It’s no secret that the education system needs to be refreshed and revived for the country to remain competitive as a global power. In the quest to achieve this, the Obama administration is encouraging school districts across the country to apply for the $400 million in grants being offered through the Race to the Top initiative. The criteria: districts with over 2,500 students and at least 40 percent qualifying for free or reduced lunches can apply.

The overall goal is to close the education gaps often linked to funding for new, more advanced educational tools. Created in July of 2009, the program has already given billions in dollars to states implementing favored education reforms. The U.S. Congress has approved a $550 million budget for this year, and awards can range from $15 million to $25 million per district.