75 British state school students from across the UK have been offered places to study at top US universities through the Sutton Trust US Programme, it was announced today. The programme, which encourages high-attaining British students from low and moderate-income homes to consider studying at American universities, is delivered by the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

The 75 students are the most successful cohort in the seven-year history of the Sutton Trust US Programme. They come from across the UK and have won places and financial aid packages at 48 different institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Stanford. More than three quarters (80%) will be among the first in their family to go to university and over 40% are eligible for free school meals. Between them, they have already been offered over $20m of financial aid from the universities over the next four years.

The students’ achievements will be celebrated this evening at a reception for them and their parents in London. It will be attended by Sir Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust, and Sir Nigel Sheinwald, chair of the US-UK Fulbright Commission and former British Ambassador to the USA.

Roli Enonuya from Rochester in Kent has been offered a place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a top public university in the southeastern US. As a recipient of the Morehead-Cain scholarship, Roli will be supported financially for all four years of her degree and will participate in fully-funded enrichment programmes each summer.

A first-generation immigrant in a single-parent household, Roli has run an initiative to improve attainment in a local low-achieving primary school for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and is the first black, female vice chair of her regional youth council.

Roli said: “This programme has changed my life. I have wanted to study in the US since I was around 13 and the work the programme does to support lower income students to attend world-renowned institutions is truly transformative. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of it.”

Billal Iqbal, who has just completed his studies at Rochdale Sixth Form College, has been offered a place and generous financial aid package at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

One of seven children, Billal spends his time coding and playing cricket. The first-generation university student plans to study engineering and robotics at MIT, with the wider ambition to use these to help others.

Billal said: “Initially, studying in the US was something I was uncertain of. Studying in the UK where I could be in a familiar environment and closer to home seemed to be the much easier option. However, being part of the programme has helped me understand that I am capable of much more and that I can achieve what I want with hard work. The people I have met on the programme continue to inspire me with their passion and ambition.”

Last year Roli and Billal 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 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.

Later this month, this year’s cohort of 200 Year 12 students will take part in the US Programme and travel over to the United States. Duke University will join Princeton, Yale and MIT in hosting the students.

Since 2012, the Sutton Trust has supported over 350 students to study in the US. Many students from the first cohorts are now beginning careers in the UK, or pursuing postgraduate study in America.

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 want to attract the most talented students, whatever country or social background they come from.

“I’m delighted that an incredible 75 state school students from the UK have won places to study in the States. They’ll enjoy a broad and varied curriculum, exciting enrichment opportunities, as well generous funding for both tuition and living costs.”

“I hope many more young people will be inspired by their success – background should be no obstacle to such amazing achievements.”

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

“I am delighted to see the record-breaking success of this year’s cohort. The students will be benefit from the very best that American higher education has to offer, at highly-selective liberal arts colleges, research institutions, and women’s colleges across the United States. I can’t wait to see what they achieve over the next four years and beyond.”

Bernie Mensah, President of the UK and CEEMEA and co-head of Fixed Income Currencies and Commodities Trading, said:

“As a business committed to enabling economic mobility we are proud to partner with the Sutton Trust.

“Through our partnership over the last five years, we’ve supported 600 talented young people to access the US Programme and this has resulted in hundreds of students from less advantaged backgrounds enrolling to study in the US. This is an invaluable experience that ultimately sets these young people on an exciting new path, one that will shape their personal and professional future.”

The US Programme is based on the Sutton Trust’s successful flagship UK Summer School programme which now runs at 13 leading British universities and has benefited over 20,000 state school students.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1.The Sutton Trust is committed to improving social mobility from birth to the workplace. Founded by Sir Peter Lampl in 1997, the Trust has supported over 30,000 young people through evidence-led programmes and published over 200 pieces of agenda-setting research, many of which have influenced government policy.

  1. The US-UK Fulbright Commission fosters intercultural understanding between the USA and the UK through educational exchange and is the official source of information about US study for the UK. Since the Commission was founded by diplomatic treaty in 1948, the US-UK Awards programme has enabled more than 23,000 British and American citizens to study, research or teach at universities on either side of the Atlantic – building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States and the United Kingdom. As part of the EducationUSA network, the Commission offers British students free, accurate, and comprehensive information about opportunities to study at accredited universities in the USA, as well as delivering the Sutton Trust US Programme in partnership with the Sutton Trust.
  2. 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 high-attaining state school students from low and middle income families to study at the most selective universities in Britain.
  3. 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.
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