Scholarships for international students
It can be very expensive for international students to study law in the UK, which means many international students look to scholarships to fund their education. Generally, these provide financial support in the form of either partial or full funding for the course fees. They can be granted to merit academic excellence, or else to provide support for financial need in very limited cases.
So, how do you get a scholarship? First, find out what your shortlisted course providers have to offer. Most UK law schools and law departments offer scholarships for their international students, but bear in mind scholarship numbers are limited and will differ depending on the provider. Check law school websites and contact their student finance departments to get specific information on what’s on offer for your year of entry.
There are other types of international scholarship. International students are eligible for scholarships offered by charities and non-governmental organisations, Inns of Court Scholarships for the BPTC, or government schemes such as the Chevening Scholarships (the government’s global scholarships programme).
Another option is to apply directly to law firms for sponsorship for the GDL or LPC. It is highly competitive and difficult to secure these, so only top candidates will have a chance. International students will also need to have a valid work permit.
You will have to fill out application forms for a scholarship, and in some cases undergo an interview process (this will definitely be the case if you’re applying for an Inns of Court scholarship for the BPTC).
Before applying for anything, make sure you’re eligible by checking the scholarship criteria. Some scholarships consider applications from home/EU students only, whereas others are aimed specifically at international students. International students are sometimes referred to as overseas, non-EU or non-EEA (non-European Economic Area) students too, so make sure you’re clear on which categories you’ll fit into.
Lastly, remember to apply early: there aren’t enough scholarships for everyone, so research well, know the application deadlines and get ahead of the game.
How much does university cost?
Tuition fees for UK law courses can vary greatly depending on what course you’re studying, with different fees for the LLB, GDL, LPC, BPTC, and the LLM or other master’s courses.
UK university tuition fees are a turbulent topic in the UK; home students can expect to pay up to £9,250 per year for an undergraduate course, with some universities now considering charging even more. Universities will charge international students more than this, with anything from between £9,500 to £30,000 per year.
Most law schools charge the same fees for international students as they do for applicants from the UK for their GDL, LPC and BPTC courses. A GDL can cost over £11,000, the LPC up to £17,000, and the BPTC can cost over £19,000 at some institutions.
The pricier options depend on the provider and location; if you’re keen to study in London, university tuition fees will be at the upper end of the scale. Universities in big northern cities, such as Manchester, Liverpool or Leeds, offer slightly more affordable prices than those in the capital while offering a similar student city experience.
Accommodation costs can vary massively across the UK—anything from around £350 a month to over £2,000 a month for a bedroom in London, to far less in other towns and cities (again, some Northern cities can be more affordable but offer similar advantages to the capital). The UK Border Agency requires you to have “enough money to support yourself and pay for your course—the amount will vary depending on your circumstances”.
Other necessary costs typically include utility bills and internet, travel, food, clothing, study books and social activities costs. When budgeting, remember to factor these in.
Next article: International students: possible routes to qualification