Your dilemma: You really, really want to study to become a lawyer, but you’ve exhausted every scholarship, bursary and grant opportunity going to no avail, the parental bank isn’t an option, and unfortunately what you have just isn’t enough to cover the costs. So what do you do?
A last resort for some students who don’t manage to secure a training contract or scholarship to fund their fees is something called a Professional and Career Development Loan. It’s a massive commitment, and there are some important factors to take into account before you decide whether or not you’d like to take one out.
What will a Career Development Loan provide?
These loans are designed to enable individuals to take courses and earn qualifications which will be their ticket to enter a specific career. A number of UK banks offer this kind of loan, and will currently lend between £300 and £10,000 if the applicant qualifies for it.
The government will pay the interest on the loan whilst you are studying and for one month after you’ve finished the course. However…
This is NOT a student loan…
Whereas your student loan is a loan from the government, the Career Development Loan is a different kettle of fish. This is a bank loan, and therefore repayment conditions are quite different too.
The way your student loan is set up means that you are only required to begin your repayments once your earnings reach a certain amount – currently £17,775. On the other hand, the Career Development Loan is a standard loan, which after a specified amount of time will require repayments to be made, regardless of your income.
This makes the Career Development Loan a potentially risky move. It’s a short term fix to stump up the costs of your course, but you need to be confident that in the long term you’ll be able to cope with repayments whilst you juggle the costs of life outside of the university bubble. Remember: repayments will kick in just one month after you’ve finished your course, and it will include the borrowed amount plus the clocked up interest.
Here’s an overview of the criteria for Career Development Loan eligibility:
- Aged 18 or above;
- The course must last for no longer than two years (three if it incorporates a placement year);
- You must have been resident in the UK for a minimum of three years;
- Your course provider has to be listed on the Professional Career and Development Loan register;
- Your intention must be to work in the UK, EU or EEA (European Economic Area) following completion of your course.
Due to the nature of this loan, it’s wise to make sure you really have tried all other funding options before opting for one of these. We’ve got plenty of advice on scholarships here.