This funding record is inactive. Please see the program website or contact the program sponsor to determine if this program is currently accepting applications or will open again in the future.

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants (Traditional DLT)


Additional Links

Fact Sheet
Notice of Funding Opportunity ( - Period 1
Notice of Funding Opportunity ( - Period 2


Application Deadline: Jul 13, 2020

Sponsoring Organization

USDA Rural Development (USDA RD)


Funds telecommunication projects that support distance learning and telemedicine services to increase access to education, training, and healthcare resources for students, teachers, medical professionals, and rural residents. Emphasizes telecommunication projects that help rural communities foster economic and community development.

Funds may be used for:

  • Eligible capital assets, such as:
    • Broadband facilities
    • Purchasing audio, video, and interactive video equipment
    • Terminal and data terminal equipment
    • Acquiring computer hardware, network components, and software
    • Inside wiring and similar infrastructure that further Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant services
  • Obtaining instructional programming related to equipment use
  • Obtaining technical assistance and training related to equipment use

Special consideration is given to telemedicine projects with the primary purpose of providing treatment and counseling services for opioid use disorder (OUD) or other substance use disorders (SUDs). Eligible purposes under this consideration include:

  • Opioid or substance use counseling
  • Opioid or substance use treatment
  • Training medical professionals, counselors, or first responders to interact with opioid or other substance users
  • Education programs that address opioid or substance abuse

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling: $1,000,000
Award floor: $50,000
Estimated number of awards: 200
Estimated total program funding:

  • Application period 1 - $71,700,000
  • Application period 2 - $40,000,000

$12 million of the total program funding from application period 1 will be available only for projects that address the opioid epidemic in rural areas. $9.4 million is intended for projects that provide substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services in rural areas.

Applicants must provide matching funds of at least 15% of the total project costs.

Who Can Apply

Eligible applicants are most entities that offer education or healthcare through telecommunications, including:

  • Incorporated organizations; private for-profit and nonprofit corporations; or consortia
  • American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and tribal organizations
  • A state or local unit of government

Eligible programs must benefit rural areas with populations of 20,000 or less as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Geographic Coverage


What This Program Funds

Buildings and Facilities • Capacity Building • Equipment • New Program • Operating Costs and Staffing • Training Providers

Application Process

A second application period has been added for fiscal year (FY) 2020 because of the COVID-19 crisis. Any applicants who could not meet the previous deadline of April 10, 2020 may apply during the second application period, which runs from April 14, 2020 to July 13, 2020. Organizations applying during this period are encouraged, but not required, to identify specific ways their application addresses COVID-19.

Application requirements, instructions, and other relevant information can be found in the funding announcements for application period 1 and period 2.

Applications are competitively scored according to objective and subjective categories. Applicants must earn a minimum rurality score of 20 points, as an average score for all sites included in the project, to be eligible for an award. Use the rurality worksheet to determine a rurality score for this program.

Period 1 applicant webinar recording and slides
Period 2 applicant webinar recording and slides
Application guide
Application checklist


For programmatic or technical questions:

For additional information, contact the appropriate telecommunications general field representative for your state.

Rural Awards

Examples of past awards rural communities have received and a map of recently funded projects are described on the program website.

Topics This Program Addresses

Community Planning and Coalition Building • COVID-19 Response • Economic Development • Education and Training • Health Education for Community and Patients • Infrastructure • Opioids • Prevention • Substance Use Disorder • Teleservices and Technology • Treatment