For those of us who haven’t got the additional thousands to fund the course and don’t wish to sell our organs, funding the LPC or BPTC is a genuine concern. We’ve taken the time to consider various solutions to keep the worry at bay,so you can make an informed choice when the time comes.
Photo Sourced from City University Website- graduation page
This is the most common method. You will need to arrange an appointment with your bank and discuss the duration you need the loan and how much.
What interest is being charged on the loan?
Usually it is between 5-8% on an educational loan but can be higher for a standard personal loan, the rate will be influenced by whether the loan is secured or not.
What are the terms of repayment?
These loans are treated as any other commercial loan and are expected to be paid back as soon as your course finishes.
Remember that if you have a student loan, that will also be required to be paid back at the same time. You will be charged interest during your studies and payments will be required to be paid back when your course finishes, regardless of how much you earn. The loan usually has a maximum of a 5-year term.
Securing of this loan will be subject to a credit check
Professional and Careers Development Loan
The Government have provided a Professional and Careers Development Loan to help fund courses that will assist your career on the long term, this includes the LPC and BPTC.
You can borrow anywhere from £300 to £10,000.
· Must be over 18.
· UK resident OR living in the UK for at least 3 years before the course starts (if you’ve done your undergraduate degree in the UK you should be eligible)
· Plan to work in the UK, EU or EEA after the course ends.
· Must last for a maximum of 2 years or 3 years with a year of work experience.
· The course you will be studying needs to be an organisation on the Professional and Careers Development Register.
You begin to pay this loan after 1 month of leaving your course (even if you don’t complete the course, for any reason). The Government pays the interest on your loan for the duration of your studies. After the completion of your course, you will have to pay back interest in addition to the sum of your loan. These loans are arranged with your bank, as far as I am aware only Barclay’s and Co-operative Banking are part of the scheme. The difference between this and a bank loan is that a bank loan will charge you interest throughout your studies as well.
Please note: The duration and interest you pay on your loan is dependent on your negotiations with your bank. However, the average interest at the moment is 9.9%. This loan can affect your entitlement to benefits. If you are registered unemployed 1 month after completion of the course you can ask the bank to defer payment. Unlike Student Finance, not everyone is entitled to this loan and you will have to undergo a credit check just like a normal bank loan.
Having done a little digging, there is a way you can have £10,280 of your tuition covered by student finance and you gain an additional qualification in the process. However, this is only applicable to the LPC. Several Universities provide a combined LPC/Masters course. This essentially means that you aren’t solely doing a diploma (that leads straight to work) but a course (that potentially leads to further education) therefore making you qualified for a student loan.You do not need to repay any of this amount until you are earning over £21,000. Furthermore, you have up to 30 years to pay it. Finally, the interest rates as of May 2017 is 4.6% which is lower than most of the other options mentioned.
The traditional student finance doesn’t cater for the additional courses need to qualify as a solicitor or a barrister, unless the course is combined with a Masters. Future Finance is the largest private student loans lender after the government and provide loans from £1,000 to £40,000. These are available to all students regardless of whether you are from the UK, EU or further afield. Furthermore, you can have up to 10 years to repay the loan. They provide greater funding than bank loans but there’s a slight catch. Compared to a bank loan whose interest is usually between 5-8%, the interest on this loan is a hefty 9.5% during studies and falls to 8% upon completion of your studies.
Law Society Scheme
The Law Society provides the Diversity Access Scheme (DAS) to encourage those from less traditional backgrounds to enter the legal field. DAS aims to fund those who do not have the financial means to complete the LPC. DAS has helped over 180 students complete there LPC. Although applications are now closed for 2017, they will reopen early next year for 2018.
The criteria is as follows:
· Attended a non-fee-paying school
· First generation to attend higher education AND/OR
· Was eligible for free school meals
Or if unable to show at least two of these, that you have experience an exceptional event that has made it difficult to become a solicitor or that it has been made difficult by your education, race, disability, gender or orientation.
The Law Society provides a helpful booklet detailing the application and selection process and additional opportunities that may result in a training contract.
Many of the institutions that provide the LPC and BPTC provide bursaries and scholarships either for incredible academic achievement or for financial hardship. I’m not going to outline those offered for every institution but information will be available on their websites. Here are a few:
· BPP’s Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship provides complete funding of your tuition fees
· The University of Law gave out over £50,000 worth of BPTC bursaries this year. Scholarships are also available for the LPC.
· Inns of Court have been exceptionally generous. Lincoln’s Inn gave over £1.5 million in 2017 which partially consisted 90 scholarships ranging from £6,000 to £18,500.
· City University has 10 complete LPC scholarships and 100 partial-fee ( we also have a 10% discount due to doing our undergraduate at City). Each partial scholarship pays £3,000 of your tuition.
A few unusual scholarships:
· Vernon Cade Fund- If you are a resident or working/intending to work in Cambridge and have obtained or commenced a training contract, you could receive a grant of £500- £2,000 towards your LPC costs.
· Inderpal Memorial Trust- Two grants of £2,000 a year to women, often from an immigrant or refugee background, towards the cost of either the LPC or BPTC.
Thank you for reading and I hope this will help you progress with your legal career.
Lauren Puttick- Blog Editor in Chief 2017/2018