Funding the LLM
A Master of Laws (LLM) is the perfect qualification for graduates of any subject looking to jump into the world of law. Whether you want to study out of academic curiosity, or as a stepping stone to your career aspirations, the flexibility of the course provides something for everyone.
The University of Law (ULaw) offers the LLM programme for £9,200 to domestic students and £12,360 for international students, so figuring out how to pay for it will be a major factor for most applicants. What financial assistance is available?
If you have landed a training contract, your firm may well fund the Legal Practice Course (LPC) LLM. This is a combination of a master’s qualification and LPC, and as the latter is the next obligatory step in qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales, it’s in your firm’s interest to help future trainees with the costs.
Having said this – as the LLM is very academic – some employers may prefer the more standard option. This means it’s worth checking with your firm that LPC funding is extended to the LLM version.
The LLM constitutes a master’s degree, meaning that you may be eligible for a postgraduate loan from Student Finance, assuming you have not already borrowed from them for this purpose.
Courses commencing after 1 August 2021 can qualify for an advance of up to £11,570 – requesting the maximum amount would provide domestic students with £2,370 to help towards maintenance costs. A maintenance loan is not included in the way it is for undergraduate qualifications, but the sum you can borrow isn’t means tested (ie. linked to your household income).
Remember that you will pay this back, plus interest, once in employment, and the salary threshold that kick-starts repayments is often lower than that of the loan for your bachelor’s degree.
International students or those with a different residency status (such as being a refugee) should look at Student Finance’s website for updates on entitlement, as they may also meet the criteria to apply for loans.
Another form of monetary assistance is through scholarships and bursaries. This is especially useful for students who can demonstrate circumstances of necessity or merit in their applications, as they’ll take priority.
You can apply to the majority of ULaw’s grants with just one application and an existing offer of a place on one of the LLM courses, but some require their own process or an online assessment.
The full price of the LLM is waived for the following prizes:
Aziz Foundation Scholarship (nine recipients)
Career Changer Scholarships (12 recipients)
Choose Law Scholarship (two/three recipients)
Partial fee reductions can be gained through the following awards:
£3,000 to £5,000 from the Business and Law First Scholarship (10-50 recipients depending on the course’s start date)
£2,000 from the Career Changer Scholarship (350 recipients)
£5,000 from the Charles Russell Speechlys Scholarship (one winner)
£2,000 from the Choose Law Scholarship (two-five runners-up)
£3,000 from the Professional Services Excellence Award (no numbers included)
£1,000 from the Lord Blunkett Widening Access Award (20-100 recipients depending on the course’s start date)
There are also campus-specific grants available for those attending Newcastle, Nottingham, Manchester and Chester.
Students who have already completed a course at ULaw can be entitled to a £1,000 concession via the Academic Master’s Alumni Discount. The process is easy – apply for your place as normal, and once you accept an offer the £250 deposit is automatically deducted and a further £750 will be reduced throughout your payment schedule.
While this is not applicable to the LPC or BPC LLM, the bulk of LLM programmes are covered.
Should your desired course not be included, you may be able to get a £500 deduction through the General Alumni Discount. As above, the deposit will be waived and the outstanding £250 is taken off the fee payments. It’s worth noting that these discounts cannot be used in conjunction.
If you still need a helping hand with your finances after researching the above options, you can always consider a postgraduate bank loan. Individual banks will stipulate their own criteria, but they will definitely consider factors like the course’s quality and duration, alongside your future employability and credit score.
Always read the small print about things like interest rates and repayments. Future Finance, for example, provide loans from £2,000 to £60,000 for law students, with no penalties for early repayment.
While these can help your career move forward, it’s important not to get into financial difficulties in the future, so remember to check out all the details before taking on a loan.