RUS Launches $60M Grant Initiative for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Projects

The grant funds can be used for acquiring equipment, improving broadband infrastructure, developing instructional programming, and more.

RUS Launches $60M Grant Initiative for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Projects
Photo of students working at Crescent High School in Crescent, Oklahoma by U.S. Department of Agriculture

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2024 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service announced Thursday a funding opportunity offering awards between $50,000 and $1 million, these grants are targeted at strengthening education and healthcare services through telecommunications.

The Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant is open to a variety of eligible entities to apply by April 29. This includes state and local governments, federally-recognized Tribes, nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses, and other eligible partnerships.

The DLT program is meant to enhance distance learning and telemedicine initiatives for rural communities with populations of 20,000 or fewer. The agency estimates that approximately $60 million will be available for 2024.

Students featured in the image of this story attend Crescent High School in Crescent, Oklahoma, where every student gained access to a computer and the internet on August 9, 2009, owing to a grant received by the school through the DLT program, allocated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Funds from the grant can be utilized for various purposes to support distance learning and telemedicine initiatives, including:

  • Acquisition of audio, video, and interactive video equipment.
  • Development and improvement of broadband facilities dedicated to distance learning or telemedicine, up to a certain percentage.
  • Procurement of computer hardware, network components, and software.
  • Creation of instructional programming tailored to remote education and healthcare.
  • Provision of limited technical assistance and instruction on the usage of distance learning and telemedicine equipment.

At present, the program exclusively provides grants, with no provision for loans or loan and grant combinations. Applicants are required to provide a 15 percent match.

Interested entities can submit their grant applications electronically through the RUS Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant portal via The deadline for submission is April 29, 2024.

RUS has developed a map to learn more about recently funded DLT projects. The RUS Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program presents a vital opportunity for organizations to bolster education and healthcare services in underserved rural areas

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