Governor Bruce Rauner will give his State of the State address this week, and experts say all eyes and ears will be tuned to any new information about the budget stalemate.
Illinois is in its seventh month without a spending plan, and as the battle of wills continues, SIU President Randy Dunn remains hopeful something will change sooner rather than later.
"I do think we may see something start to break loose and happen for funding. There's clearly concern that is rising among legislators in areas where our state universities are located."
Chicago State University announced earlier this month that it won't be able to make payroll after March first without state money. Dunn says Chicago State isn't the only university in trouble - and he thinks legislation may start to move this spring.
Meanwhile Dunn says the war of words over Illinois' higher education spending isn't helping to resolve the budget crisis - and he'd like to see more compromise.
Dunn says finger-pointing and arguing won't put money into MAP grants, and won't deliver funding for colleges and universities. He says a frank discussion must be had about spending, and ways to move past the current crisis.
"I think there's too much duplication of programs. I think we need to talk about how we can get better shared services and build some efficiencies into the system, I've already mentioned executive compensation as another area that I think everyone's willing to work with our elected officials. But to use this broad brush and say we're all full of cronyism and corruption, that type of thing, doesn't move the conversation forward very much."
Dunn says he believes lawmakers - particularly those who live in districts with a university - are starting to feel the pressure to break the logjam over the state budget.
SIU should have received more than 100-million dollars in state funding by this point in the year. Dunn says they're doing the best they can, but points out they're borrowing from special funds and delaying payments - and all of that has to be paid back at some point.