There’s no getting around the fact that funding professional law courses is a minefield, even more so than general funding for postgraduate study. The introduction of government-backed postgraduate loans means another funding source is available, and many combined LPC/Masters courses are eligible.
This guide shows the sources of finance to support postgraduate study, but don’t just apply for one – consider portfolio funding , which means securing small amounts of money from multiple sources.
Magdalena Furgalska has funded her LLM with a scholarship, government loan and a part-time job.
I would advise anyone to look for available scholarships at your University of interest and try your best to apply. Bear in mind that the maximum you can borrow (from a Student Finance Masters Loan) is £10,000. It might just cover your tuition and some living costs, but it might not even be enough for certain tuition.
I am currently employed on a part time basis at a Barrister Chambers, which helps me to cover my living costs. It’s not easy but it’s doable if you are motivated and self-disciplined. (Magdalena Furgalska, 2016 Hull graduate)
Scholarships, bursaries & grants
As you would expect, there is a large number available and the basis for selection might be academic merit, financial need or other criteria.
- The Scholarship Hub
All Law Schools offer scholarships, and this searchable database lists many of them plus there’s help on writing applications.
Good for finding benefits and grants that you might be able to access (you can search by your home postcode).
I was fortunate to get an £8,000 scholarship from Middle Temple. I also worked every summer and built up a bit of money that I was able to use to make up the difference and I’m still working; currently have 2 part time jobs on top of the BPTC. My advice would be to look at the scholarships that are available – always worth applying for because you never know if you’ll get one. (Andrew Pope, 2015 Hull graduate)
- Inns of Court Awards (BPTC only)
The Inns of Court award more than £5million every year, although this is divided between the BTPC, GDL & pupillage. Check each of the Inn websites for more details (LawCareers.Net is somewhat out of date but a good summary).
- The Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme (LPC/GDL only)
Aimed at students from disadvantaged backgrounds, or those who face obstacles to qualification.
- Government-backed Postgraduate Loans
Borrow up to £10,000 towards fees & living expenses
Repayable once income is over £21,000pa
- Professional & Career Development Loans
Borrow up to £10,00 towards fees & living expenses
Repayable 1 month after course is completed
- Metro Bank Professional Studies Loan (University of Law)
Borrow up to £25,000 towards fees & living expenses
Repayable 6 months after final course is completed
Sponsorship (LPC only)
Some firms will sponsor their trainees to do the LPC – usually international, City or large regional firms. Use LawCareers.Net’s training contract search to identify those that do. Some other organisations may offer some financial help to trainees, such as the Government Legal Service Trainee Scheme .
This doesn’t mean hitting up the parents for more money (although some might be able to access finance that way). Many students don’t want to get into further debt, so choose to study part-time and juggle it with work. Some take time off to build up their finances before going back into study.
This can also be a good idea if you need a break from study to fix on a career path. Peter Rushton completed his LLB with Hull in 2015 and is now a paralegal with Brightstone Law whilst studying the LPC part-time.
It was only after working as a paralegal for several months that I felt interested enough to pursue postgraduate study, and I am now self-funding my course. (Peter Rushton, 2016 Hull graduate)
The LPC and BPTC are all available with several institutions in part-time mode, and some start at different times of the year. Working whilst studying will be hard work, but gaining valuable work experience may also be an advantage that distinguishes you from other applicants.
If I hadn’t got a scholarship, I would have done the course part-time, spread the cost and worked to fund the rest. Chambers/firms are going to see your determination and it may even benefit you in applications.
(Andrew Pope, 2015 Hull graduate)
This means asking a lot of other people to donate money towards your study costs. There are several websites which will allow you to set up a fundraising page, and Prospects has an excellent guide to crowdfunding for postgraduate study. You’d need to be pretty committed to raise tuition fees via this route, but Alice Gambell managed it for £5,000 of her LPC fees so it is doable.
Other useful resources
- The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding
Produced by students for students, this might well be worth the small investment. (The University no longer subscribes)
- Law Essay Competitions (both BPTC/LPC)
A good starting point is City University’s list.
- Prospects Funding Postgraduate Study
Great resource for disability-related funding, and for law students who don’t want to do the LPC or BPTC.
- Target postgrad: Financing your LLM or MA in law
Some excellent ideas of other sources of funding.
- The Student Room Student Financial Support Forum (both BPTC/LPC)
Student Finance England (& Wales/Scotland/NI) have weekly surgeries on the forum, a great place to ask specific questions & get immediate answers from the experts