Opportunity number
US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Rural Utilities Service Telecommunications Program
Due date
July 04, 2021
Broadband COVID-19 Economic Development Education & Workforce Healthcare Information Technologies Other Public Safety
Project funding
$50,000 - $1M
Program funding
Funding size
Up to $1M

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants

RFP Summary provided by the agency

The Distance Learning & Telemedicine (DLT) Program provides financial assistance to enable and improve distance learning and telemedicine services in rural areas. DLT grant funds support the use of telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video equipment, and related advanced technologies by students, teachers, medical professionals, and rural residents. These grants are intended to increase rural access to education, training, and health care resources that are otherwise unavailable or limited in scope.

There are three categories of eligible purposes:

  1. Acquiring, by lease or purchase, eligible equipment. If leased, the cost of the lease during the three-year life of the grant is eligible. The following are examples of eligible equipment. This list is not exhaustive. Neither does it convey blanket eligibility. A computer is not automatically eligible. It must be used for an eligible purpose. Remember also that the purpose of the DLT Grant program is to deliver education or medical care between remote sites via telecommunications, not simply to furnish educational or medical technology.
    • 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)
    In general, equipment not electronically interconnected to the grant and match funded equipment is not eligible. The application must demonstrate that the predominant purpose (50% or more of use) of every line-item in the grant and match budget meets the DLT Grant definition of distance learning or telemedicine,
    NOTE: All equipment purchased for this Project must be new or non-depreciated.
  2. Acquiring instructional programming that is a capital asset (including the purchase or lease of instructional programming already on the market). Renewals of instructional programming are not eligible nor is classroom equipment (such as laboratory equipment). Also, expenses (such as those for tuition, fees for coursework on a per course basis, or fees for cultural events or virtual field trips) are not capital assets and therefore, are not eligible.
  3. Providing technical assistance and instruction for using eligible equipment, including any related software; developing instructional programming that is a capital asset and providing engineering or environmental studies relating to the establishment or expansion of the phase of the project to be financed with the grant. The costs for this category cannot exceed 10% of the grant amount requested.
    Grant funds may be used for:

The agency is providing this additional filing window for those that could not complete applications prior to the Window 1 deadline. This window also makes available up to $25 million received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). While the CARES Act requires these funds be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, the agency believes that all DLT projects already serve that purpose. As a result, while not required, applicants are encouraged to identify specific ways in which their application addresses COVID-19.

Other Considerations:
Rural Areas: The intent of the DLT program is to benefit rural areas (populations of 20,000 or less and not 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 considered ineligible. This type of project does not have a defined service area and the beneficiaries can be located anywhere, including urban areas.

Additional Links:


What is the mission and focus of the program: research, social, economic or others?

The Distance Learning and Telemedicine 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. For example, this program can link teachers and medical service providers in one area to students and patients in another.

How do you submit to this opportunity?

Apply on grants.gov

Who are the target applicants: cities, universities, companies, small business, nonprofits, or others?

Private institutions of higher education
Independent school districts
Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
City or township governments
Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
Special district governments
Small businesses
Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
County governments
For profit organizations other than small businesses

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