Distance Learning and Telemedicine Loans and Grants


To encourage and improve the use of telemedicine, telecommunications, computer networks, and related advanced technologies to provide educational and medical benefits through distance learning and telemedicine projects to people living in rural areas and to improve rural opportunities.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Rural Utilities Service, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants; E - Direct Loans
Program Accomplishments
Not applicable.
Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, Title VII, Public Law 104-127, 7 U.S.C 950.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
To be eligible to receive a grant, loan and grant combination, or loan, the applicant must be legally organized as an incorporated organization or partnership, an Indian tribe or tribal organization, a state or local unit of government, a consortium, or other legal entity. The applicant must have legal capacity to contract with RUS. The applicant also must propose to utilize the financing to: (i) operate a rural community facility; or (ii) deliver distance learning or telemedicine services to entities that operate a rural community facility or to residents of rural areas at rates calculated to ensure that the benefit of the financial assistance is passed through to such entities or to residents of rural areas. The applicant must not be delinquent on any Federal debt. RUS electric and telecommunications borrowers are not eligible for grants. Generally, applicants are organizations such as schools, libraries, hospitals, medical centers, or other eligible organizations that will be users of a telecommunications, computer network, or related advanced technology system to provide educational and/or medical benefits to rural residents.
Beneficiary Eligibility
The people living in rural areas are beneficiaries, particularly in the areas of medical and health-related services, education, training and medical services.
See 7 CFR Part 1734 for details. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. An environmental impact assessment is required for this listing.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. Submit application Form 424; non-delinquent on any Federal obligations; consultation with USDA State Director (for grant applicants); evidence of legal existence and authority to perform the proposed grant activities; a comprehensive rural telecommunications plan; scope of work plan, executive summary for the project: financial information; a statement of experience; funding commitment from other sources; compliance with Federal statutes and regulations (compliance with scoring criteria) and environmental impact; supplemental information and required additional RUS information.
Award Procedure
Based on a determination that the project is economically feasible and serves the purposes the program, awards are approved. For grants, RUS rates the applicants based on specified scoring criteria and determines awards based on those ratings.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
The program open under funding windows established under a NOFA/NOSA process annually. Pre-application costs are not eligible, costs incurred after submittal of an application may be eligible. The standard project period is 3 years. Applications are competitively selected each fiscal year for which funding is made available. Applicants whose application was not selected in one year may resubmit an updated and improved application in a subsequent year in the competition.
A grant applicant that is a current RUS Telecommunications or Electric Borrower may appeal the decision to reject their application to the Administrator in writing within 10 days after applicant is notified of the decision to deny the application.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
See 7 CFR Part 1734, subparts D through G.
How may assistance be used?
Telecommunications, computer networks and related advanced technologies that connect medical professionals or teachers at originating sites, rural or non-rural, to medical professionals, patients, teachers and students at rural end-user sites.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: Project performance activity reports are required annually.
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements, Subpart F, Audit Requirements (Revised, December 26, 2013) nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Subpart F. Entities which do not meet the criteria for applicability in 2 CFR 200 will have an audit prepared in accordance with 7 CFR 1773, Policy on Audits of RUS Borrowers and Grantees.
Grantees will provide evidence that funds are expended for approved purposes.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching is voluntary. 15%. This program has no statutory formula. Matching Requirements: Percent: 15% with an exception for projects in the Pacific. No matching is required for applicants requesting loans.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Funds may be advanced monthly or as needed to reimburse disbursements for approved grant purposes. Applicants generally have three years to spend funds. One extension may be granted. Funds may be advanced monthly or as needed to reimburse disbursements for approved grant purposes.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Assistant Administrator, Telecommunications Program,
Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., STOP 1590
Washington, DC 20250 US
Phone: (202) 720-9554.
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Project Grants) FY 22$4,257,192.00; FY 23 est $80,000,000.00; FY 24 est $35,000,000.00; FY 21$92,849,975.00; FY 20$71,541,031.00; FY 19$45,900,762.00; FY 18$37,000,000.00; - (Project Grants) FY 22$2,396,185.00; FY 23 est $4,991,000.00; FY 24 est $0.00; - Congressionally Directed Spending
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
$50,000 to $1,000,000 with an average of $473,000. For FY22, these were carryover grants from FY21. The program was not open in FY22.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
7 CFR 1734, subparts D through G. Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program Grant Application Guide - For grants - Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program -Grant Application Guide located at: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants Loans made under this program are subject to congressional appropriations.


Federal Grants Resources