Richer law students should subsidise poorer ones with new levy, Dundee law lecturer proposes

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By Polly Botsford on

While Durham law student achieves crowdfunding success for his law degree in ONE MONTH

Debating Chamber, Scottish Parliament Building

A director at Dundee’s law school has proposed a £500 levy for law students north of the border to help support prospective students who can’t afford the fees.

Elizabeth Comerford, who runs the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (the Scottish equivalent of the Legal Practice Course (LPC)), argues that there is a gap between the amount of loan available to students and the current fee levels (around £7-8,000 per year).

Comerford, who is also a senior lecturer, writes in her submission to the Scottish parliament’s justice committee:

“I wonder if it would be beneficial for the Scottish Government to consider making a small charge of approximately £500 per law student per year of study on a means tested basis towards LLB fees to support those prospective students who wish to undertake study but are deterred by cost.”

The committee is undertaking an inquiry into access to professional legal education, barriers to access and steps that could be taken to improve access.

A spokesperson for the Scottish parliament has told the media, however, that there were CURRENLTY no plans to take up the lecturer’s proposals.

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The cost of studying for a degree remains a massive political and social issue south of the border as well. Last month a parliamentary committee completed its own examination of the financial implications of student loans in England.

Some students are resorting to crowdfunding their studies. Last month, Legal Cheek reported that 20-year-old Brighton grad Ebun Azeez has taken to GoFundMe to raise the £32,000 needed to take up her place on Oxford’s prestigious BCL course.

And it has just emerged that another such student has successfully crowdfunded the £27,000 he needs for his fees.

Raphael Chinwuko, an international student from Nigeria who was in his second year at top-ranking Durham University until his funding ran out and he had to suspend his studies, has raised the £27,462 he needed to avoid deportation and complete his law degree.

Also using GoFundMe, 779 people have now pledged to contribute to his fees since he first announced his campaign as recently as the end of May. Chinwuko had a funding deadline of 21 July, when his visa was to expire.

Chinwuko said of his success: “My story is a true testimony of God’s love and grace, and I really hope it’s a SOURCE OF INSPIRATION to anyone else going through tough times… Thanks again guys ❤️❤️really! I put every one of you in my prayers and I have no doubt that God will bless you all! Now I can focus on studying for and acing my exams!”

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