Pixel Tracker

Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 2:39 am | Fair 50º

 
 
 
 

Brooks Institute Announces It Is Shuttering Operations in Ventura

After 70 years of educating college students aspiring to pursue careers in media, visual and communication arts, the Brooks Institute in Ventura has closed its doors indefinitely.

The for-profit school announced classes won’t continue in the fall, and that it has stopped enrolling new students.

“After considerable discussion and deliberation, the difficult decision has been made to close Brooks Institute,” transitions officer Kristen Howard wrote in a letter to students last week. “The campus will close completely, effective Oct. 31, 2016.”

Economic and regulatory pressures have had a significant negative impacts on the institution, according to Howard.

“We have attempted to mitigate this impact through contraction, strategic planning, and innovation, but with only limited success,” Howard said. “Because we do not expect the adverse conditions to change in the foreseeable future, our only remaining, responsible course of action is to proceed to closure.”

According to the letter, the closure is subject to approval from the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, and other regulators.

Howard said funds received to pay for the fall semester would be returned to students. Faculty is working to assist students to transfer to other schools, along with helping students find schools to finish their programs.

Student Adrian White, a 10-year U.S. Navy photojournalist who started in spring of 2015, is left without a school to go after Brooks abruptly closed.

White is participating in Paris in the Paris fashion and street photography summer classes offered at Brooks. He was in the middle of a photo shoot when a friend texted him the school was closing.  

“I almost dropped my camera. I couldn't believe it,” he said. “It's difficult to weigh my options when you're that far away. I don't even know what my options are at this point. This was kind of sprung on us. We all have major decisions to make.”

The 37-year-old father had five classes to complete before he graduated from Brooks Institute, and said he felt “devastated” when he found out.

“Yesterday as I walked the streets of Paris completing one of my final projects, I couldn't think of anything else except this huge thing that I'm dealing with,” White said. “Every step I took another question came up.”

As a military veteran, White qualifies on the G.I. Bill to help cover his education costs. He said he could pick any school internationally to attend, but Brooks was his choice because it had a reputation as one of the world's top photography schools.

“I separated from the military to attend the best photography school in the country,” White said. “The technical knowledge they bestowed on their students was second to none. Sadly, there's a chance that my military benefits were wasted on a school that I will not receive a degree from.”

The Ventura County Star reported that the school’s shut down occurred more than a week after the institute’s president, Edward Clift, was ousted, and a majority of the board of directors had also resigned.

Brooks was founded in 1945 by Ernest Brooks as the Brooks Institute of Photography.

Last year, the institute was bought by Gphomestay, a company known as Green Planet that specializes in finding homes for foreign exchange students studying abroad in the United States.

Brooks was the Massachusetts-based company’s first campus purchase.

The school relocated all of its Santa Barbara students, faculty and campus in 2015 to one larger location at 5301 N. Ventura Ave. in Ventura.

Before Career Education Corp. bought the school from the Brooks family in 1999, officials sold the campuses, stating “declining student enrollment and financial losses,” according to a statement released by Ron McCray, chairman and interim CEO.

Brooks graduates could receive a bachelors in film, graphic design, professional photography and visual journalism. Graduate programs offered master’s degrees in fine art photography, and scientific and technological imaging. 

Undergraduate tuition held a price tag of more than $80,000 without loans or scholarships.

Officials from Brooks Institute did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Gary Welterlen and Carla Reeves
Gary Welterlen and Carla Reeves
"We both love this business. We strive to make life long relationships from each real estate transaction."

Full Profile >