Funding the Graduate LLB
The Graduate LLB is ideal for non-law degree holders who have completed the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at the University of Law (ULaw) and want to convert it into a Qualifying Law Degree (LLB). It’ll give you a second degree recognised by the Solicitors Regulatory Association (SRA) relatively quickly and economically, but it still isn’t cheap. So, how can you finance it?
The Graduate LLB is recognised by the SRA and can be achieved more quickly than ULaw’s Accelerated LLB in place of the GDL. While the latter requires two years of study at £11,100 per annum (or £16,875 for international students), the former can take just three months for under £2,000, on top of the cost for your one-year GDL course.
Even if you’ve managed to secure a training contract, it seems unlikely that employers will extend this to cover the Graduate LLB, because most resources indicate that the GDL and the Legal Practice Course (LPC) are the only remunerated routes.
This course isn’t an essential element to becoming a licensed solicitor in England and Wales, so it will not be considered a critical investment by an organisation. While it’s worth asking if there is any funding available, do not depend on it.
Presumably you have already taken out a student loan for your undergraduate degree, which indicates that Student Finance will not lend yet a further payment for another qualification that’s of an equivalent level.
It could be worth contacting Student Finance to enquire, but it’s doubtful that this route will help aspiring solicitors fund their Graduate LLB.
Scholarships & bursaries
ULaw has a vast range of awards available to students who meet certain criteria in terms of circumstances of necessity or merit. The bulk of ULaw’s grants can be applied for using just one submission and proof of an offer of a place on a course, but others may have a separate process or even an online assessment.
Monetary assistance could come from the Career Changer Scholarship, Choose Law Scholarship, Professional Services Excellence Award or Lord Blunkett Widening Access Award (this one giving £1,000 rather than the full amount), and there are some campus-specific prizes up for grabs too.
The Graduate LLB is only available to students who have completed the GDL at ULaw (and started it within the past six years) or who have finished all of the assessments and are waiting for their final results.
Therefore the Alumni Loyalty Scheme comes into play! Not only is there no deposit required to lock in your place on the programme – giving you a bit more time to find funds – but the fee has been reduced by £500, taking the total from £1,750 to £1,250.
If you do not happen to have £1,250 lying around, there are two approaches when it comes to earning the money yourself. One way is balancing part-time work with your studies over the 12 weeks. This is a reasonable option if you have serious time restraints, but do consider that the taught module demands around 20 hours a week and the independently performed extended essay takes 40 hours a week, according to the summer timetable.
Another option is to elongate the course and establish a less demanding balance between work and learning – roughly 14 hours is expected for the taught class and 28 hours for the essay on the standard semester’s schedule. These elements can be undertaken in any order, at the same time or spread out to a time that suits you, as long as all the work is concluded within six years of starting the GDL. This flexibility could make simultaneous study and work far more achievable.
Finally, another possibility is a postgraduate bank loan. Banks will present their own criteria to you when considering your application, and if you can demonstrate that your employability will be enhanced by the Graduate LLB, then your loan has every chance of being approved.
Of course, pay close attention to the interest rates offered when comparing the true cost of this option against the others, and how this could impact your finances in future.