Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce More Than $300,000 In Funding To Provide College Courses For Students In Rural Northern Catskills School Districts

Dec 19, 2014

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $312,138 in federal funding for the Otsego Northern Catskills Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). The federal funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program and will be used to support distance learning initiatives in rural areas throughout the Northern Catskills. With this funding, students from 17 rural school districts in remote areas of the Northern Catskills, will receive access to college courses.  

“Making sure our children have the resources they need to be successful is vital, especially in economically-challenged rural communities. This federal funding will provide students from the Northern Catskills with the access to college courses, online learning programs, and innovative technologies that will enhance their studies, grow their minds and skill sets and lead to more opportunities,” said Senator Schumer. “Preparing our students now will ensure that they are ready for college and good-paying jobs.”

“Implementing distance learning programs is one of the best ways to help students in rural areas gain access to a wider range of opportunities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “A well-rounded education is far easier if options are readily available and this grant will provide students in the Northern Catskills with opportunities to receive a quality education and acquire the skills necessary for securing good-paying jobs.”

“Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES is thrilled to receive the USDA, Rural Utilities Service, Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant award in the amount of $312,138,” said Nicholas Savin, District Superintendent, Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES. The grant will assist in funding distance learning videoconferencing equipment for 17 area school districts. Despite our students attending smaller and more rural schools with fewer educational opportunities, this grant will provide students access to college, advanced placement and other high school coursework through distance learning technology. This world-class distance learning opportunity will enable our students to be competitive when applying to college. We would like to thank our Senators for their support of the distance learning program.”

USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program is specifically designed to assist rural communities in acquiring distance learning and telemedical technologies so that local teachers and medical service providers who serve rural residents can establish interactive video conferencing links to teachers, medical professionals, and other needed expertise located at distances too far to access otherwise. Since the program’s inception in 1994, the DLT Program has helped to establish hundreds of distance learning programs and telemedicine systems that have made a difference in the lives of thousands of people living in rural communities throughout the United States. DLT grants are available to medical and educational entities as well as corporations, partnerships, states or local units of government as well as tribal organizations among others. For more information, visit: