66 state school students from across the UK have won places and funding to prestigious US universities – including all eight  Ivy Leagues colleges – after taking part in the Sutton Trust US Programme.

Of the successful students, 83% are in the first generation of their families to attend university and a majority come from households earning less than £25k a year. This is the most successful year of the programme since its creation five years ago.

The students will be attending institutions including leading liberal arts colleges, public universities and women’s colleges. 19 of the students will enrol at Ivy League institutions such as Harvard, Princeton and Yale, and each Ivy has admitted at least one student from the programme.

The students’ success was announced and celebrated as they met US Ambassador Matthew Barzun at a reception at his London residence, Winfield House, on Wednesday, 15 June.

Across their four years of study, the 66 students will access approximately $17 million through university funding and scholarships.

Among the successful students are recipients of highly competitive merit-based scholarships such as the Robertson Scholarship at Duke University, the Woodruff Scholarship at Emory University and the President’s Scholarship at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

This year’s success means there will be over 200 alumni of the Sutton Trust US Programme enrolled at US universities, accessing approximately $50 million in financial aid.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said today: “Over the next four years, these talented students will benefit from the broad and flexible curriculum that US universities offer, as well as full financial aid packages so that they will graduate with little or no debt.

“I hope that more bright young people from low and middle income homes will see the successes of this group and the hundreds of Sutton Trust alumni currently studying in the States and realise that a university education in America is well within their grasp.”

J Jeffry Louis, Chairman of the US-UK Fulbright Commission, said: “This remarkable achievement demonstrates that American universities value the diverse talent, ambition and academic potential of the most deserving British state school students. Our special educational relationship crosses the Atlantic in both directions, as the United Kingdom remains the most popular study abroad destination for American students.”

Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said: “Advancing youth employment for a stronger economy is a key focus for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. We are therefore extremely proud to partner with Sutton Trust for a second year. The enthusiasm and commitment of these academically-talented young women and men never fail to impress me. I wish them all the best with their university education, and I look forward to following their progress.”

Connor Keys, a student from County Fermanagh who has won a place at Vanderbilt University said: “In the space of a year, I have visited some top US universities, attended masterclasses from world-leading professors and have been accepted by a prestigious institution.

“The liberal arts curriculum suits my wide range of interests, and studying abroad will provide fantastic networking opportunities. The programme has greatly broadened my horizons and for that I am very grateful.”

The programme, delivered in partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission, encourages academically talented British state school students to consider undergraduate study in the USA.

Last summer, participants spent a week at either the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or Yale University, visiting several other US universities. In the UK, they received an intensive programme of support administered through the US-UK Fulbright Commission. This included help with applications, college choices and admissions tests.

150 state school students have recently been selected from over 1,200 applicants to take part in the 2016 programme and will visit the US this summer.

Now in its fifth year, the Sutton Trust US Programme is made possible through support from its founding corporate partner, Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Their investment is matched by Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing who have generously supported the programme since its launch. The programme is also supported by Jerry del Missier, the London Stock Exchange Group Foundation, Big Change and EducationUSA.


  1. View the biographies of all the Sutton Trust US Programme 2015-16 participants who have accepted places at US universities.
  2. 83% of the successful students will be the first generation of their family to attend university
  3. 58% of the students are from families earning under £25,000 a year; 72% are from families earning under £30,000 a year.
  4. The 66 students have gained places at 41 universities across 17 states
  5. 11 of the students will receive highly competitive merit-based scholarships
  6. The successful programme participants include 10 Scottish, 5 Northern Irish and 2 Welsh students.
  7. In 2014-15, there were over 10,700 students from the UK studying in the US, making the UK the number one European sender of students to the US.
  8. The Ivy League institutions are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University.
  9. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 170 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.
  10. 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. As part of the EducationUSA network of over 450 advising centres worldwide, the US-UK Fulbright Commission is the official source of US study information in the UK.
  11. Developing solutions for social and economic challenges is at the core of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s responsibility platform. In more than 90 countries around the world, they partner with employees, clients and stakeholders to help make financial lives better. The company focuses on responsible business practices, environmental sustainability, advancing opportunity in local communities through education and employability programmes and investing in global leadership development. They realise the power of our people and value our differences, recognising that our diversity makes us a stronger firm and allows us to better service our stakeholders. By harnessing our intellectual resources, sharing knowledge and connecting capital with need, we are providing opportunities that effect positive change
  12. Click here for a list of the Sutton Trust US Programme 2015-16 participants who will be attending a US university.

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