A $454 million bill to increase funding for financially struggling Illinois colleges and universities has cleared the state Senate.
Lawmakers approved the bill on a near unanimous vote and sent the measure to the House on Thursday.
Democrats who control the Legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner have been unable to agree on a budget since July 1, and higher education institutions have been forced to lay off staff.
Last month, lawmakers used $600 million left over in an education fund to help colleges make it through the summer. The additional money lawmakers are considering would get higher education institutions to 60 percent of what would have been their current year funding levels.
Lawmakers are proposing to get the money by not repaying various state funds they borrowed from.