North Carolina Central University lands a $480,000 federal grant for a distance learning project from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

North Carolina also receives three other awards totaling some $700,000.

The NCCU award is for the purchase of “video conferencing equipment for 11 end-user sites (consisting of libraries and church centers) providing rural residents with the ability to educate themselves on a host of legal issues,” the Agriculture Department noted.

The other North Carolina grants:

  • Montgomery County Schools: $265,576 to establish a distance learning network connecting instructors at Montgomery Community College and the school district’s central office to students at six elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools in rural North Carolina.
  • NC College of the Albemarle: $288,492 to provide video conferencing equipment to support the delivery of educational content from one hub location to students at three high schools and three college campuses.
  • NC Beaufort County Board of Education: $60,864 to replace/upgrade 10-year-old distance learning equipment at three rural high schools in Beaufort County.

In all, the Agriculture Department announced $23 million in funding for 81 distance learning and telemedicine projects across 32 states.

“Using technology for educational opportunities and medical care can provide services that are often unavailable in rural areas,” Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program helps communities better meet the needs of their residents. For example, opioid and other substance misuse disproportionately affect rural areas, and telemedicine is proving to be an effective tool for treating patients when experts otherwise would be unavailable. Hospitals, schools and training centers across the country are successfully using telecommunications to deliver specialized care to area residents, and we are proud to bring these capabilities to 81 additional communities.”