Universities flee GDL market as students stay away

Southampton Solent University, and the universities of Sunderland and Wolverhampton have been forced to pull the plug on their Graduate Diploma in Law courses (GDL) after a slump in student numbers.

Sunderland enrolled just three students onto its GDL in the 2009-10 academic year, Southampton Solent took on only eight while Wolverhampton’s figures sat at eleven.

In a statement a spokesperson for Sunderland said: “We did have three students enrolled and we ran the programme [in 2009]. However, given the numbers a rational business decision was taken not to renew the programme for 2010. There are now plans in place to offer both the GDL and LPC [Legal Practice Course] at Sunderland from September 2011 in collaboration with an outside organisation.”

A Southampton Solent spokesperson, meanwhile, explained that the university closed the GDL to new applicants to focus on its redesigned LLB (Hons) and extended ILEX provision.

The news follows University of East London’s decision to cancel its GDL earlier this year, again as a result in a drop in student demand (Lawyer2B.com, February 2011).

The news arrives at a time when funding options for students wishing to take part in the GDL have been extinguished following NatWest bank’s decision to withdraw its Professional Studies Loan, which was the only loan option for GDL students as the Government-subsidised Career Development Loan is not available for conversion courses.