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Distance Learning and Telemedicine Loans and Grants

Number: 10.855
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: Rural Utilities Service

Program Information 

Program Number/Title (010):
10.855 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Loans and Grants
Federal Agency (030):
Rural Utilities Service, Department of Agriculture
Authorization (040):
Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, Title VII, Public Law 104-127, 7 U.S.C 950.
Objectives (050):
To encourage and improve telemedicine services and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, and related advanced technologies to be used by students, teachers, medical professionals, and rural residents.
Types of Assistance (060):
Uses and Use Restrictions (070):
To fund telecommunications, computer networks and related advanced technologies that provide educational and/or medical benefits to students, teachers, medical professionals and rural residents. Eligible costs depend on the type of financial assistance being requested; i.e., grant or loan. See 7 CFR Part 1703 for details.
Eligibility Requirements (080)
Applicant Eligibility (081):
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, including a private corporation organized on a for profit or not-for profit basis. 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 (082):
The people living in rural areas and to improve rural opportunities, particularly in the areas of education, training and medical services.
Credentials/Documentation (083):
See 7 CFR Part 1703 for details. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.
Application and Award Process (090)
Preapplication Coordination (091):
Some coordination is required prior to applying for a DLT grant. An environmental impact statement is required for this program. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedures (092):
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; a statement of non-delinquecy 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 (093):
Loans are approved if economically feasible and if they serve the purposes of the Distant Learning and Telemedice Loan Program. For grants, RUS rates the applicants based on specified scoring criteria and determines awards based on those ratings.
Deadlines (094):
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time (095):
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.
Appeals (096):
A grant applicant may appeal the numerical scoring of the objective criteria only to the Administrator in writing within 10 days after applicant is notified of the scoring level.
Renewals (097):
Not Applicable.
Assistance Consideration (100)
Formula and Matching Requirements (101):
This program has no statutory formula.
Matching Requirements: Percent: 15.%. No matching is required for applicants requesting loans.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance (102):
Funds may be advanced monthly or as needed to reimburse disbursements for approved grant purposes. Applicants generally have three years to spend funds. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: .
Post Assistance Requirements (110)
Reports (111):
Program reports are not applicable. Cash reports are not applicable. Progress reports are not applicable. SF 425, "Federal Financial Report," is required annually. Project performance activity reports are required annually.
Audits (112):
In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. 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.
Records (113):
Grantees will provide evidence that funds are expended for approved purposes.
Financial Information (120)
Obligations (122):
(Direct Loans) FY 13 $0; FY 14 est $0; and FY 15 est $0. (Project Grants) FY 13 $28,990,856; FY 14 est $22,000,000; and FY 15 est $21,000,000
Range and Average of Financial Assistance (123):
The minimum grant, loan, or loan/grant combination is $50,000. The maximum grant is $500,000. In fiscal year 2012, the average grant amount was $268,000.
Program Accomplishments (130):
Fiscal Year 2013: Funds for FY 2013 were awarded in FY 2014,. Fiscal Year 2014: To date, 89 DLT grant awards totaling $28,990,856 have been made to projects in 34 states using funds from the FY13 DLT competition. Fiscal Year 2015: No Current Data Available
Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature (140):
7 CFR 1703, subparts D through G. Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program; Notice of Available Funding and Grant Application Deadlines, published in the Federal Register June 28, 2013; Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program and FY2013 Application Guide & FY 2013 Toolkit.
Information Contacts (150)
Regional or Local Office (151) :
Headquarters Office (152):
Assistant Administrator, Telecommunications Program, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., STOP 1590, Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Phone: (202) 720-9564.
Website Address (153):
Examples of Funded Projects (170):
Fiscal Year 2013: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2014: Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts:
Rural Development funds will be used to purchase servers and video application software that will fortify a high-technology high-capability distance learning hub at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts location in Hot Springs. This Ďserver farmí will be used to manage and coordinate the distance learning activities between the 16 high schools in the project and the individual academic relationships that each school has with ASMSA teachers and mentors. The servers and their functional software will be specifically applied to support the target high schools of the project, located in the Delta region, with a strong focus on sciences, technologies, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The projected end result is to create a high availability environment for STEM instructors and their classes (live or streamed), for content management, and collaboration providing students from the Delta Region with a strong STEM background and experience.

Gonzales Healthcare Systems Foundation
Rural Development funds will be used to update Gonzales Hospitalís teleradiological equipment and related data and imaging information management systems. Critical teleradiological services provided by Gonzales Hospital (serving18,000 patients per year that require radiological diagnostics) have recently come to a halt because of the obsolete functionality of the existing equipment and inoperable data formats for radiological imaging in its various modalities. With the new system in place radiologists (located many hours away) will be able to resume services in reading the hospitalís transmitted images. Clinical specialties such as cardiology, endoscopy, mammography, orthopedic, neurology, vascular, gastroenterology and bronchoscopy rely on the hospitalís radiological capacity to transmit visual data and accompanying information. The benefits of the upgrade will have a major impact on the hospitalís overall level of care and effectiveness in serving its patients. Fiscal Year 2015: No Current Data Available
Criteria for Selecting Proposals (180):
See 7 CFR Part 1703, subparts D through G.