On Thursday, Governor Bruce Rauner held private meetings with university presidents, who say their schools are "at the brink of serious operational damage." Illinois' nine public institutions have now gone four months without money amid a budget stalemate.
"We had a very candid conversation about strategies going forward, and possible restitutition of budgets downstream," said University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen. He says that did not include any guarantee the schools will get their money anytime soon.
Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas says he realizes Rauner inherited a fiscal mess and wants to fix it.
"We want to make sure that we don't sacrifice our students, and higher education," he said.
Earlier this year, Rauner proposed cutting higher education by 30-percent. Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn said the governor didn't double down on that.
"The take I had from the meeting is, as all the parties come together to come to a resolution to this, everything's on the table for discussion."
As in -- just how much universities will get from the state, and when, depends on how and when the partisan gridlock is broken.