Through its ConnectED program, the White House is aiming to connect 99 percent of students with high-speed broadband in the next five years. One year in, Sprint's making an important contribution to the initiative, announcing plans to bring broadband to as many as 50,000 students' homes. It's just the latest effort from a major company to improve educational resources in the US, with Microsoft having discounted the cost of Windows for public schools and Apple, Autodesk and others donating devices and software. Today select schools can apply to receive up to four years of Sprint Spark connectivity, with the program to coincide with the start of the school year in August.

Sprint will approve schools based on their digital learning programs as well as the availability of Sprint Spark services in their area. Institutions that are selected will need to purchase mobile broadband devices from the carrier, after which they'll receive 3 gigs of wireless data per month. For students at participating schools, it's a huge win, as learning tools beyond the classroom are increasingly incorporated into course curriculums. To learn more about other aspects of the ConnectED initiative, head here for the first-annual update.