Why are we focussing on living costs loans?

As discussed elsewhere, there is a £8-10,ooo funding gap between the costs of the DPLP and the available government funding (a fees-only loan of £3,400).  Although, this fees loan is now available to all students, which is welcome, even the living costs loan for which we are campaigning will not totally fill this gap, due to the high costs of the DPLP course.  Why are we not campaigning for increased fees loans as well?

In summary, we believe that entry to the legal profession should not, to any extent, be dependent on ability to pay.  There are a number of ways this could be achieved, for instance:

  • Increased fees loans for the DPLP.
  • The legal profession contributing towards students’ costs.
  • Changes to the DPLP to incorporate it in an extended or modified undergraduate degree (as for some Engineering degrees, medicine or – arguably – the BEd teaching degree).

The Law Students’ Council recognises that some or all of the above would be important steps forward.  We have engaged with the Law Society of Scotland over some of these issues and understand we may be invited to provide student representation on some future working groups.  However, any of the changes above are projects for the medium-to-long term.  We have decided to focus on the living costs issue as the Government can do something about this now.  By separating this issue out and avoiding it getting wrapped up in a review which may result in changes in 5-10 years time, we hope to achieve a smaller but very significant move forward in a much shorter timescale.

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