SQE examiner making arrangements with SRA to provide ‘financial assistance for a number of candidates’

Kaplan will offer scholarships to cover Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) fees.

Legal Cheek can reveal there are contractual agreements in place between Kaplan, the company in charge of the new super-exam, and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), to establish a fund that will provide financial assistance for “a number of candidates”.

The SRA revealed last summer the cost to sit SQE will be £3,980. This fee is only for the exams and does not include training costs, which vary depending on a candidate’s choice of provider and preparation course.

A spokesperson from Kaplan said:

“There are contractual arrangements in place between the SRA and Kaplan which provide for an ‘access and reinvestment’ fund to be established in due course. This fund will include financial assistance for a number of candidates.”

Whilst details are at an early stage, more information, including amounts and application criteria, can be expected to be announced in due course.

The 2021 Legal Cheek SQE Provider List

The SQE, which comes into force in September, has long been heralded by the SRA as means to open up the solicitor profession. Until now, only some SQE training providers have signalled their intentions to offer scholarships but only to cover their prep course fees. You can find out more information on the SQE providers, including which ones are offering scholarships, on our 2021 SQE Providers List.

The Law Society of England and Wales has a Diversity Access Scheme which it confirmed can provide bursaries for SQE training and assessment. The Scheme has been updated so it applies to both the Legal Practice Course, which will gradually be phased out, and its replacement, the SQE. Legal Cheek understands other organisations will follow with their own scholarship programmes, but none have been confirmed as of yet.

Today’s news comes as Law Society president, I. Stephanie Boyce, urged the government to provide access to funding for those wishing to take the SQE. Boyce issued a statement shortly after the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday which set out the government’s policies and proposed legislative programme for the new parliamentary session.

“The SQE will only achieve greater social mobility if those without access to the necessary finance are no longer disadvantaged,” she said. “In order to level up access to the profession, we urge the government to provide access to funding for those wishing to take the SQE to ensure everybody has the same opportunities and choices available to them.”

The SRA appointed Kaplan to run the super-exam in the summer of 2018 on an eight-year deal.