this year,” Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs Paul Desruisseaux said. “We won’t be admitting any new students, and they should no longer be making plans to pursue a degree at that center.”
Established in 1974, the Ventura Center was the oldest off-site education program among all 10 UC campuses. Since then, the center has enabled 4,000 students to take classes.
“We are very proud of the major contributions UC Santa Barbara has made to education and the workforce in Ventura over the years by graduating several hundred students through this program,” Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas said in a 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.”
Michael T. Brown, acting dean of Extended Learning Services and a professor for the Dept. of Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UCSB, said the Ventura Center administration is working diligently to help students complete their degrees.
“I regret the circumstances that have led to this decision,” Brown said in a press release. “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.”
Blake Criswell, a fourth-year global studies major who took an anthropology class at the center, said he is sad to see the campus go, especially considering the fate of those enrolled.
“Although we might not see any immediate effects on our main campus, the center was mainly about making what we have here at UCSB available to more people,” Criswell said. “The thing that sucks is that the majority of my classmates were working full time. I don’t know what other options will be feasible for them.”