Senator Joe Donnelly

Donnelly Announces USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants for Seven Rural Counties in Indiana

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Rural Development, awarded two Distance Learning and Telemedicine program grants totaling nearly $1 million, to the Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association and the East Central Education Service Center, in support of their collaborative effort to deliver a variety of educational services to seven rural counties in Indiana through distance learning. Donnelly wrote a letter of support on behalf of the Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association, in support of the two applications. The Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program invests in broadband technology to help rural communities connect to educational and health care services that they would otherwise not be able to easily access. 

Donnelly said, “I was proud to support the Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association’s applications for these USDA Rural Development grants. This funding will help Hoosier students in our rural counties gain access to new learning materials, courses, and the specialized educational expertise of staff though video conferencing technology. These grants will also help our Hoosier educators in rural communities access more professional development and training. This is a win-win for students and teachers.”  

The first of the two Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants will be used to purchase video conferencing equipment for two hubs located in Fayette and Dubois counties, and 18 end-user sites in Martin, Jasper, Newton, Randolph and Jennings counties. Users will be able to access new learning materials, staff, and expertise. In addition, the East Central Education Service Center and Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association will provide professional development training and resources for educators. 

The second grant award will help fund the purchase of video conference equipment to provide interactive distance learning services for two hub- and 10 end-user sites in rural Indiana. The new equipment and software will allow schools to share foreign language, science, technology, engineering and math classes. Advanced Placement courses will also be offered, as will after school tutoring and enhanced special education services. The project will also provide teachers with increased access to professional development and training.  

For information on how Senator Donnelly’s office can assist cities, municipalities, and groups applying for federal grants, please visit

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