62 state school students from low and moderate income backgrounds have won places at prestigious US universities via the Sutton Trust US Programme, run in conjunction with the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

The students’ achievements were announced at a reception for them and their parents in the London offices of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the founding corporate supporter of the US programme.

Of the successful students, two-thirds (68%) will be among the first in their family to go to university and more than half (56%) are from households with an income of less than £25,000. Half (50%) have been eligible for free school meals or educational maintenance allowance.

Across the four years of study, the students will receive over $16.4m of financial support – an average of $264,500 per student - from US universities and scholarships, graduating with little or no debt. They’ll take up places at 37 top universities across 17 US states including: Columbia, Dartmouth College, Duke, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Princeton and Yale. 

18-year-old Francesca Drumm, who will be the first person in her family to go to university, has won the prestigious 1789 scholarship to study at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington DC. She lives in Belfast with her mum and is an elected member of the UK Youth Parliament.

She said: "The Sutton Trust US Programme has offered me unparalleled opportunities and support in my application to US universities. By pursuing and achieving my dream to study in the US, I will be availing of a unique global approach to education, both inside and outside of the classroom."

18-year-old Matthew Baldwin, from Nottingham, will be the first in his family to go to university when he takes up his place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is passionate about environmental protection and has so far researched the use of robotics to improve sustainability in his local area.

Sutton Trust US Programme students celebrate their success at the London offices of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Photo by Zute Lightfoot.

He said: “The programme has been an incredible experience and has offered me the vital support that helped me on my journey to the US. I chose to study in the US for the challenge of living in a new and exciting environment; MIT offers such amazing opportunities for undergraduates, I'm excited to see where they will take me!”

The aim of the US Programme is to encourage academically talented, low and moderate income students to consider studying at American universities. Last summer, all 62 students participated in the Sutton Trust’s US Summer School based at either the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or Yale University, with a college fair at Harvard University.

The students benefited from residential activities and received an intensive programme of support, delivered by the US-UK Fulbright Commission over 12 months before and after their US visit, which covered admission tests, college choices and the application process.

150 state school students have been selected to take part in the Sutton Trust’s US Summer School this August.

We are very grateful for the financial support we receive for the US programme. Support is provided in part by a grant from the Robertson Foundation. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the programme’s founding corporate partner and their investment is matched by Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, who have supported the programme since its launch. The programme is also generously supported by Martin & Antoinette Sullivan, Jerry del Missier, an anonymous Foundation, another anonymous corporate, and the Neuberger Berman Foundation. EducationUSA also provide financial support. We are grateful to the London Stock Exchange Foundation and Big Change who have previously funded the programme.

Speaking at the event at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

“The achievements of these students are truly remarkable. They have won places at the great American universities such as Harvard, MIT, Princeton and Yale. They will benefit from the broad curriculum these universities offer as well as the experience gained from living in the US. 

“They all come from backgrounds where family income is less than $65,000. This means that all their costs are paid for by the universities. Each student will on average access $260,000 in financial aid which means they will graduate with little or no debt.”

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

“We are delighted to continue partnering with the Sutton Trust to widen access to educational opportunities between the US and the UK. Fulbright has always stood for developing leadership through intercultural education and these exceptional students will return to the UK as graduates equipped to collaborate across borders. We are enormously proud of them and look forward to celebrating their achievements in the years to come.”

Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, also addressed the students and said:

“It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to gain a place on the Sutton Trust US programme, so I congratulate these students on their success. Our partnership with the Sutton Trust is one we value highly, and our employees take great pride and enjoyment in supporting the students through mentoring and informal buddy schemes. We look forward to our continued partnership and to helping the students succeed in their academic lives.”

Applications for next year’s programme will open in November. Students can register their interest now. (http://us.suttontrust.com)

The US Programme is based on the Sutton Trust’s successful flagship programme in the UK which now runs at 12 leading British universities and has benefited over ten thousand state school students.

Notes to editors:

  1. For further information please contact Hilary Cornwell  at the Sutton Trust on 020 7802 1660 or David Mannion at the US-UK Fulbright Commission on 020 7498 4020.
  2. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 180 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.
  3. The US-UK Fulbright Commission was founded by diplomatic treaty in 1948, to foster intercultural understanding between the USA and the UK through educational exchange. It continues to support Senator Fulbright’s vision through scholarship and summer programmes, enabling British and American citizens to study, research or teach at universities on either side of the Atlantic. As part of the EducationUSA network, the Commissions also offer British students free, accurate, and comprehensive information about opportunities to study at accredited universities in the USA. They organise USA College Day, the largest US university fair in Europe.
  4. The Sutton Trust has run UK summer schools since 1997. They offer young people from low and middle 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.
  5. Results from the first four cohorts include over 200 students enrolled at 57 different universities across 18 states and an American university abroad, accessing approximately $50 million in financial aid.
  6. At Bank of America Merrill Lynch, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. 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. 2016 ESG Executive Summary and ESG Performance Data Summary
  7. 2015-16 saw the largest year-on-year increase of British students in the USA for over thirty years: 11,600 British students were studying in America, 5,680 of whom were undergraduates.
  8. The biographies for all admitted students and scholarship finalists can be found online at: http://bit.ly/usadmissionbios2017
  9. The 62 students are:




