As it stands, the current exams that need to be taken to qualify as a solicitor are unfortunately not covered by the UK government’s postgraduate loans scheme. As a result, it’s unlikely that the SQE and its corresponding training course will come under this scheme either, but you might be able to find other sources of financial relief when it comes to the fees involved.
Instead, the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Legal Practice Course are usually sponsored by the law firm at which the graduate will undertake their training course - this arrangement is likely to carry on with the introduction of SQE at the end of 2021. This is especially the case as many law firms will have come to an agreement with a specific institution with which you’ll undertake the course.
Many firms will also provide a maintenance grant to future trainees who are studying towards their qualifying exams, to go towards living costs and general expenses in the year before they begin their placement. The amount of funding will usually depend on the individual law firm as well as the location - the figure is usually higher with London-based firms.
Scholarships & bursaries
You should also keep an eye out for any scholarships and bursaries that might be linked with the course you’ll take, if you won’t be undertaking it under the auspices of your future employer. The criteria for these can be based on a range of aspects, such as academic merit, socioeconomic background or being a primary caregiver.
SQE course & exam fees
Although the exact fees for each preparation course is yet to be revealed by providers, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has already announced that the entry fee for SQE exams will be lower than the cost of the LPC and GDL courses. The cost of entering both exam series will amount to £3980, although you should bear in mind that added to this will be the cost of the training course, which will depend on the provider.