USDA Announces Funding Opportunity for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Projects

TEMPLE, May 28, 2015 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program, which provides increased access to education, training and health care resources in rural areas.

"This program provides people who live and work in rural areas with better access to a variety of educational and health care services," Vilsack said. "For example, because of the DLT program, students in rural areas can take advanced placement classes, residents can have access to specialized medical services not typically available, and many other benefits for rural communities."

“Schools and health care facilities in rural Texas have increasingly tighter budgets each year,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development Texas State Director.  “Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants are powerful tools for providing expanded educational and medical opportunities which otherwise may be unavailable to students and residents of rural communities.”

USDA's Rural Utilities Service is making $19 million available for fiscal year 2015. The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program finances telecommunications equipment, computer networks and advanced technologies for use by students, teachers, medical professionals and rural residents. Minimum grant amounts are $50,000; maximum amounts are $500,000 for fiscal year 2015.

Since 2009, USDA has provided more than $182 million to expand access to learning at nearly 4,700 rural educational facilities and to improve delivery of medical care at more than 2,500 rural health facilities.

Details of the DLT funding are on Page 29602 of the May 22 Federal Register (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-05-22/html/2015-12222.htm). The application deadline is July 6, 2015.

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