Sixty-six UK students from low and middle-income homes will soon cross the pond to take up places at leading US universities.

They were selected as part of a Sutton Trust US programme, offered with the Fulbright Commission.

The 66 have been given about $17 million (£12.8 million) of aid from the universities, Harvard, Princeton and Yale among them, over the next four years.

Most are from households with an annual income of less than £25,000, and about 70 per cent will be the first in their family to go to university.

All will study a mixed programme before deciding on a specialism at a later date.

Sir Peter Lampl, chair of the trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, says: “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.”

Jeff Louis, chair of Fulbright, added: “This remarkable achievement demonstrates that American universities value the diverse talent, ambition and academic potential of the most deserving British state school students.”

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