Program 101

AnnouncementTwo Funding Opportunities have been published for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant windows.  One is for the program as has been operated annually (henceforth referred to as “Traditional DLT”) and one is for projects related to prevention, treatment, or recovery for opioid use disorder in rural areas (henceforth referred to as “Opioid DLT”).  This page has information on both programs.  Please carefully read the rules for both programs and be sure to download the application materials relating to the specific program to which you are applying.  The applications are not the same, and using the wrong application materials may cause your application to be rejected as ineligible.  Please note also, the programs have different funding window closings. 

Applications under the Traditional DLT program must be submitted by May 15, 2019, while those under the Opioid DLT program must be submitted by April 15, 2019.  The notices are available below:

What does this program do?
Traditional DLT
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. For more information on other programs administered by RUS Telecommunications please visit:

Opioid DLT
In March 2018, Congress explicitly appropriated an additional $20 million for the DLT Program in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, Pub. L. 115-141, § 775 (2018) “to help address the opioid epidemic in rural America.”  Approximately half of this funding was awarded in FY 2018 to DLT projects that had opioid treatment as their primary purpose. For the remaining funds, the Agency is soliciting  applications that specifically support treatment for, and prevention of, opioid use disorder in rural areas.

Applications submitted under this announcement should address how they will strengthen local capacity to address one or more of the  For both programs,following focus areas:

1. Prevention—for example, educating community members and care providers or implementing harm reduction strategies to reduce the number of fatal opioid-related overdoses and the occurrence of opioid use disorder among new and at-risk users.
2. Treatment—for example, implementing or expanding access to evidence-based practices for opioid use disorder treatment, such as medication-assisted treatment.
3. Recovery—for example, expanding peer recovery and treatment options that help people with opioid use disorder start recovery and avoid relapse.

Who may apply?
For both programs, eligible applicants include most entities that provide education or health care through telecommunications, including:

  • Most State and local governmental entities
  • Federally-recognized Tribes
  • Non-profits
  • For-profit businesses
  • Consortia of eligible entities

DLT 100% grant applications are accepted through a competitive process. The application window is announced annually (typically after the first of the year) through a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA)  or a Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) in the Federal Register. Applicants are required to provide a minimum 15 percent match. Awards can range from $50,000 to $500,000.

How may the funds be used?
Grant funds may be used for:

  • Acquisition of eligible capital assets, such as:
    • Broadband transmission facilities
    • Audio, video and interactive video equipment
    • Terminal and data terminal equipment
    • Computer hardware, network components and software
    • Inside wiring and similar infrastructure that further DLT services
  • Acquisition of instructional programming that is a capital asset
  • Acquisition of technical assistance and instruction for using eligible equipment

What kinds of funding are available?
Grant-only funds, awarded through a nationally competitive process  – 15% match required

What are the grant terms?
A minimum 15% match is required for grant-only awards (cannot be from another federal source)

Who currently participates in this program?
See our DLT Recipient Directory for a list of current participants.

How do we get started?

  • Applications for the grant program are accepted through the national office.
  • Program Resources are available online (includes forms, guidance, certifications, etc.)
  • Check back here or contact your General Field Representative for additional information

Who can answer questions about this program?

What governs this program?
7 CFR 1734

Why does USDA Rural Development do this?
The Distance Learning and Telemedicine program helps rural residents tap into the enormous potential of modern telecommunications and the Internet for education and health care, two of the keys to economic and community development.

NOTE: Program details may change over time. Before you begin an application, please confirm you have the most current information by contacting your General Field Representative for assistance, or consult the program instructions listed in the section above titled "What Governs this Program?"

Fact Sheet :