An increasing number of state school pupils are choosing to study at Ivy League universities rather than Oxbridge, the Sunday Times claims.

Ivy League Harvard

While most of those considering Ivy League universities are from fee-paying schools, at least 33 are from state schools, and nine hold offers from Oxford or Cambridge. At Harrow School, six teenagers offered places at Oxbridge have also applied to universities in America, and ‘several’ out of the 20 pupils at Eton who have applied to America are in the same position.

The trend is being attributed to the high fees at British universities compared with the generous scholarship packages available at Ivy League universities. Many American universities also help to arrange internships or part-time work for their undergraduates to help them pay their fees.

The Sutton Trust, a charity that runs a summer school to encourage British state pupils to apply to American institutions, said the number of offered places at Ivy League universities is almost three times higher compared to the same time last year.

Gemma Collins, a student at Blackpool Sixth Form College with 12 A* and two A grades at GCSE, is ‘edging towards’ accepting an offer from Harvard rather than Cambridge. She said “I think it’s amazing that I could graduate with no debt from Harvard because of the scholarships they offer.”

The Sutton Trust will give 175 state pupils the chance to spend a week at Yale, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this summer.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, chairman of UCA S, told the Sunday Times in March last year: “It would be genuinely worrying if there were a trend developing that large numbers of students with top grades were deciding to go to universities other than British ones.”