The Sutton Trust is launching a US version of its highly successful summer school programme to give bright non-privileged UK students experience of undergraduate study in America. The programme is centred on a week at Yale University, with support before and after.

The scheme, delivered in partnership with the Fulbright Commission and with support from Pure Potential, will reach 64 students in its pilot year – the same number the Trust funded at its first UK summer school in Oxford in 1997.  All costs will be paid by the Trust, and bright students from homes with income below £40,000 a year will be prioritised.  The programme will recruit up until the 16 April and the summer school will be held in late July.

Although UK applications to US universities have increased, very few are from non-privileged young people. In 2010-11, just under 9,000 UK students, a record number, pursued US study. Harvard University alone saw a 45% increase in applications from 2009-10 to 2010-11. However the majority of UK applicants come from private schools.  The programme aims to change that, broadening the horizons of bright state school students, giving them a taste of life at a top US university, and providing the necessary support to help them make good applications to a range of American universities.

The scheme builds on the success of the Sutton Trust’s UK summer school programme, started in 1997, which now reaches over 1,000 students at seven leading universities.  Seventy-five percent of participants on the programme end up at a selective university. The scheme is oversubscribed by 7:1, indicating that there is a significant pool of highly able, non privileged students from which to draw.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust said:

“Studying at a US University is an appealing prospect to many UK state school students. The breadth of the four year degree and the chance to experience another culture will make for an intellectually stimulating and fun time. With tuition fees increasing dramatically in England, and some generous financial aid packages in the US, it is also more attractive than before from a cost perspective.  If successful we intend to establish many more US summer schools next year and beyond – opening a pipeline for UK students to reap the benefits of higher education at leading US universities.”

Simon Lewis, Chair, US-UK Fulbright Commission, said:

“We are delighted to support the Sutton Trust’s new US summer school. At Fulbright, we believe study abroad has the power to change lives and countries – for the better. An overseas experience, whether it is a full degree, internship or study abroad, provides students lasting benefits in their personal and professional lives. We are keen to enable British students to take the opportunity to spend time in America and to make use of our advisory services.”


The programme is centred around a one week summer school at Yale in July, during which students will also get to visit other US campuses. Pre and post residential sessions in London in July and August will support students in making college choices, preparing for admissions tests and submitting applications and accessing financial aid. Tailored support will be available in the autumn and teachers will also have access to advice and guidance.

Applications are open at

The Sutton Trust is a charity founded in 1997 by Sir Peter Lampl with the aim of providing educational opportunities for able young people from non-privileged backgrounds and improving social mobility through education. The Trust has funded over 100 research studies but it is primarily a ‘do tank’. It has initiated and supported a wide range of projects, from early years, through primary and secondary schooling and access to higher education and the professions.

Fulbright – Founded by treaty in 1948, the US-UK Fulbright Commission is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes peace and cultural understanding through a wide range of postgraduate and postdoctoral scholarships for US and UK citizens and its EducationUSA advisory service. Summer school applicants are encouraged to visit our website for more information about the opportunities to study at an American university, as well as ways we support students.

Pure Potential is an independent organisation which raises the aspirations of thousands of state-educated sixth-formers every year, encouraging them to apply to and helping them to achieve offers from excellent universities and leading employers through events, their magazine APPLY® and online.

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