As 2016 winds to a close, university leaders across the state are growing less optimistic that Illinois leaders will come to a compromise on funding for the rest of the fiscal year.
SIU President Randy Dunn says tuition and fee dollars will help the system get through the spring semester - but he says prospective students are wondering what the future holds as they decide where to go next year.
"SIU is not closing its doors. We're going to continue to be here. If we admit a student to a program, we must teach out that program. So nobody's going to have a major stolen away from them, but that's a pretty tough marketing sell. You've got to just keep pounding that message over and over in order to maintain the enrollment."
A stop-gap measure helped universities and other agencies get through the first six months of FY '17, but Dunn says universities are back in the same place they were a year ago - wondering how long they'd have to go without state support.
The state runs out of spending authority on December 31. Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders have so far been unable to reach a compromise for the second half of the fiscal year.