USDA grant to improve educational services in rural areas

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USDA grant to improve educational services in rural areas

January 11, 2012

Northwestern Oklahoma State University is the recipient of a $366,359 grant provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program. Funding will be used to provide equipment for two ITV studios, one at Northwestern-Alva and one at Northwestern-Woodward, to assist students who wish to take concurrent classes. With additional ITV capabilities Northwestern can use this grant to fulfill its mission to provide educational opportunities to rural areas of the state.

The project, Impoverished Communities Achieving Needs (ICAN), is a multi-year project to expand the benefits of distance learning to northwest and southwest Oklahoma regions.

Implementation will begin as soon as the equipment is purchased and can be installed in partnered schools and on campus.

“ICAN will give students a taste of college,” said Dr. Steve Lohmann, executive vice president. “We hope to encourage students to attend college and reach out to these students while they are in high school to show them they can have success in college.”

The university already has formed a partnership between 17 northwest Oklahoma elementary and high schools. Through this partnership, the goal is to educate high school students through concurrent enrollment.

In addition, students who are place-bound can benefit from this grant in the future. Northwestern continually works to have ITV opportunities for enrollment for many remote areas.

Northwestern is one of 34 states and one territory receiving funding to improve access to educational services in rural areas.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has a portfolio of more than $160 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

Visit www.rurdev.usda.gov for additional information about the agency's programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office.

-NW-