The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Santa Monica College (SMC) a five-year grant of $3.5 million, in partnership with El Camino College in Torrance, to improve student performance in math and English.

The cooperative Title V grant will be used for a variety of purposes, including establishing a math and English learning center/computer lab at the Santa Monica College Bundy Campus and integrating more technology into instruction.

The grant funds are aimed at students taking pre-college level math.

“This grant gives us the means to create an exciting special program aimed at improving the achievement of our developmental math students,” said Fran Manion, SMC math department chair. “It’s particularly crucial because studies indicate that one of two students in pre-college level math classes fail.”

The SMC program developed from the grant is expected to have an impact on more than 1,000 students at SMC and El Camino College, said SMC spokesman Bruce Smith.

Each of the two colleges will receive $300,000 a year for five years, with an additional $100,000 a year going to SMC to cover grant management, evaluation costs and to facilitate coordination between the two colleges.

This is the third Title V grant SMC has received in the past two years.

In 2004, the college was the beneficiary of two Title V grants totaling $6.2 million over five years that are being used to help first-time college students succeed and to help train teachers in the face of a national shortage.

The teacher-training grant is also a cooperative award with El Camino College.