A STOURPORT student has taken up a place at a top US university thanks to the Sutton Trust US Programme.

Ryan Harper, aged 18, who completed his A levels at Stourbridge's King Edward VI College, has headed off to study at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee after participating in the Sutton Trust US Programme, run in partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

The teenager, from Stourport, was one of 150 students selected for the programme, which included a summer school in the US at either Yale University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

They competed with more than 1,000 applicants to win a place on the programme and spent a week living on campus and visiting other US universities.

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.

The Sutton Trust US Programme aims to encourage academically talented British students from low and moderate income homes to consider studying at American universities.

Ryan, who is intending to major in economics and political science, started classes in the US on August 22 and he said: “I can’t thank the Sutton Trust US Programme and the US-UK Fulbright Commission enough for their amazing help in making my dream become reality.

"I knew I wanted to study in the US because of the broad liberal arts curriculum and being able to explore different subjects, as well as the vast number of opportunities available.”

Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “America’s leading universities are bastions of progressive values and outstanding education. Their campuses are welcoming places for international students, whatever country or social background they come from.

“I hope more young people will look to their success and realise a university education in the States is well within their grasp.”

Students who have won places to study in the States will benefit from an in-depth study programme and funding for tuition and living costs.

To find out more about the US Programme go to http://us.suttontrust.com or check out www.suttontrust.com for information on the trust’s programme in the UK which runs at 11 leading British universities.