LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A handful of Arkansas schools have filed their intent to participate in the federal Race to the Top-District competition.

The U.S. Department of Education announced Friday that 893 applicants will participate in the program that will hand out nearly $400 million in grants. The program aims to support local initiatives that help close achievement gaps and prepare students for college and a career.

Districts that filed intents to apply include: El Dorado, Elkins, Rogers, South Mississippi County and Springdale. The Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative, which serves districts in seven Arkansas counties, also applied.

The intent to apply filed by the districts is not binding.

The Obama administration has already awarded more than $4 billion to 18 states and the District of Columbia through its Race to the Top competition.