AS many as 175,000 students are still waiting to receive loans and grants, an investigation revealed today.
Of the record 1,091,653 applications for student finance made by October 4, 916,295 (84%) have been processed, The Student Loans Company (SLC) said in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the BBC.
That leaves 175,358 applications outstanding a week after most courses started.
First years have been worst affected with just 351,773 (72%) of the 487,179 applications dealt with, leaving 135,406 applications outstanding.
The SLC blamed late applications and technical problems.
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But it also said the number of outstanding applications included those which had been cancelled, started online but not submitted for processing, or where more information was needed.
The organisation also said it was waiting to confirm the attendance of tens of thousands of students at university before releasing payments.
The information given to the BBC under the FOI Act said problems with new scanning equipment led to a "slight delay in the processing of documents" in April and that the group then went back to "manual processing of documents".
The company, which runs the student finance system on behalf of the Government and is non profit-making, said the "vast majority of students who applied on time will have received their money after they registered at university".
The SLC told the BBC that this time last year 86% of applications had been processed and approved overall and 78% of first time applications had been dealt with.
It said: "The variance between the applications that have been sent in and those that have been processed is due to a combination of factors, including late applications, of which we are still receiving thousands every day.
"We have now paid 750,000 students who have started their university course. This compares well to the same time last year, when we had paid 743,000 students."
Applications to UK universities are up 60,000 on last year.
There have been numerous complaints about delays in processing applications, with most revolving around problems getting through to advisers.
The SLC has said that some students who have applied to be means-tested will receive "basic funding" - which consists of tuition fees and basic maintenance grants and loans - as they start their course.
The balance of funding, if it is proved that they qualify for it, will follow by late October.