GDL Funding & The Extra Costs Involved

GDL Funding & The Extra Costs Involved

funding the conversion course

Paying for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) can be very expensive. But it’s a necessary step if you want to become a solicitor or barrister without an undergraduate LLB degree.

Find out the ways you can fund the course. 

There are several funding options open to you which we will go through now. Some mean you don’t have to pay a penny, others mean you have to pay the full fees plus interest.

The fees of the GDL depend on the institution you’re going to study at. If you want to know about some of the course costs, go here.

Funding for GDL – traditional choices

Get a training contract

Getting everything paid for you! This would be nice wouldn’t it? Unfortunately it’s one of the hardest GDL funding options. For this you will need a training contract already and the firm you have the training contract with will need to agree to pay the GDL fees. Some pay it all, some pay half and some pay none. Smaller firms don’t always have the resources to pay GDL costs and may only recruit those who have already done the GDL and LPC. Most big London firms will pay for the GDL.

If you have got a training contract already, and aren’t going to have your GDL paid for it’s not the end of the world. You should be earning a good amount of money as a trainee solicitor so will be able to quickly pay the loan back.

A career development loan

A career development loan is a special loan which you only need to pay back once your course is finished. This means you don’t get charged interest while you’re on the course. However as soon as your course ends you need to start paying back the money to the bank.

This is fine if you already have a training contract and employment lined up at the end of you course, but if you don’t then it could result in quite a lot of debt. If you’re doing the Legal Practice Course too it could mean you require yet another loan too.

However there is a chance you could get a training contract after the GDL and your firm could pay for the LPC. You should carefully weigh up your chances of obtaining a training contract or employment before taking out a loan. You can borrow any amount between £300 and £10,000. All mainstream banks should offer the loan.

Funding the law conversion course – some alternative options

Do the GDL part time

You can do the GDL part time over two years at pretty much all of the institutions. Why not take advantage of this? You can get a part time job and if you’re lucky enough to be able to live at home you should be able to (at least) break even financially every single month.

If you can get a part time job which is legal based that’s even better! You’re learning, gaining practical experience and maybe earning a bit too. If you can’t get a direct legal job look for career opportunities which will provide you with great skills, like being a team leader at a supermarket. This could be one of the most attractive, and safest options when paying for the Graduate Diploma in Law. You just need to work hard at finding suitable employment.

Get a loan from a family member

This would be a nice safe option if you’re lucky enough to find a family member who would lend you the money. There is less pressure to instantly find employment after your course and they may not even charge you interest!

A scholarship

Although rare and hard to find a scholarship is another option. You should ask the institution you want to study at if they offer a scholarship, and what the criteria are. Some may be based on grades, others may want you to submit a piece of work in order to obtain the scholarship. You can also look into the Law Society Diversity Access Scheme for individuals who have overcome obstacles in order to qualify. You can read about a full list of grants, loans and bursaries on the junior lawyers law society page.

GDL extra costs

Remember you need to do some proper budgeting for the GDL. It’s not just the course fees you need to think about but also the following:

  • Books and accessories
  • Housing / accommodation costs
  • Travel costs
  • If you’re a parent; child care costs
Make sure you have some spare funds left over for emergencies or things you can’t predict. You could lose a book, your laptop could get stolen or you may be required by your course to go on an out of town course visit. So make sure you have some emergency funds!

Have a look at the GDL in more detail.

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