It was reported on Lawyer2B this week that Natwest is withdrawing their Professional Trainee Loan Scheme from all institutions.
You can still apply up until 14 April 2011. For those that apply by this date, loans of up to £25,000 are still available. Any student starting their course in September/October will still have time to get their application in but will need to get it submitted in good time.
Going forward a lack of funding options is worrying, particularly as fees are still increasing:
The news arrived as further hikes in legal course fees were announced by the law school giants, with CoL and BPP revealing LPC charges of £12,500 and £12,900 respectively, and Kaplan Law School revealing a LPC cost of £12,295, as reported by Lawyer2B.com last week.
Yes, the legal profession is over-subscribed, and yes the availability of such loans encouraged more students to sign up (maybe too many) but, funding options need to be available – after all not all firms can offer sponsored training contracts, and some firms only offer training contracts to LPC Graduates. Without access to funding we create a situation where even those (lucky few) with training contracts will not necessarily be able to do the LPC (and the legal profession will be even more inaccessible).
There are definitely tough times ahead.
So, what are the alternatives? The professional and career development loans seem to be the next best thing. However, these are only up to £10,000 which really isn’t enough given that course fees continue to be raised (see above). More information on alternative sources of funding can be found here.