What does this program do?
This competitive program helps rural communities use advanced telecommunications technology to connect to each other - and the world - overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. We encourage you to consider projects that promote equity and economic opportunity in rural America, specifically those that advance these key priorities:
- Assisting rural communities recover economically through more and better market opportunities and through improved infrastructure.
- Ensuring all rural residents have equitable access to Rural Development programs and benefits from Rural Development funded projects; and
- Reducing climate pollution and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change through economic support to rural communities.
Based on Fiscal Year 2023 appropriated funding, the agency estimates that approximately $60 million will be available for Fiscal Year 2024. As permitted, we also will make available any unused appropriations from prior fiscal years, and can increase funding if additional appropriations become available.
To learn more about recently funded DLT projects, Rural Development has developed a map of recently funded DLT projects All upcoming events will be posted on the events program tab.
Who may apply?
For both programs, eligible applicants include most entities that provide education or health care through telecommunications, including:
- State and local governmental organizations
- Federally-recognized Tribes
- Non-profit organizations
- Incorporated, for-profit businesses
- Groups of eligible entities working
What is an eligible area?
The DLT program is targeted to rural areas with populations 20,000 or fewer.
How may the funds be used?
Funds can be used to purchase or support:
- Audio, video, and interactive video equipment
- Broadband facilities used for distance learning or telemedicine (up to a certain percentage)
- Computer hardware, network components, and software
- Instructional programming
- Limited technical assistance and instruction on how to use distance learning and telemedicine equipment
What kinds of funding are available?
Grant-only funds, awarded through a nationally competitive process – 15% match required. Funds are awarded through a nationally-competitive process. Currently, this is a grant-only program; there is no DLT loan or loan and grant combination.
What are the grant terms?
Awardees have a three-year performance period beginning the date funds are released.
What are some grant requirements?
- Awards range from $50,000 to $1 million
- A minimum 15 percent match is required and 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?
- Applicants can apply online via Grants.gov
- Program Resources are available online (includes forms, guidance, certifications, etc.) on the How to Apply tab above
- Check back here or contact your General Field Representative for additional information
Who can answer questions about this program?
For questions related to the DLT program, please use the Contact Us Form and select "Distance Learning & Telemedicine Program" as the subject.
What governs this program?
Code of Federal Regulation 7 CFR Part 1734
Why does USDA Rural Development do this?
The DLT grant program helps rural residents tap into the enormous potential of the internet to improve education and health care; two of the most crucial keys to successful rural economic and community development.
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?"
- FY 24 DLT Application Guide
- FY 24 DLT Sample Worksheets
- FY 24 DLT Application Checklist
- Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Recipients Map
- Distressed Communities
- SAIPE Poverty Data
- FY2024 DLT Sample Consortium Workbook
- DLT Draft Grant Agreement
Previous Year Award Summaries
- 2020 Window 1
- 2020 Window 2
- 2019 - DLT Opioid
- Office for The Advancement of Telehealth
- National Telecommunications and Information Administration (DOC)
- FCC's Rural Health Care Program
- Common Core of Data - Information on Public Schools and School Districts in the U.S.
Other Related Links (Non-Federal)
- American Telemedicine Association
- United States Distance Learning Association
- Universal Service Administration Company - Schools and Library Division
- Universal Service Administration Company - Rural Health Care Division
Fiscal Year 2023 Resources
- FY2023 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Webinar – December 7, 2022 Direction for Web Team: removed this link from top section and move into this new section
- FY 2023 DLT Webinar Materials Direction for Web Team: removed this link from top section and move into this new section
There are no other architect, engineering or environmental requirements at the national level. If there are additional state-specific requirements they will be listed above.
There are no other additional requirements at the national level. If there are additional state-specific requirements they will be listed above.