Fifty bright British state school pupils from low and middle income homes will get a unique opportunity to spend a week at Harvard in summer 2014 as the Sutton Trust expands its successful US Programme in partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

There will be 175 places for British students at US summer schools next year, including 75 at Yale, 50 at Harvard and 50 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Trust announced today.

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, the Sutton Trust will be holding an international summit on Advancing Access and Admissions to leading universities at the Royal Society in London. Speakers will include the Secretary of State for Business, Universities and Skills, the Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, the Minister for Universities and Science, the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, and heads of admissions from Harvard, Yale, MIT, Oxford and Cambridge.

Harvard, alongside Yale and MIT, will host the programme students for a week of learning about campus life, meeting students and academics, talking to admissions teams from their host campus and other leading universities, and getting the chance to see the sights of Boston. The students will also visit a number of other US university campuses.

The US week is the centrepiece of an intensive programme of support provided by the Fulbright Commission before and after the summer school, including residential activities in the UK, and advice on admission tests, college choices and applications. Overall, the programme aims to provide participants with a taste of US culture and university life.

21 of the 64 students who enrolled in the first summer school at Yale in 2012 have enrolled at US universities this autumn, accessing over $4.5m (£3m) of aid, at Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Colorado College, Dartmouth, Columbia, MIT, Georgia Tech,  Middlebury and others. The 21 students are all drawn from families with relatively low incomes. 12 students have family incomes below £25,000 a year and most are the first in their family to go to university. Other participants from the first cohort are at leading UK universities.  Half are intending to take a UK degree with a period of study in the US, half are interested in applying for postgraduate study in America and a quarter intend to take a US-based internship.

150 students went to summer schools at Yale and MIT this year, and many are planning to apply to leading US universities later this autumn. 4,330 UK undergraduates a year go to US universities, mainly from independent schools.

Harvard has been a big supporter of the Sutton Trust US Programme since it started in 2012 – as well as running dedicated tours and advice sessions for Sutton students, the university has also hosted a one day College Fair at the end of the summer school week, where our students had the chance to meet with admissions representatives from 20 other leading US universities.

Nick Bonstow, from Torbay in Devon, one of the 21 summer school students who won a scholarship to study in the States, started at Harvard in September. He plans to major in humanities and says: “I’m so excited about the announcement of Harvard’s joining of the summer programme. Now studying at Harvard, as enabled by the program’s life-changing support, I can truly understand the value of unique experiences I’m gaining everyday through studying at an elite American university.

“Already I feel challenged and changed in ways I previously could not imagine; extraordinary experiences already ranging from sitting next to the Former President of Mexico to meeting with the Chief Innovation Office of the World Bank. I’m joined nine extra-curricular activities, love my four extremely small classes and plan to major in an inter-disciplinary humanities subject such as Religion or Social Studies.”

Marlyn McGrath, Director of Admissions at Harvard College, and a speaker at this week’s summit, says: “We are delighted to be able to welcome fifty British students to Harvard next summer to experience life on campus. We hope that their week with us will encourage many of them to apply to Harvard and other fine US universities. Harvard prides itself on a needs-blind admissions system which means those on low and middle incomes can leave college debt-free, and this is as open to overseas students as it is to Americans.”

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “The first year of the summer schools proved so successful that we have expanded the numbers to 175 for next year. I’m delighted that Harvard is joining Yale and MIT in offering an unrivalled experience to some of our most able youngsters. The broader study and generous aid packages at leading US universities make them a hugely attractive option for British students.”

J Jeffry Louis, chair of the Fulbright Commission, said, “The US-UK Fulbright Commission is delighted to have Harvard University as a host campus.  This program represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for its participants.  Not only do these students receive top-notch support from Fulbright Commission advisors but, through the generosity of the Sutton Trust, they are able to visit world-class institutions in the USA.  We are proud of the programme’s successes to date and hope they will inspire future bright British students to consider the States for their studies.”

Applications open for the 2014 programme in November 2013.


1. The Sutton Trust is a foundation dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 140 research studies and funded and evaluated hundreds of programmes for young people of all ages, from early years through to Access to the Professions.

2. The US-UK Fulbright Commission is a not-for-profit organisation funded by both governments to promote educational exchange between the US and the UK. The Commission offers prestigious Awards for postgraduate study and research in the US, as well as an Advisory Service and are the government recognised source of US study information in the UK.

3. Applications to join the US summer school programme can be made by the Sutton Trust website, here

4. The Sutton Trust has run summer schools in the UK since 1997. Summer schools offer young people from low and middle income backgrounds in year 12 – typically 17 year-olds – a chance to get a taste of student life at a research-led university and make strong applications. 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.

5. The numbers of UK students going to US universities has grown in recent years, particularly with higher tuition fees at English universities. 4,330 UK undergraduates a year go to US universities, mainly from independent schools. Yale and MIT are among six leading US universities that pay the full costs of tuition and board for all successful applications from low and middle income families. In addition, there are more than 250 American universities and colleges with significant funds available for overseas students, totalling over $500 million (£300m).

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