Funding for further studies - a nightmare
Current Student Debt: -£20,000.00 approx
Bank balance for further study: £0.00
Even though there has been recent talk that the legal industry should be more accessible to those who are from less well-off backgrounds, it seems as though if you don't have the money, then it makes it very difficult (if not impossible) for you to pursue this career path.
I don't actually know how I chose to study law. I just know I did. And I'm glad I did as I enjoy helping people make sense of the complex law in this country.
I knew I wanted to be a solicitor after completing a placement year in a law firm in the third year of my degree. So I enrolled on the Legal Practice Course in London, which is the first step to training to be a solicitor after a Law degree.
However, I then began to wonder how I would pay for this - it is expensive at £12,500! I did know that I did not want to give up just at the sight of the bill as this was my ideal profession. I knew I'd have to jump a few hurdles before getting there and this is what kept me going.
So, I made a list of my funding options with the guidance of my big brother;
3. Bank loan
I knew my parents could not afford to help me right now and my savings were non-existent, so they were out of the question.
I contacted a bank who I knew offered loans for professional studies, and in fact were the leaders of providing such loans to aspiring lawyers for many years. However, I reached a dead end as they told me they were going to stop providing this loan from April. I was very annoyed but kept thinking of my goal and this helped me seek further help from my University careers service. I asked for advice about where to try next for funding. They were very helpful as they showed me how to use this bursary database. However, I was not eligible to apply for most of them.
I found out about the Professional Career and Development Loan which is through 2 banks (Co-op or Barclays). The advantage of this scheme is that the Government pays for the interest on the loan while you're studying and for 2 months after your course has finished. I applied for the loan and am still waiting to hear back from them; but of course this means that I'll be even more debt without any job lined up. I again had to remind myself of my end goal...
During this time I half heartedly applied for the Law Society Bursary Scheme. You have to be in grave financial hardship to be eligible and depending on your situation they will pay up to the full amount of your tuition fees. I didn't expect to hear from them at all but I received an email a few weeks later inviting me to an interview! It was so unexpected I had to read it twice to make sure it wasn't a joke or something. I was excited at first but over the next few days I thought about what I would actually say to the panel. Why was I more deserving than say Joe Bloggs over there…?
So now, I'm just waiting to go to this interview and see what happens there. Constantly thinking if all this will be worth it… I really hope it is.
Remember, for support TheSite.org can help: