Thinking of converting to law to become a solicitor or barrister? The GDL fees will be an unavoidable cost to consider. Law study doesn’t come cheap, and the GDL alone can cost £8,000 to £11,000. Yikes.
Unfortunately, you cannot receive postgraduate government funding for the GDL, or the subsequent LPC or BPTC. There are, however, a number of sources you can try out to gather at least part of those funds.
Sponsorship from a law firm…
If you’re one of those lucky souls that manage to secure a training contract before you embark on your GDL, in many cases your law firm will pay your fees for both your GDL and LPC courses.
Some of the larger firms may even offer maintenance grants alongside fees payment. In return for sponsorship, law firms will request that the recipient completes their training contract with them.
If you strike lucky with your training contract during the GDL year, it’s worth asking whether the firm will pay your GDL fees retrospectively.
Each firm has their own policy on retrospective payments and not all of them will be prepared to do this; however they may still do so for your LPC fees if that’s when you manage to get your contract.
Law schools and university law departments offer a number of scholarships, grants and bursaries of varying amounts to at least contribute to the GDL fees.
Many of these scholarships are awarded based on merit. Others are geared towards applicants with specific eligibility criteria, such as international students, or students with a disability.
You can check out GDL provider websites to see the range of scholarships they offer, and don’t forget to keep track of the deadlines for these funding opportunities – in most cases the earlier you apply, the better.
Law Society bursary scheme...
You can try to get a bursary from the Law Society to help you with your costs. They award according to the applicant’s merit and potential to become a solicitor.
These loans are provided by high street banks and exist to pay for work-related learning. You can borrow any sum from £1000 to £15,000.
It’s not always ideal, and it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve tried and tested all other options before choosing to take out one of these loans.
Other funding options…
Many students undertaking the GDL have scraped together the funds through a more than one source, not just one. Some have part-time jobs whilst they study, or else participate in a part-time or distance learning GDL course which enables them to carry on working full time.
There may also be the opportunity to pay for some courses as part of a payment plan.
The University of Law recently introduced the option of a monthly instalment payment plan for a selection of their part-time courses.
A call to your local authority won’t go amiss either. They may consider you eligible for some financial support with your course depending on your case and funds available. Again, don’t leave it too late to find. Early bird and all...