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Funding your CILEx Courses

Financial support available to CILEx students in the academic year 2013-4

CILEx as a chartered professional body and awarding organisation realises that many of its students face difficulties in funding their legal studies.

Whilst completing your CILEx studies, there are a variety of schemes which may help you to meet the costs of your studies. This area is under review and complex and funding will be dependent on many factors, including age, address, financial and personal circumstances, the qualification you wish to complete and your mode of attendance (full or part-time) and status of your centre.

There is a wide range of information available mainly through the web however it is often piecemeal and fragmented. This article aims to highlight what funding may be available to help you as a CILEx student.

It is important to appreciate that government funding schemes are different in England and Wales, and the position is subject to review and change.  Students should consider the following sources of financial support which are primarily for those studying in the further education sector. There may be other sources of funding and support available on a local or regional basis, including help with child care and travel costs.

Financial support available to CILEx students in the academic year 2013-4

March 2013 saw the introduction of major changes to financial support for students and centres and CILEx will continue to monitor the situation and their implications. 

The government’s rationale for the changes to financial support for students is that individuals who are qualified at Level 3 and above experience benefits including increased wages, compared to those who are not qualified at this level.  The government’s position is that it is fair to ask individuals to make a greater contribution to the costs of their courses.  However the Further Education (FE) loans system means that an individual will only start making a contribution after they have finished their training and are earning more than £21,000 at a repayment rate of 9 % of earnings.

Further Education loans

Students aged 24 and over

Further Education (FE) loans may be available through your college or course provider, depending on its status. These loans are designed to provide support for those aged 24 and over to access advanced Level 3 and higher Level 4 Further Education courses and Apprenticeships. FE loans are similar to the loans available in higher education for tuition fees.  Further Education loans are not means tested and are only available to students undertaking full qualifications.

CILEx Level 3 Certificate and Diploma students may be eligible for financial support from the Student Loans Company.

CILEx Level 6 will not be eligible for financial support from the Student Loans Company.

Students under 24 and those with skills below Level 3

The government will continue to fund courses for younger students (those aged under 24).  This means that colleges or course providers may receive funding to deliver the CILEx Level 3 Certificate and Diploma and Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice and also the paralegal qualifications, depending on their status.

Further information is available for those students between 13-19, or to speak to an advisor call 0800 100 900.

Other government initiatives:

Student support scheme

March 2011 saw the introduction of bursary scheme.  The scheme replaced the education maintenance allowance (EMA).  The scheme is intended to target funding at those most in need.  The bursary scheme applies to  those aged between 16 and 19 towards the costs of full-time education/training.  Students most in need will be eligible to receive a bursary of up to £1200 a year.  Further information is available on the government's website and in their guide to bursary funds.

Access and learner support funds

Help with the costs of staying on in further education and training may also be available through access and learner support funds is usually administered by your local college.  Individual further education colleges set their own eligibility rules; determining their priority groups and maximum amounts they may award. Assistance may be available for travel, books or childcare.  Students should approach their college’s student advice and guidance team.

Care to learn: help with childcare while you learn

If you are a student and a young parent, Care to Learn may help pay for your childcare and related travel costs while you are learning at https://www.gov.uk/care-to-learn/overview

Professional career development loans

Professional career development loans (PCDLs) are available for students who are 18 or over, settled in the UK, have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least the three years prior to the start of their learning programme and intend to work in the UK, the European Union or the European Economic Area when the course finishes.  

Because the Professional and Career Development loan is (PDCL) is led by demand from students, only a learning provider (a CILEx accredited centre) that has been approached by an individual student who wishes to undertake a course with them may apply for inclusion on the PCDL register.  Therefore if you are interested in applying for a PCDL you should discuss this first with your CILEx accredited centre.

The PCDL may help pay for a course, including CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice and Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice, that lasts up to two years, or a three-year course that includes up to one year of work experience. The criterion is that the course leads to employment or enhances job skills. 

If you are considering a PCDL you should visit the National Careers Service website or  call 0800 100 900.

Other sources of help

Support from your employer

In 2012, CILEx completed research which found that support from employers is illustrated in that the majority of respondents received assistance from their employers with their fees, 60% for their CILEx course fees and over 58% for their annual membership fees.

CILEx students in employment should initially ask their employer, particularly if the employer is accredited with Investors in People, to provide financial support for their studies.

CILEX students could also suggest that employers consider other areas of support, including:

Payment for tuition;

Day release and/or study leave;

Coaching and mentoring; and

Providing experience in other areas of work in the business

If you are going to approach your employer and present a case to them to support you in your CILEx studies, it is suggested that you outline the potential benefits to the organisation, which may include:

Opportunities to qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer specialising in a particular area of law with new unitised and nationally recognised legal qualifications;

Flexible, adaptable and cost-effective training which offers progression opportunities;

Qualifications which combine practical experience in the workplace with academic training and developing professional skills to help meet their organisation’s business targets;

Increasing retention of staff; and

Enabling support staff to generate income for the business by converting them into fee-earners when they pass the CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice course and Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice.

Educational charities and trusts

There are various local and national charities and trust funds, which may be able to offer you financial help to support your CILEx studies. They may also make small awards towards other expenses, such as books, travel and childcare, which are not covered by other sources of funding.  You may apply to many educational trusts and see if they can support you and how to qualify may depend on several factors, including where you where born, how old you are, and the particular qualification you wish to study.  

Further information is available from the government's website.

The Prince’s Trust

The Prince’s Trust provides grants for education, training or work for those aged between 14 and 25. Grants are available from £50 to £500 and the CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice qualification may be eligible for a development award.

For further information, you should contact the trust by visiting the Prince's Trust website or calling 0800 842 842.

Information for Students in Wales

Find out more here.

GOWales Graduate Training and Development Fund

GO Wales can offer small to medium-sized businesses in Wales up to £1,500 towards the cost of training graduate staff members. The fund provides an opportunity to identify training that will benefit the business and the individual taking part. GO Wales can fund 50% of the cost of a course up to £1,500.

Requirements:

The business must be small to medium-sized, employing fewer than 250 staff;

The business must be based in Wales;

The funding is only available for graduate staff (the participant must have a degree, HND or equivalent qualification at National Qualifications Framework/Qualifications Credit Framework level 4 or above); and

The funding must provide a clear benefit to the business.

This programme is available until 2014 and students are recommended to contact the fund on 0845 225 60 50 or e-mail info@gowales.co.uk

Visit the GOWales website for further information.

CILEx continues to monitor the funding of CILEx qualifications.

Information updated 12 August 2013.