Nicholas Butts

2017 Cheng Fellow

Problem

In the U.S., the top 38 colleges admits more students from the top 1% income bracket than from the entire bottom 60%. While the average student-to-counselor ratio in U.S. public high schools is 491-to-1.Nicholas works on access to higher education, in particular for low income, first-generation and rural students.

Pathway

Nicholas is a co-founder and managing director of Project Access, a nonprofit that fights inequality in higher education by widening access to top universities for underprivileged students. Since its founding in February 2016, Project Access has expanded to more than 20 countries, has more than 2800+ mentors from the world’s best universities reaching thousands of students around the world through peer-to-peer mentoring, an online knowledge base and pre- and on campus support. Nicholas works with Fair Opportunity Project, sending out a free yearly college application guide in English, Spanish and Chinese to more than 57,000 public high schools in the U.S. Nicholas and Fair Opportunity Project are currently working to create online courses around college access, helping students apply for, gain access to and succeed at college. For his work, Nicholas has won WeWork’s Creator Awards; is a Clinton Global Initiative Ambassador and was named a Sustainable Development Goals Talent by the United Nations.

Person

Nicholas Butts received his MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School and was a Crown Prince Frederik Fellow. Prior to attending the Kennedy School, Nicholas worked with sustainability and government relations as an associate for A.P. Moller-Maersk, in diplomacy as a liaison officer for the U.N. and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as an assistant for the former special advisor to the Danish PM. Nicholas is a CSIS Young Leader, he served as the Danish Youth Ambassador to China. He holds a LL.M. (summa cum laude) from Peking University, where he graduated top of the school and a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He previously studied at Sciences Po, Paris.