State school students bound for top US universities meet President Obama

On Saturday, 14 students from low-income and first-generation backgrounds met President Obama in London. Each of the students have won places at top-tier US universities as participants of the Sutton Trust US Programme.

On Saturday, 14 British students from low-income and first-generation backgrounds met President Barack Obama in London. Each of the students have won places at top-tier US universities as participants of the Sutton Trust US Programme.

As part of Obama’s last official visit to the UK, the Sutton Trust students were invited to hear the President speak during a town hall meeting with 500 youth leaders.

Last year, the students visited universities including MIT, Yale and Harvard as part of the Sutton Trust US Programme, run in conjunction with the US-UK Fulbright Commission. The programme offers state school students an all-expenses-paid taste of American university life, in addition to advice and support in the UK on their US study options.

Ibrahim Butt from Blackburn, a future Robertson Scholar at Duke University, said: “Meeting President Obama, the leader of the free world, was an incredible honour. Hearing his insights into how even a single person can influence their communities was inspiring. Near the end of his eight years of presidency he will be remembered as a great leader who values the contribution of young people around the world and he reaffirmed my passion to study in the USA.”

Kerry O’Neil from Glasgow, who will be enrolling at the University of Pennsylvania, said: “As young people who are moving to the US for the next four years, it was an absolute privilege to meet the man who has run the country for the past eight years. His words were inspiring, comforting and made me even more excited to move to the US this summer.”

Close to 140 alumni of the programme are already enrolled at American universities, accessing nearly $33 million in financial aid.