U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced Tuesday that Georgia and 18 other states are finalists in Round 2 of the Race to the Top competition.
Duncan has said 10 to 15 states are likely to be selected in the next few weeks to share in $3.4 billion of Round 2 money. Georgia could potentially claim up to $400 million for education reform initiatives.
Winners will be announced in late August or early September.
Georgia was the third-highest scorer when 40 states and the District of Columbia participated earlier this year in Round 1 of the competition, which President Obama has said is meant to promote innovative education reforms that can be replicated across the country. But only two states were selected in March to receive the grants: Delaware ($100 million) and Tennessee ($500 million).
Thirty-six applications were submitted in this round, and officials in Georgia — though they were expecting to make it into the finals — were elated when the official word came down.