Becoming a barrister these days is expensive. Tot up the cost of a university education and the GDL, add the pricey BPTC on top of that and you’ve got a whole lot of debt to contend with. The rewards of the profession (and the salary) are great, but it does require financial commitment. Bursaries, government funding, student loans and scholarships can help you pay for your degree, but what about the BPTC?
The bad news is that government student loans and local education authority funding is not available for the BPTC. But, aside from trying the bank of mum and dad, there are some funding options you can look into.
Inns of Court scholarships
One of the most significant sources of funding for the BPTC are Inns of Court. They have around £4 million worth of scholarships available each year, varying from small amounts of funding to significant scholarships. Most are awarded on a merit basis. Just to make your life easier, we've gathered a handy list of scholarships available.
Other BPTC scholarships
Some BPTC providers offer their own scholarships to those on the BPTC or run essay competitions. It’s worth looking into the Bar Council’s law reform essay competition too. The Kalisher Trust has a lot of opportunities up for grabs, such as paid internships and an essay prize, which could ultimately be a massive help in funding your BPTC.
Chambers & pupillage awards…
Unlike law firms, most chambers won’t usually cover the cost of your vocational education. However, if you managed to secure a pupillage before commencing the BPTC, you may be able to access part of your pupillage award to help you fund the BPTC but it is by no means guaranteed.
Professional & Career Development Loans...
Another option is to take out a Professional and Career Development loan. These are taken out to pay for work-related learning. The difference with this loan is that the government will pay your interest when you are studying (e.g. during the BPTC) and one month after you finish studying. These are generally considered as a last resort: you should explore all your other options before opting for one of these loans.
It’s worth contacting your Local Authority on the off chance that they might be able to offer you some funding for the BPTC. Otherwise, many people get help from their family to fund the BPTC, take the BPTC part-time alongside fulltime work, or take on temporary or part-time work to help fund their studies.
Make sure you start exploring your funding options early on. Don’t just look for that big scholarship: many people use portfolio funding to help them cover the cost of the BPTC, e.g. bundling together various grants, loans, scholarships and other sources of income.