One of the biggest challenges facing many prospective LL.M. students is finding a way to afford the high costs of studying on a postgraduate law course for one or two years. There are, however, many sources of funding that are worth exploring. Some students combine their own financial means (savings, family assistance, etc.) with outside sources of funding. Others have to rely entirely on a combination of grants, loans, and employment.
Grants & scholarships
A good way to begin searching for financial support is by investigating what grants and scholarships are available from governments and private foundations. Grants and scholarships are awards that do not have to be repaid. Merit-based scholarships for LL.M. programs are prestigious and substantial awards given to applicants who can demonstrate an exceptional academic and professional record, and show potential for future success. Some scholarships, such as those offered by the US-based Fulbright Commission, are highly competitive.
There are also many other grants that are offered to a limited range of students - to students of a certain religion, ethnicity, nationality, or academic interest, for example. To see which scholarships you might be eligible for, please consult one of the many publications that provide extensive lists of scholarships and educational grants.
Law school resources
Law schools also frequently offer merit-based scholarships and grants to some of their top LL.M. applicants. It is always a good idea to establish contact with the financial aid offices of law schools (if available). These offices can be valuable resources in the hunt for sources of financing, and they may be able to tell you about some of the more obscure grant and scholarship opportunities out there. Sometimes even a quick browse around a law school website can raise awareness about funding possibilities.
Even after securing some assistance through scholarships and grants, many LL.M. students will still find it necessary to take out a loan to finance their studies and living expenses. There are several banks, private institutions, and online lenders that offer student loans. Some also offer loans to international students. It is important to recognize that the terms, conditions, and rates that apply to these loans will vary. Some loans, such as Stafford Loans in the United States or Career Development Loans in the United Kingdom, can be subsidized by the government if one can demonstrate financial need or eligibility for government assistance.
Some law schools allow LL.M. students to secure part-time work during the program. Check with the schools you're interested to see if this is a possibility, and if there are limits to what you can do and the number of hours you can work. If you are an international student, your ability to work might also depend on your visa and the country's rules.