Santa Monica College has received a $2.1 million, two-year federal grant for a comprehensive pilot program targeting Asian American and Pacific Islander students with academic need and other low-income students.

The two-year program, whose target is to serve 300 students, will include specialized tutoring, counseling, establishment of an academic library of interest to this population and other special services tailored to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The goal is to help these students complete their Associate of Arts degree and/or transfer to a four-year university within three years.

“This grant will provide SMC a wonderful opportunity to reach students who are struggling academically and need special assistance,” said SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang. “While this particular population is often seen as high achieving, there are subgroups that are achieving far below average academically. This grant will help ensure their greater success in college.”

The U.S. Department of Education grant is given to colleges and universities that qualify as Asian American/Pacific Islander-serving institutions. To qualify, a college must have an enrollment of at least 10 percent of this population, and SMC’s enrollment of Asian American/Pacific Islander students is 14 percent. Federal guidelines also allow the college to serve some other low-income students who do not fall into this ethnic category.

The grant is funding the pilot program from Oct. 1 of this year through Sept. 30, 2011.