BPP LAW SCHOOL is to hike its Legal Practice Course (LPC) fees by a whopping 10 per cent despite already being the most expensive postgraduate law school in London.
Students enrolling on the LPC at BPPs Waterloo and Holborn branches from September 2008 will face a hefty bill of 11,550, an increase of 1,050.
This makes it almost 1000 more expensive than Londons second most expensive LPC provider. The City Law School, will charge full-time students 10,600 for the 2008-09 academic year following an increase in fees of just one per cent.
BPP chief executive Peter Crisp defended the increase on the basis that BPP places a huge value on quality teaching.
He continued that BPPs LPC offering is a masters-level programme, unlike that of its main rival, the College of Law (CoL), and added that unlike the CoL, BPP does not enjoy low-tax charitable status.
Crisp said higher fees were essential to funding the schools average of four hours of lectures and 12-14 hours of small group sessions per student each week - more face-to-face contact than is offered by BPPs rivals.
However he did not confirm that LPC students paying the new fees would receive a greater number of face-to-face teaching hours than those that preceded them.
We are reviewing the programme but I wouldnt want to make any specific commitment on hours, he said.
LPCs students joining after 2008-09 will also not necessarily be protected from further fee increases, he said.
Crisp refused to comment on increases in staff salaries, but commented that it is extremely hard to recruit top talent but we feel its an investment that is necessary.
BPP made history last year after being the first publicly owned company to be awarded degree-award winning powers. It is also the course provider to the five-strong City LPC consortium comprising Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith, Lovells, Norton Rose and Slaughter and May. The contract with the consortium, which is expected to last until 2012 is estimated to be worth around 15m.
BPPs rival, the College of Law, meanwhile, has emerged as the cheapest LPC provider in London despite upping its fees by 5 per cent. The college will charge full-time LPC students 10,340 from September 2008.
College of Laws chief executive Nigel Savage said of BPPs fee hike: I cant see how they [BPP] can justify above inflation increases at a time when student debts are spiralling and law firms are worried about a potential economic downturn. Its daylight robbery on the profession.
Our costs are similar and we provide tailoring for both the profession and individual firms. So I cant see how they can charge over 1,000 more than us. One can only assume that theyre delivering a better bottom line for shareholders, added Savage.
Elsewhere, Nottingham at Kaplan Law School the newest LPC provider in London is increasing its fees by 7 per cent from 9,800 to 10,500.
Outside of London the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (OxILP) has bucked the trend by slashing the cost of its LPC by 2 per cent from 9,100 to 8,900. The move followed the takeover of OxILP by Oxford Brookes University, as first reported on Lawyer2B.com last month (6 February).
Nottingham Law School meanwhile is increasing its LPC by 3 per cent from 9,210 to 9,485.