Where to look for financial support to help you study law

law books

How loans, bursaries and scholarships could help cover the cost

Before you take the plunge into studying law, you’ll need to understand what it’s going to cost and where you can get support with those costs. 

How much it will be - and the financial support you can get for this - will vary depending on whether you’re studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Your chosen course, your individual situation and your background may also make a difference. 

Below, we take a look at the ways in which you can cover the cost of your law course.

Financial support for undergraduates

There are two main outgoings to consider when applying for an undergraduate degree: tuition fees and living (maintenance) expenses.

For most UK undergraduate students, the tuition fees to study a full-time university course will be £9,250 a year. 

That’s the standard price - but your tuition fees might be different depending on your university and/or course. Fees also vary if you’re studying part-time or online, or if you’re an international student. 

As a UK student, you don’t have to dip into your own pocket to pay your tuition fees - at least, not straight away. Instead you can apply for a tuition fee loan that will cover those costs through each year of your study. Usually this student finance loan is available only for your first degree or higher-education qualification.

This loan provides up to £9,250 towards a full-time course fee - or £11,100 if you’re studying an ‘accelerated’ degree (one that’s completed in two years rather than three). The loan provides up to £6,935 if you’re attending a part-time course.

This money doesn’t get paid directly to you - it goes straight to your university to cover your tuition fees throughout the year.

You need to submit an application to get a tuition fee loan; you can usually apply for your first year of funding during the March before you start your course.

As it’s a loan, you do have to pay it back. But you only start repayments once you’ve left university and are earning a certain amount - the gov.uk website has more specific details on this.

Paying for your tuition is one part of the puzzle, but you’re also going to need money for living expenses while you’re studying. If you’re a UK student, you can apply each year for maintenance support to help with the cost of living. 

How much you’ll get here depends on your individual circumstances, as it’s determined on factors such as household income and where you live. 

As an example, if you’re a UK student living outside London (and away from your parents) you could get a loan of up to £9,706 a year. If you’re living in London and away from your parents, it’s up to £12,667. 

Bear in mind that international students are not eligible for this support and neither are those studying an online course.

Loans aren’t the only way to chip away at the costs of university. You may also be eligible for scholarships or bursaries. Of course, the great benefit to these is that they normally do not need to be repaid.

Each award will have its own set of criteria that you’ll need to meet to be eligible; these might be based on factors such as your academic achievements or your background. 

Scholarships and bursaries will vary by university, so it’s worth taking a look at the unis where you’re applying to see what’s available.

At The University of Law you might be eligible for an award if you’re moving into law from another career. The university also has a range of scholarships and bursaries for people from widening participation backgrounds. Among those, the Lord Blunkett Widening Access Awards provide 20 students with £1,000 each.

For those passionate about supporting human rights, The University of Law has launched a scholarship in partnership with Amal Clooney and the Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ). The winner of the scholarship will receive one fully funded place on a postgraduate law degree starting in September 2024. You can find out more on The University of Law website.

There are also many scholarships and bursaries available outside the universities themselves. The Law Society has a wide range of them, including its Diversity Access Scheme which aims to give 10 aspiring solicitors from disadvantaged backgrounds extra support

You can also check Turn2Us, a charity with a database of benefits and grants for higher education students.

Find out more about The University of Law’s own undergraduate fees and the support and funding available to students on its website.

Financial support for postgraduates

When you’re looking at postgraduate study, the costs you need to consider are different. The available financial support is different, too.

The most obvious support for UK postgraduate students is the Postgraduate Master’s Loan. This currently provides up to £11,836 towards your tuition fees and living expenses. 

Unlike at undergraduate level, there are no separate loans for tuition fees and living expenses - the Postgraduate Master’s Loan smooshes the two together. 

There’s a huge variance in the cost of postgrad courses. But, whatever the cost of yours,  you’re almost certain to need more money than just this loan to cover your postgrad year (or years).

One option you might consider is your bank. Graduate loans are offered by most high street banks - these work in a similar way to normal bank loans, but you might get a slightly better interest rate. With a range of banks offering these, a decent comparison site is a good place to start your search.

Specialist lending companies, some of which may work directly with your university, are another option. These might provide useful features such as longer repayment terms than the big banks and the option to make no repayments while you’re in full-time study. 

You’ll also be able to find scholarships and bursaries that are specific to studying law at postgraduate level. 

For example, among the awards available at The University of Law is the Career Changer Scholarship. With this award, those switching to law study from another career could have some - or even all - of their course fees paid for them.

As with undergraduate study, there are plenty of postgrad scholarships and bursaries available outside specific universities. The Aspiring Solicitors Foundation is an organisation which offers part-fund scholarships and provides grants for study resources, including equipment like laptops. The Law Society also grants bursaries to those with no other funding.

A further option is to aim for sponsorship by a law firm. This would mean a firm covering the cost of your study, with your commitment to then work for that sponsor firm for a period of time. 

Find out more about The University of Law’s own postgraduate fees and the support and funding available to students on its website.

Other financial support

Students with disabilities can get extra funding via the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

After a successful application and assessment, undergraduate or postgraduate students could receive up to £25,575 a year in support. 

The funding can cover essentials such as specialist equipment, extra travel arrangements and other disability and accessibility-related support. 

Every student’s situation will differ, so the level and type of funding received can vary. As this is an allowance, it does not need to be paid back. 

Other financial support may also be offered by your university. Many will have hardship funds to help those students most in need to cover their living expenses.

Our partnership with The University of Law

The University of Law

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