SBCC announced Monday that it has been awarded a $3 million federal Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant, the largest in the college’s history, will be paid over five years.

The money will used to increase and accelerate the completion of degree and transfer requirements.

Joan Galvan, a public information officer for SBCC, said the grants are awarded based on a competitive nationwide process of community colleges and universities. Nationwide, 99 grants totaling $60.1 million were awarded.

“Student success is, and always has been, the main focus of our college,” Dr. Andreea Serban, SBCC superintendent/president, said in a news release. “This Title V grant will give us additional resources to develop and implement a program with tremendous potential to help highly motivated students in our community achieve their educational goals in a timely manner.”

The SBCC Express to Success Program will be an accelerated program with newly developed specialized curriculum, counseling and other resources designed to help highly motivated students complete their two-year associate degree or transfer requirements in no more than three years. Qualified students must commit to full-time study (minimum of 12 units per semester and 6 units during the summer) and academic counseling and financial aid will be available to those that qualify to assist them in attending classes full-time, Galvan said.

Plans call for project development in academic year 2010-11, a pilot phase with a cohort (group) of students in 2011-12, and full implementation in 2012-13.

“Our entire college is extremely excited and proud to have received this Title V grant for which we worked hard over the past year,” Serban said. “It will fund an innovative program designed to address pressing issues in higher education today: giving students the tools and a road map to successfully complete an associate degree or prepare for transfer in a timely and efficient manner.

“This fits beautifully with our recent successful efforts to develop guaranteed transfer programs for four-year colleges and universities for qualified students.”

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at mnelson@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.