Don’t be trumped
Sir Peter Lampl urges bright students to still consider US study despite President Trump’s election.
Like many, I woke up on November 10th concerned for the future of the world. I was extremely worried that an America under Donald Trump would lose its progressive and tolerant values.
The anti-immigration tone of Trump’s campaign has caused some of our US Programme students – who come from diverse ethnic, social and religious backgrounds – to worry that they won’t be accepted and respected in a country where he is President. And as we hear reports of an increase in racist attacks, it is understandable that they might be concerned for their safety.
I’ve lived and worked in the United States of America for much of my life and I know that the values it represents are much bigger than Trump. They will outlast whatever challenges the next four years bring. For hundreds of years now, Harvard, Yale and other liberal institutions have been bastions of progressive values. Their campuses welcome all students, multinational or otherwise.
I’ve long been an admirer of American universities, for their broad liberal arts curricula as well as their culture and progressive values. But many bright British teenagers just don’t realise that a university degree from an American college is a realistic ambition for them.
That’s why I set up the Sutton Trust US Programme, to give bright British state school students from less advantaged homes a taste of life at an American university. If they decide it’s for them, they get intensive support and advice through the admissions process.
Each year we take 150 students to spend a week at Yale or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to live on campus and meet other top universities, as well as getting a taste of America. We support those who want to apply to study there and last year 66 state school students from non-privileged homes won places and 100% funding to prestigious US universities – including all eight Ivy League colleges. Between them they’ll access about $17 million of financial aid over the next four years. Most of them will graduate debt-free.
It really is a life-changing programme, one that opens up new cultures, new opportunities and new experiences. And we cannot allow President Trump to force them to change that. These universities already host hundreds of our students and want to welcome many more.
At an event in June to celebrate the successes of our US Programme students, Matthew Barzun, the US Ambassador to the UK emphasised the value of “interconnectedness” between the UK and US. He explained how educational exchange allows students to see beyond unrealistic “exaggerations” and “caricatures” of each other’s cultures.
He said: “There is strength in diversity, there is a real cost to cutting connections and putting up walls.” So with those words in mind, I urge any student who is thinking about studying in the US or applying for our US programme, to do it. It is more important than ever for us to protect the values of inclusion, diversity and progression that US universities represent.
Applications are now open for the US Summer School Programme. For more information, click here.