Higher education minister Naledi Pandor is confident of a smooth start to the 2019 academic year, thanks to significant improvements in the administration of student funding, she told parliament on Wednesday. Universities have regularly confronted student protests at the start of the academic year in the past, due to registration issues and problems with student allowances. Fielding questions from MPs in the national assembly, Pandor said she was not expecting the usual last-minute rush in funding applications, thanks to improvements at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and a concerted drive to get school leavers to apply for funding in 2018. Pandor placed NSFAS, which got a qualified audit for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, under administration in August. “We are not anticipating the rush between February and April that we have previously had, which gave rise to system failures,” she said.

NSFAS said on Tuesday that it had received 262,658 applications for funding...

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