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USDA Announces $800,000 to Support Distance Education in the Agricultural Sciences

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 26, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $800,000 in available funding to support distance education for students in remote geographic regions. Funding is made through a NIFA program that brings food and agricultural science education to United States insular areas.

“The next great food safety scientist could be a student in Micronesia,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “With NIFA investments in distance education, we are ensuring that students in the U.S. education system have access to high quality instruction in the food and agricultural sciences.”

This request for applications covers the Distance Education Grants (DEG) for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas. Funded projects will strengthen the capacity of higher education institutions in insular areas to carry out resident instruction, curriculum, and teaching programs in the food and agricultural sciences through distance education technology. The eight insular areas specified in this request for applications are: American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the Virgin Islands of the United States.

The deadline for applications is June 16, 2017.

Applications may only be submitted by eligible institutions.  See the request for applications for details.

Among recent projects, a University of Guam consortium project called CariPac developed online courses on agricultural sciences for students from the Caribbean to the Pacific. Palau Community College is embarking on a comprehensive program to better engage students in agricultural science and STEM education through new technology and library resources, faculty professional development, and student internships.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA support for the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel has resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability, and ensure food safety. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit, sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.

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