Feb 09, 2018

Written By Maudie Powell-Tuck, All About Law

Five Things You Need to Know About Law Tuition Fees

Feb 09, 2018

Written By Maudie Powell-Tuck, All About Law

We’re not going to beat about the bush: university is expensive. However, it isn’t unaffordable and there’s plenty of financial help out there if you know where to look. So before tuition fees puts you off studying a law degree, here are five pointers to consider. 

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1. You don't need to pay your fees upfront...

You don’t have to fork out cash for every lecture you attend. If you’re eligible for government funding, then you can get a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of your course and a maintenance loan to help out with living expenses. That means you don’t have to pay a penny towards your tuition fees whilst you are at university. To find out more about this, visit Student Finance England.

There are also a number of other funding options in the form of maintenance grants, bursaries, scholarships, and fee waivers. Individual universities will have different scholarships and funding available, so check with your preferred universities. There’s plenty of ways to assuage some of the financial burden of university, so make sure you do your research!

2. You will have a student debt – but there are no bailiffs involved…

Let’s get it out in the open: university is expensive and, unless you’ve got very generous and rich parents, the likelihood is that you will have some form of student debt when you leave university. Government student loans, however, are different from a standard loan. For starters, you will only start repaying the loan in the April after graduation. Better still, you’ll only start repaying the loan if you are earning over £21,000.

The repayment gets deducted from your earnings, sort of like National Insurance. Really, it’s kind of like a 9% tax. If you go 30 years without repaying the debt, then it is cancelled. That means no bailiffs and no debt collectors knocking down your door. As loans go, it’s a pretty nice one.

3. Paying interest on your student loan...

The loan may be nice, but you will have to pay interest on it. With the rise in tuition fees, you’ll likely be paying back your student debt over a longer period. Unfortunately, this means that the size of your debt will increase as interest is added. Whilst studying, you’ll be charged RPI inflation plus 3% on the balance. After graduation, the interest rate will be set at the rate of inflation.

4. Don’t choose your undergraduate degree solely based on price...

It’s tempting to opt for the university offering the cheapest tuition fee – after all, the cheaper, the better right? But what you really have to look for is value for money. A university might be charging the full £9,000 a year, but if they have got a great reputation amongst legal employers, have a superb careers service and are recognised for excellent teaching, then it will be better value than a £7,500 a year course which is less well-respected. Particularly if that extra £3,500 spent means a higher chance of securing a legal job after graduation…

5. University isn’t the only option…

Money shouldn’t be the sole reason why you decide not to study a law degree, but there are options you might want to check out if you decide university isn’t for you. At the moment, going to university is the most direct route if you want to become a barrister or solicitor, but if you want to pursue other careers within the legal profession then the CILEx route or an apprenticeship might be worth considering. We’ve got whole sections dedicated to both on this website, so take a look!  

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