Education ministers from the federal government and Germany's 16 states on Monday agreed on a €1.9 billion ($2.34 billion) package to promote ten so-called "elite universities" as well as top research organizations in an effort to bring German education on a par with America's leading institutions. The ten handpicked universities will receive cash injections of €250 million yearly over a period of five years; research organizations will get a further €130 million. The government will shoulder 75 percent of the costs, while the states home to the respective institution or research group will bear 25 percent. At the same time, the country's leading research organizations will see their budgets raised by at least 3 percent yearly until 2010. The plans bring to a head ambitious reforms announced by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder earlier this year to overhaul German higher education in a bid to make it more competitive.