Ministers will decide "shortly" on the launch date for the new scheme of individual learning accounts in Scotland.
The successor to the discredited first round of ILAs, which collapsed amid fraud allegations, was to have been available from this summer, but so far ILA Scotland, as it is to be known, has failed to materialise.
Jim Wallace, Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Minister, signalled in a parliamentary answer last week that the Scottish Executive is striking a note of caution. He said a number of factors will be taken into account in deciding on when to launch the scheme, including the readiness of the systems and processes for delivering it.
Ministers hope that the involvement of the Student Awards Agency for Scotland and Learndirect Scotland will provide sufficient safeguards. More than 100 learning organisations have applied to become registered ILA Scotland providers, the majority of which have been approved.