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 (


Application Deadline: Jun 4, 2021

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

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling: $1,000,000
Award floor: $50,000
Estimated number of awards: 90
Estimated total program funding: $44,500,000

$10.2 million of the total program funding is intended for telemedicine projects that provide 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.

Applicants are encouraged to propose projects that advance the following USDA Rural Development priorities:

  • Containing the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Ensuring racial equity
  • Rebuilding the rural economy
  • Addressing the climate crisis

Special consideration is given to telemedicine projects that provide services to federally recognized Indian Tribes or strengthen capacity to address prevention, treatment, and recovery for opioid use disorder (OUD) or other SUDs at the community, county, state, and/or regional levels. 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

Geographic Coverage


What This Program Funds

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

Application Process

Application requirements, instructions, and other relevant information can be found in the funding announcement.

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.

Application guide
Application checklist
Applicant webinar 1 recording, slides, and transcript
Applicant webinar 2 recording and slides


For programmatic or technical questions:

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

Rural Awards

Past awards rural communities received in Period 1 and Period 2 of fiscal year (FY) 2020 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 • Recovery • Substance Use Disorder • Teleservices and Technology • Treatment