Funding for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Programs

USDA Rural Development is now accepting applications for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program with funding levels ranging from $50,000 to $1,000,000. Applications are due June 4, 2021.

What is the DLT grant program? The DLT grant program helps rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. This program is intended to increase rural access to education, training, and health care resources that are otherwise unavailable or limited in scope. 

Who is eligible to apply for DLT? Most state and local governmental entities, federally recognized Tribes, nonprofits, for-profit businesses, and consortia of eligible entities are eligible to apply for the program.

What are eligible expenses for the DLT grant program? Grant funds can be used for:

  • Acquisition of eligible equipment, such as:
    • Computer hardware and software
    • Site licenses and maintenance contracts
    • Extended warranties (up to 3 years)
    • Audio and video equipment
    • Computer network components
    • Telecommunications terminal equipment
    • Data terminal equipment
    • Interactive audio/video equipment
    • Inside wiring
    • Broadband facilities, if owned by the applicant (limited to 20% of grant)
  • Acquisition of instructional programming that is a capital asset
  • Acquisition of technical assistance and instruction for using eligible equipment. (limited to 10% of the grant amount)

All Equipment for this project must be new or non-depreciated

What are the funding levels? The funding levels range from $50,000-$1,000,000.

Is there a match requirement? A minimum of a 15% match is required.

Other Considerations:
  • Only one application per applicant: To increase the range of applicants that will be successful in FY 2021, only one application per applicant is eligible for approval. If an applicant submits more than one application, then the Agency will only consider the application with the highest score.
  • Rural Areas: The intent of the DLT program is to benefit rural areas (populations of 20,000 or less and not contiguous and adjacent to urban areas > 50,000). While some projects could include end-users in more urbanized areas, the Agency will evaluate projects based on their benefit to rural areas.
  • Online Education Services: Because this program is intended to fund end-user equipment at specifically identified sites, applications which propose to provide only web-based services which are universally available are ineligible. This type of project does not have a defined service area and the beneficiaries can be located anywhere, including urban areas.

When is the deadline? Electronic application submissions must be received no later than 11:59 pm EDT on June 4, 2021. Applications will not be accepted on paper or electronic mail.  

The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) can be found here

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at or call us at 530-893-4764.


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