Our Head of Innovation, Binda Patel, reflects on 10 years of incredible success for the Sutton Trust’s US Programme.

“Life changing”. Two words that perfectly describe the Sutton Trust US Programme.

10 years ago, we decided to take a group of students to the States to experience what undergraduate study is like, help them to apply to US colleges and support them along their journeys.

Many said it would never work; that it would be too hard, and our students wouldn’t be able to get in. But the programme, which was one of the first of its kind, has helped many state school students from the UK to access rare and enriching opportunities in higher education across the Atlantic.

Over 1,500 students have taken part in the US Programme over the past 10 years and 500 students have made their way to the US to complete their undergraduate studies – including at prestigious institutions like Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Collectively, our students have secured places at universities in the US and the UK, and they have unlocked over $155M in financial aid. Hundreds have graduated from university and are now embarking on exciting careers.

The US Programme supported them to achieve their goals of studying in the US and showed them the ropes, but it was their hard work, dedication and perseverance that got them through one of the most rigorous application processes in higher education around the world. It’s no small feat to travel thousands of miles to a new country, immerse yourself in a new culture with no family or friends close by for support, and all of this at the age of 18.

We feel pride when we think about their achievements, and hugely privileged to have played a part in their success. But don’t just take our word for it – here are two students from our 10th cohort of the programme who are about to start their undergraduate studies in the US…

Nabrissa Badu, Duke University – Class of 2026

“It is difficult to put into words how grateful I am for the opportunities that I have received from the Sutton Trust US Programme. I feel so privileged to have experienced such unwavering support from programme staff, access to professionals in the field of university admissions, tuition in core areas of the application process, and transformative mentorship which I realise students even from the most elite schools in Britain may not have such access to.

I am so excited for what the future holds for me. The fact that I will be living and studying in the US for the next 4 years and actually experiencing what I have dreamt of does not yet feel real. I think that every young person deserves the opportunity to feel what it’s like to achieve something they once thought was impossible, and I have, thanks to the Sutton Trust.”

Alexander Morgan, Northwestern University – Class of 2026

“After months of not understanding why greater opportunities are often always offered to those who are wealthier, I thankfully came across the Sutton Trust US Programme. Studying abroad is something that I have always thought about doing, but due to the financial burden that I thought it would cause, I always dismissed the idea. After researching the life-changing impact that the programme has had on students from varying backgrounds led me to apply.

Albeit a little apprehensive and nervous, I am mostly feeling excited for the journey that awaits me across the Atlantic. To think that I have just over two months away from my life completely changing is slightly daunting; however, I cannot imagine studying anywhere else other than the US. Immersing myself into a totally different culture and gaining friendships with people from all walks of life is what I am looking forward to the most.

Most importantly, I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude for the programme by saying thank you. If it were not for the Sutton Trust US Programme, I would not be attending Northwestern University this coming September to embark on an experience of a lifetime.”

We would like to toast the achievements of 1,539 students that have taken part in our programme over the 10 years, as well as their families and teachers for their unwavering support. Thank you to the US-UK Fulbright Commission and our host universities for being excellent delivery partners, and a warm thanks to our generous funders for believing in us and making the programme a success.

Here’s to 10 more years of the Sutton Trust US Programme.

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