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Funding your studies
We recognise that for the majority of students, funding can make studying as a postgraduate very challenging and for some simply inaccessible. Many students will have already accumulated significant levels of debt and if you are looking to qualify through the SQE, there are fees attached to the assessments outside of any preparation training.
Here’s some helpful guidance and information on ways to manage funding your studies as well as the different funding options available to you.
Before you seek funding or take out a loan, here are some things you might want to consider:
- Think about how much time you have and how quickly you want to complete your studies: There are ways in which you can spread out the costs through part-time learning and working alongside your studies.
- For SQE students: Work out the total cost of taking the SQE Assessments: There are costs associated with travel, accommodation and unpaid study leave that you need to consider in addition to the assessments and training posts.
- Ability to pay back loans: In any loan agreement, look at the interest rates, the T&Cs and the timeframe for paying the loan back, are they appropriate for you?
- Potential to affect your credit rating: If you take out loans, they can affect your credit rating, that could impact on your ability to borrow and buy financial products in the future.
- Ask your employer: We have had some great examples of student asking their employer to part-fund or fully fund their training. For those of you thinking about the SQE, many firms and in-house departments are developing their paralegal development pathways which include looking internally to upskill staff, developing their next trainee.
Spread out your costs and earn-while-you-learn
With The College of Legal Practice, we offer various part-time courses, lasting between 12 and 40 weeks, allowing you to work whilst studying. If this is the path you’d like to take, look for courses that give you the flexibility to work alongside your studying, with the majority of learning available to you at anytime across the week, and a small amount of live and scheduled learning.
For example, the College record live group sessions, so if for any reason, you can’t attend the session, then you can catch up by watching the recording at a time that suits you. However, be sure you give the right amount of time to your studies per week.
Longer part-time courses also benefit for spreading costs of the course. For example, the College offers 40-week courses for SQE preparation. For these course fees, your second instalment, which equates to nearly half the cost, will not be required until you are halfway through the course.
If you are looking to prepare for SQE, you can just commit to SQE1 and take it step by step, there is no need to pay or commit to SQE2 until you are ready. Remember, you have six years to pass both SQE1 and SQE2.
Another tip is to gain your Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) whilst you are studying, so you are progressing your career prospects and route to qualifying whilst taking your time studying for the SQE. This approach also puts you in a great place for SQE2!
Pay course fees by instalments
Look for courses where you don’t need to pay upfront for the course fees in full. If you study at the College, we ask for a £150 deposit followed by a series of instalments. You can see the fee schedules here.
For SQE students – book your SQE assessments early
If you are looking to limit your travel and accommodation costs for the SQE assessments, we advise you to book your assessments as soon as the booking window opens. Places are given out on a first-come-first-served basis, so if you are looking for your nearest centre, it is worth booking them quickly.
You can set up your SQE account and complete the pre-booking steps well ahead of the booking window opening, so you are ready to book your assessments on the day.
There is however a balance between booking early and the risk that you may incur an SRA admin fee if you then decide to defer or change to another sitting. For SQE1 the cancellation fee is £30 per FLK assessment, and for SQE2 the cancellation fee is £250.
As such, it is always worth applying for your training place in good time, particularly if you are looking to study for a programme eligible for the Master's Loan. Ideally, you would want to have the place and funding confirmed prior to the SQE assessments booking window opening where payment will be required.
Apply for a Master's Loan
A Postgraduate Master’s Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master’s course. Student applying for the College’s LLM in Legal Practice may be eligible for a PG Loan. Whether you are eligible for a loan depends on meeting certain criteria including your nationality and being based in England, Wales or Northern Ireland for your studies.
The total loan from Student Finance England that you can apply for is £11,836 for courses starting in the academic year 2022 to 2023.
The cost of Master's programmes can vary significantly depending on your provider. If you choose to study a LLM in Legal Practice with The College of Legal Practice, this loan will fully cover your LLM course fees and SQE assessment costs.
Government backed Master’s Loan
Seek scholarships and grants
There are a number of scholarships and grants available, particularly for aspiring solicitors, including our very own newly launched SQE scholarship scheme.
This scheme offers funded places for aspiring solicitors. The College of Legal Practice is a member of the scheme offering a small number of fully funded places.
Aspiring Solicitors Foundation offers financial assistance for equipment, workwear and other practical costs for undergraduates and postgraduate students.
Got a question about funding?
Published September 2022.
The information on this page was correct at the time of publishing.