Grant Details

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program (DLT)

 
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    CFDA#

    10.855
     

    Funder Type

    Federal Government

    IT Classification

    A - Primarily intended to fund technology

    Authority

    Department of Agriculture (USDA)

    Summary

    The Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program is designed to provide access to education, training, and health care resources for rural Americans. The DLT program provides financial assistance to encourage and improve telemedicine and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, and related advanced technologies that students, teachers, medical professionals, and rural residents can use. Grants may be used to fund telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video equipment, and related advanced technologies which extend educational and medical applications into rural areas. Grants are intended to benefit end users in rural areas, who are often not in the same location as the source of the educational or health care service.
    The DLT program is legislatively authorized to provide three kinds of financial assistance:
    • 100% grant;
    • Combination Loan-Grant; and
    • 100% Loan
    The DLT Grant Program is primarily focused on providing equipment that operates via telecommunications to rural end-users of telemedicine and distance learning. It is useful to keep in mind that while the equipment is eligible, it does not fund the telecommunications that connects that equipment. DLT does not fund communications links between sites (wireless or wire-line) and it does not fund telecommunications or Internet connections. Grants (and eligible matching funds) can be expended only for the costs associated with the initial capital assets associated with the project.
    There are three categories of eligible purposes:
    • Acquiring, by lease or purchase, eligible new or non-depreciated equipment. The application must demonstrate both that the predominant purpose (50% or more of use) of every line-item in the grant and match budget meets the DLT Grant definition of distance learning and/or telemedicine. Examples of eligible equipment include:
      • Computer hardware and software 
      • Site licenses and maintenance contracts
      • Extended warranties (up to 3 years)
      • Audio and video equipment (including interactive audio/video equipment)
      • Computer network components
      • Telecommunications terminal equipment
      • Data terminal equipment
      • Inside wiring
      • Broadband facilities (if owned by the applicant)
    • Acquiring instructional programming that is a capital asset (including the purchase or lease of instructional programming already on the market). Renewals of instructional programming are not eligible nor is classroom equipment (such as laboratory equipment). Also, expenses (such as those for tuition, fees for coursework on a per course basis, or fees for cultural events or virtual field trips) are not capital assets and therefore, are not eligible. 
    • Providing technical assistance and instruction for using eligible equipment, including any related software; developing instructional programming that is a capital asset and providing engineering or environmental studies relating to the establishment or expansion of the phase of the project to be financed with the grant. The costs for this category cannot exceed 10% of the grant amount requested.
    The following purposes are considered ineligible grant purposes:
    • To pay for medical or educational equipment not having telemedicine or distance learning as its essential function; including telephone systems.
    • To pay for Electronic Medical Records (EMS) systems.
    • To pay salaries, wages, or employee benefits to medical or educational personnel;
    • To pay for the salaries or administrative expenses of the applicant or the project;
    • To purchase equipment that will be owned by the local exchange carrier or another telecommunications service provider unless that service provider is the applicant.
    • To duplicate facilities providing distance learning or telemedicine services in place or to reimburse the applicant or others for costs incurred prior to RUS' receipt of the completed application;
    • To pay costs of preparing the application package for financial assistance under this program; 
    • For projects whose sole objective is to provide links between teachers and students or between medical professionals who are located at the same facility or campus environment;
    • For site development and the destruction or alteration of buildings;
    • For the purchase of land, buildings, or building construction;
    • For projects located in areas covered by the Coastal Barrier Resources Act;
    • For any purpose that the Administrator has not specifically approved; 
    • Except for leases provided for in §1734.21, to pay the cost of recurring or operating expenses for the project including but not limited to internet connection fees;
     

    History of Funding

    2017 awards can be seen at https://www.rd.usda.gov/files/DLT_Awardees_2017.pdf.

    Additional Information

    The DLT Grant Program is a competitive program. Applications are scored in objective and subjective categories. 
    • Objective Criteria: statistical in nature and evaluated by comparing statistics on numerical data.
      • Rural Area (Rurality) (Up to 40 points)
      • Economic Need (SAIPE) (Up to 30 points)
      • Special Consideration (Up to 10 points): RUS will offer special consideration to applications that have STEM education or opioid treatment as their primary purpose.  Special Consideration points must be specifically requested using the sample Special Consideration Worksheet or a similar document.
    • Subjective Criteria: rendered by a judgment, an informed opinion based on various factors, including experience, knowledge and statistical comparisons
      • Need for Services and Project Benefits (Needs & Benefits) (Up to 30 points)

    Special Consideration Points will be awarded if the proposal addresses either of the following:
    • STEM: For the purpose of the DLT program, STEM education is defined as education in the various science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. STEM encompasses a wide range of academic and technical subjects, including the physical sciences, life sciences, natural sciences, information technology, engineering and mathematics education. STEM includes health care programs that train students for careers in the medical or scientific research fields. STEM also includes career/technical education and apprenticeships in any of the STEM fields, which can be considered Applied STEM. STEM education eligible purposes include:
      • Classes offering STEM curriculum
      • Training in STEM fields, including apprenticeships and instructor training
      • Laboratory or other equipment that contributes to the live interactive STEM curriculum
    • Opioid Treatment: For the purpose of the DLT program, opioid treatment is defined as the interactive communication between medical or educational professionals and opioid users or their families, other treatment professionals or those who interact with opioid users. Opioid treatment eligible purposes include:
      • Counseling of opioid users
      • Treatment of opioid dependent persons
      • Training of medical professionals, counselors or first responders in the interaction with opioid users.
      • Education programs addressing opioid abuse

    Contacts

    Shawn Arner

    Shawn Arner
    Office of Loan Origination and Approval
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20250-1550
     

  • Eligibility Details

    To be eligible for a grant, your organization must:
    1. Be legally organized as an incorporated organization or partnership; an Indian tribe or tribal organization, as defined in; a state or local unit of government; a consortium; or other legal entity, including a private corporation organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis. Each applicant must provide written evidence of its legal capacity to contract with the Rural Utilities Service to obtain the grant and comply with all applicable requirements.
    2. Either operate a rural community facility, or 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.
    Equipment vendors, system integrators, and other businesses whose purpose in the proposal is to sell equipment or technological services to support applicants cannot themselves be applicants. Additional Eligibility Criteria: Minimum Rurality Score - In order to be eligible to receive a grant, an application must receive a minimum of 20 points as an average score for all end user sties included in the project. To receive points, an end user site must not be located within the boundaries of any incorporated or unincorporated city, village, or borough having a population in excess of 20,000 inhabitants.

    Deadline Details

    Applications were to be submitted by June 4, 2018. A similar deadline is anticipated annually.

    Award Details

    Awards range between $50,000 and $500,000 each. The DLT program requires applicants to provide match funds that total 15% of the grant request. Projects last up to 3 years.



     

    Related Webcasts Use the links below to view the recorded playback of these webcasts


    • Funding Classroom Technology to Empower Students and Teachers - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Maximizing Technology-friendly Workforce Development Grants - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Funding Data-driven Workforce Development Projects - Sponsored by NetApp - Playback Available

 

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