47 British state school students from low and moderate-income backgrounds have won places to study at top US universities through the Sutton Trust US Programme, it was announced today.

The programme, which encourages academically talented British students from low and moderate-income homes to consider studying at American universities and is delivered by the US-UK Fulbright Commission, has also announced a new partnership with Duke University in North Carolina.

Abbie Lambert from Consett in Durham has been offered a place and a generous financial aid package at Princeton, an Ivy League university in New Jersey. The daughter of a factory worker from a small working-class town in the North East, she is in the first generation of her family to go to university. Head Girl at St Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College, Abbie is a keen physicist and mathematician and played competitive football for 9 years.

Abbie said: “I’ve wanted to study in the US since I was 12 but I didn’t think that it would ever really happen. The Sutton Trust gave me the opportunity to explore and develop my interest in the US. The programme helped me to discover what I actually wanted from a university and gave me the confidence to apply to one of the world’s best universities.

“My parents are extremely hard-working, and despite financial difficulties, they do all they can to provide a good life for my brother and me. As a first-generation student, I want to take full advantage of the educational opportunities that they didn’t have, as I know it will benefit me and my family immeasurably.”

Trae James from east London has been awarded funding covering the full cost of attendance at Babson College, a highly selective university in Massachusetts with a business and entrepreneurship focus. Trae spent the first seven years of his life in care, while his mum was in prison. In his spare time, he has worked for his local newspaper and as a motivational speaker in schools across the UK inspiring young people to make a difference in their communities.

Trae said: “The best thing I’ve learned from the Sutton Trust US Programme is that there is no limit to what you can achieve. Being part of a network of students – all from working class backgrounds – and seeing all the things they’ve achieved is a truly amazing feeling. I’m so excited to start at Babson and experience life in the US.”

The 47 students have been admitted early, compared to 42 last year. They come from across the country and have won places at 33 different institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Columbia. 74% of the students will be the first in their family to go to university and 53% are from households that earn less than £25,000 a year. Between them, they have already been offered a total of approximately $13.4m of financial aid from the universities over the next four years.

These students applied via the early admissions deadline. More students have applied through the regular January deadline and will find out if they have been successful later this spring.

Last year Trae and Abbie were part of a group of 150 students selected for the programme, which included a week-long trip to the United States to visit a variety of universities and meet admissions officers from colleges across the US. Students were hosted by Yale University, Princeton University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The students benefited from residential activities and received an intensive programme of support, delivered by the US-UK Fulbright Commission over several months before and after their US visit, which covered admission tests, college choices and the application process.

In 2019, 200 students will take part in the US Programme and travel over to the US. Duke University will join Harvard, Princeton, Yale and MIT in hosting the students.

The Sutton Trust US programme is made possible through generous support from donors including: the Robertson Foundation, founding corporate partner Bank of America Merrill Lynch, longstanding supporters Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing, Martin and Antoinette Sullivan, The Neuberger Berman Foundation and EducationUSA.

Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust, said:

“America’s leading universities are welcoming places for international students, whatever country or social background they come from.

“I’m delighted that 47 state school students have won places to study in the States. They will benefit from a broad and varied curriculum as well as in-depth study and generous funding for both tuition and living costs.”

Penny Egan CBE, Executive Director of the US-UK Fulbright Commission, said:

“I am so pleased to see the early successes of the current cohort in securing places and funding at top universities across the United States. These young people demonstrate the continued interest in US higher education among talented students in the UK, many drawn by the chance to pursue a liberal arts education and by the diversity and quality of US universities.”

Andrea Sullivan, Head of International Executive Global Environmental, Social & Governance at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said:

“It is wonderful that this programme has helped guide many talented young people in their application to study at top US Universities. Since the start of our partnership, our employees have shared their skills to support students throughout the process. This opportunity will set these students on an exciting new path that will shape their personal and professional future. This programme is life-changing and I am very proud to be part of an organisation that provides support for the Sutton Trust’s work.”

The US Programme is based on the Sutton Trust’s successful flagship programme in the UK which now runs at 13 leading British universities and has benefited over 20,000 state school students.  Applications for the UK programme are also open now until March 2019 at www.suttontrust.com


  • The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 200 research studies and funded and evaluated programmes that have helped hundreds of thousands of young people of all ages, from early years through to access to the professions.
  • The US-UK Fulbright Commission is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the US and UK governments to promote educational exchange between the US and the UK. The Commission offers prestigious awards for postgraduate study and research in the US, and is part of the EducationUSA network, offering accurate, comprehensive, and current information about opportunities to study at accredited higher education institutions in the USA.
  • The Sutton Trust has run UK summer schools since 1997. They offer young people from low and moderate income backgrounds in year 12 – mostly 17 year-olds – a chance to get a taste of student life at a research-led university. The programme balances busy academic days with social activities and has been successful in encouraging bright state school students from low and middle income families to study at the most selective universities in Britain.
  • Results from the first six cohorts include over 300 students enrolled at universities across the US and an American university abroad, accessing approximately $88 million in financial aid.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch Environmental, Social and Governance – At Bank of America Merrill Lynch, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with not-for-profits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organisations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter @BofAML. For more company news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom. Click here to register for news email alerts. www.bankofamerica.com

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