Higher Education Minister, Naledi Pandor, has sought to allay the fears of students who want to apply for funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NFSAS) for next year, saying the application process will soon be opened.

This comes after she announced on Wednesday that she had suspended the application process for 2019 until NSFAS’s 2018 backlog was properly concluded.

Pandor expressed concern over the reliability of the confirmed registration numbers, problems with payments to institutions and the slow pace of processing applications and payments.

She however says IT experts are working on the system to address these issues.

“Applications will open as soon as I’m satisfied that we have a good handle on the matter. I’m also hoping that by early September, mid-September the latest, new applicants can apply. Those who are already beneficiaries don’t need to apply again. On the other hand, we also appeal to the 22 000 students who have not signed the statement of particulars, to please do so, because we have affirmed that they are beneficiaries. However, we are holding back the funds because they haven’t signed the proper forms.”