Students outraged as NatWest cancels vital post-grad loan

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  • Having taken out a Natwest loan to fund my GDL I know how difficult it can be to find alternative funding for law school.

    Self-funding law school is incredibly difficult for students from low income families, such as myself. If it were not for the Career Development Loan I would have had to give up on pursuing a legal career. It saddens me to think that other's from a similar background simply wont have the opportunity to study the GDL or LPC becuase of this.

    There will be a lot of bright and highly capable students who suddenly find themselves completely unable to access a legal career.

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  • As an A-Level student who was seeking to do the GDL after a History degree, this has seriously made me re-consider my career choice as a solicitor. Firm sponsored GDL/LPC's are rare and this kind of loan would ahve helped immensely.

    I'm now considering whether to go the very long route and do an 18 month GDL instead, where the course fees are lower and try and find work full time. I have not even embarked on a dgree yet, but newws such as this has really eaten into my aspirations.

    This will certainly widen the gap between rich and poor. It's quit obvious who can afford these high fees and who will need the funding, which we now hear is being cut.

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  • There are too many people studying for the LPC. Many do not have the right skills to succeed in a legal career . Perhaps Natwest have realised that anyone of any ability can study for the course with little prospect of a legal career and therefore poorer chances of repyaing. In my humble opinion, it is a sound commerical decision.

    Many firms be it the large commerical ones to the smaller ones offer some assistance with fees. This ranges from payment of fees and a grant, to a loan from your sponsoring firm to be either repaid or cleared after qualification. Those who have all the skills, academic ability and drive to succeed should not be worried.

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  • Re: Anonymous post above, whilst I agree with your point regarding there being too few training contracts compared to LPC graduates, I utterly disagree that 'those who have the skills, academic ability and drive to succeed should not be worried'.

    I am due to begin the LPC in 2011. I have a Training Contract with a large commercial law firm in London. They will pay my course fees and give me a sizeable grant .

    That said, the grant will not cover cost of rent for 12 months in London, not metion amenities. I will commit all of my savings to the LPC and will have a part time job whilst studying. Even with that funding, I was reliant on borrowing a sum of money from the Natwest scheme.

    I appreciate that Natwest may not wish to lend to students without a TC (harsh I know, but money is tight and there is no guarantee of securing a TC by the end of the LPC). However, why have they cut the funding for students with a TC? It was a loan which attacted a huge number of future lawyers to their bank and with students with training contracts they had at least two years of guaranteed re-payments during their training contract. Abandoning the loan scheme completely and losing those future clients does not make a huge amout of commercial sense.

    It's a decision which further enhances the view of law as a career only for those lucky enough to have financial help from their parents. Furthermore, it leaves students who wished to train with firms who do not offer grants/ course fees, etc (ie, High Street, Human Rights, Criminal, Family, etc) in a real pickle.

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  • I was refused an RBS law student loan on the grounds I did not have a TC when I started my GDL. But the £5,000 offered for students taking the GDL and £10,000 for the LPC would not have been enough anyway.

    I got a partial scholarship, took out an RBS graduate loan, and worked (a lot more than BPP recommended I should work during a full time GDL and LPC). Funding has always been an issue. But there are ways of doing it.

    But I too disagree with the statement that "those who have all the skills, academic ability and drive to succeed should not be worried." I was good enough to get a BPP scholarship, a Distinction on my LPC..etc - but struggled with finance the whole way through.

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  • As an LLB student, this was really very troubling to me. I don't want to work in the City, and not many regional firms can afford to sponsor LPC's, let alone TC's. As a result I'll probably have to delay my LPC by a few years and self-fund as much as possible with a Career Development Loan supplementing. This clearly isn't an ideal situation; I'm from a low-income family and Mum and Dad can't afford to fund me at all.

    The loans offered by the banks were a lifeline to students like me - as a result firms are likely to lose out on talented students and diversity is likely to reduce dramatically too. In the face of a recession, with funding opportunities scarce, young would-be-lawyers will be forced out of the profession.

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  • Natworst are a bunch of idiots. They would not give me a loan to do the GDL / LPC as I didn't have a Bachelors degree. I must hasten to add that I do have a Masters degree (from a top 10 uni) as well as 18 years work experience. Needless to say, as they were acting like jobsworths and couldn't comprehend that post-graduate study is at a higher level than undergrad study, I closed my account down with them.

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  • The sad truth is that in this day and age many LPC students will not get a training contract.

    There are far too many LPC students.

    Why should Natwest lend students money when the chances of getting a job are low?

    At the end of the day Natwest has realised that the chances of the loan being repaid are low because there are insufficient jobs.

    Those of you that wish to take the risk and self-fund, save up and pay for it yourself!

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  • All this talk about too many LPC students and too few training contracts really annoy me. Yes that may be the reality but why should it be a stumbling block? Why not say there are no jobs so kids, dont bother to go to university, too many graduates too little jobs?

    We live in such a negative society, too many women not enough men so dont aspire too marry?

    What natwest should have done is to set the criteria for being granted a loan higher, ie for students who have 2.1, that gives students a reason to work harder knowing that they have to meet certain educational commitments to go all the way.

    Besides they may be too many LPC students but how many of them are credible? I firmly believe that if you work hard, have good grades, a sound academic record and a good personality (its not only about education) you have a very good chance of getting a training contract.

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  • They have also withdrawn it for medics! People are talking about job prospects??? As medic, I can't get much more employable. Absolute joke.

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  • Being in third year at university and having put down a deposit on a flat for next year - given that I was going to be doing the GDL - Natwest have now pulled the plug on its funding. There are no other sources of funding whatsoever. What are prospective students supposed to do? Outrageous decision.

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  • Given that there are 10 people finishing the LPC for every 4 traineeships being made available, this is only a sensible move by the banks.

    Put simply: banks should not lend money to people who do not stand a good chance of paying it back in a timely fashion. Someone who finishes the LPC without getting a trainee contract (i.e., 60% of people who passed the LPC last year) is not likely to be able to pay back the money lent to them in good time.

    If people want to complain, I would say that the first place they should send their complaints to should be the law schools who have been increasing their fees by 10% every year for the past few years. Increases in fees with no possible justification given the economic circumstances.

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  • I agree with their decision, although I think they should allow the loan for people who actually have a T/C.

    In any event the law schools and the people applying are also to blame. People should not undertake the course if they will not be able to get a T/C. Its the same advice for the BPTC and Pupillage. Applicants should seriously look at themselves before considering it as a career.

    Law schools should also lower the excessive costs.

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  • About time the banks withdrew these large loans from the public.

    The problem with society is that everyone wants to be the lawyer, the banker, the doctor, the office worker. Well the reality this is not possible so GET USED TO IT. Simple economics: too much demand (too many people wanting to be lawyers) too little supply (little number of traineeships available)

    The fact is that the banks should have realised a long time ago that there are no jobs left in the legal sector and that the legal bubble has burst. Too many stupid people have bought the idea that law is a secure job sector with high incomes to be made. That is a lie. Everyday, lawyers are being made redundant, cuts being made to legal aid and legal fees going up, making it impossible for clients to even bother seeing a lawyer.

    The legal sector is no longer a niche, but a burst bubble. So many LPC graduates coming out with no actual job offer in law, and the banks realising that their money is not being paid back. People studying law should realise there are no jobs left, but just too much competition. Just too much for this day and age.

    Law students should stop moaning and realise that in this economy, it is not feasible for others to pay for their dreams and ambitions. You want to study the LPC, then raise the money the old fashioned way-by getting a job and saving up.

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