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USDA opens 2nd call for distance learning, telemedicine program funding

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it has opened a second application window for funding under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program, making $72 million available to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities.

“Due to the COVID-19 National Emergency, USDA is providing an additional window for those who cannot complete applications prior to the first application deadline,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand said. 

“This action will provide more time for applicants to complete their funding requests. Access to distance learning and telemedicine makes it easier for thousands of rural residents to take advantage of health care and educational opportunities without having to travel long distances or be among large groups of people,” she added.

Josue E. Rivera, USDA Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico said this is “an essential program for the island.”

“During this present crisis we need better service to provide essential services for our rural citizens. Please apply for this program because is essential to jumpstart our economy and provide the best education and medical treatment available,” Rivera said.

Electronic applications for window two may be submitted through grants.gov beginning April 14, 2020 and are due no later than July 13, 2020. Paper applications will not be accepted under the second window. Additional information on how to apply will be available on grants.gov on April 14, the agency confirmed.

USDA opened the period for the first application window on February 10. That application deadline is April 10. 

Rural Development was provided an additional $25 million in the CARES Act for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program. The agency will make a separate announcement in coming weeks when these funds are available, officials said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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