Marcia Adams

Bryn Mawr College

St Anthony's Girls' Catholic Academy

Babatomiwa Adebiyi


Twyford Church of England High School

Ella Apostoaie

Wellesley College

Notre Dame High School

Matthew Baldwin


Wilsthorpe Community School

Julius John Balisanyuka-Smith

Swarthmore College

Tiffin School

Jack Beckitt-Marshall

Bowdoin College

The Priory Academy LSST

Leah Berridge

Northwestern University

Wallington High School for Girls

Rachael Borthwick

Skidmore College

Kingussie High School

Kieran Brookes

Amherst College

Hall Cross Academy

Jasleen Chaggar

Columbia University

Vyners School

Dominic Clarke

Williams College

Torquay Boys' Grammar School

Thomas Clarke

Pomona College

East Norfolk Sixth Form College

Joshua Coleman

Connecticut College

Lismore Comprehensive School

Morgan Cronin

Yale University

Hawthorn High School

Megan Deacon

Lafayette College

St Clement Danes School

Chardonnae Deslandes

Harvard College

Kingsmead School

Natasha Di Centa

Dickinson College

Kendrick School

Sophie Doddimeade

Grinnell College

Coloma Convent Girls' School

Francesca Drumm

Georgetown University (1789 Scholar)

Victoria College

Jonathan Edwards

Pomona College

Davenant Foundation School

Larissa Edwards

Northwestern University

City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College

Conal Fagan

University of Notre Dame

(Hesburg-Yusko Scholar)

St Columb's College

Charlotte Foley

Vanderbilt University

King Edward VI Handsworth School

Georgina Gonzalez

Columbia University

The Grey Coat Hospital

Tori Gorton

Princeton University

Torquay Boys' Grammar School

Emanuele Guidi

University of Chicago

The St Thomas the Apostle College

Momena Haider

University of Pennsylvania

Ousedale School

Oscar Hou

Columbia University

The Blue Coat School

Adam Inskip

University of Rochester

Tupton Hall School

Nasir Ismael

Princeton University

Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate Girls School

Alice Jackson

Amherst College

St Leonard's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Comprehensive School

Holly Jones-Bartlett

Smith College

Richard Huish College

Ben Keegan

Duke University (Robertson Scholar)

The Blue Coat School

Ethan Kendall

Vanderbilt University

St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School

Jessie Kendrick

Smith College

Thomas Telford School

Martha Kent

Mount Holyoke College

Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School

Paulo Kretteis

Princeton University

Greenford High School

Sophie Mackenzie

University of Rochester

(Genesee Scholar)

Bodmin College

Bonnie MacRae

Barnard College

Harris Academy

Ayush Malik

University of Richmond

Wednesfield High School

Cai Markham

Princeton University

Leek High Specialist Technology School

Carla Melaco

Barnard College

Monkseaton High School

Alexander Morgan

Connecticut College

Cardinal Newman Catholic School

Fionnuala Murphy

Dartmouth College

St Aidans and St John Fisher Associated Sixth Form

Joe Nicholls

Soka University

Southend High School for Girls

Olivier Niyibizi


Emory University (Woodruff Scholar)

Bilborough College

Daniel Ogunbamowo

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Morehead-Cain Scholar)

The Sixth Form College Colchester

Tom Orchard

Georgia Institute of Technology (Stamps President's Scholar)

Colyton Grammar School

Joseph Peck

Yale University

Devonport High School for Boys

Rhiannon Richards

Skidmore College

Ysgol Penglais

Grace Richardson

Northwestern University

(Brian D'Arcy James Scholar)

Brighton Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College

Alda Saba

Lehigh University

Seven Kings High School

Ayllin Schoengut Hecker

Lafayette College

Bacon’s College

Samuel Sheppard

Swarthmore College

Highams Park School

Ashley Sibanda

University of Rochester

(Alan and Jane Handler Scholar)

Blessed Hugh Faringdon Catholic School

Raphaelle Soffe

Harvard College

Hawarden High School

Matthew Stafford

Yale University

Kirkbie Kendal School

Rebecca Tinkler

Emory University (Woodruff Scholar)

Torquay Girls Grammar School

Neil Tramsen

Emory University

Hall Cross Academy

Shane Ward

Bates College

Charles Darwin School

Ryan Wheatley

Middlebury College

John Mason School

Nicola Yates

Skidmore College

Alton College