SPRINGFIELD — With at least three bills now in the mix, legislative supporters of higher education funding expressed renewed optimism Tuesday that a short-term budget resolution could be near, possibly by the end of the week.

But the fact that there are so many options could be problematic for cash-strapped colleges and universities, at least one of which could run out of money by May 1.

Illinois higher education has been operating without any state funding since the current fiscal year started on July 1, 2015. That’s caused severe budget problems for colleges and universities, some of which have responded by laying off employees, raising tuition, eliminating or trimming programs and cutting financial aid to students.

Chicago State, the most severely hit, has said it will run out of money around May 1.

On Tuesday, there was action on three bills to aid higher education:

— A House committee approved HB 5045, sponsored by Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, that provides $166.3 million to five public universities: Chicago State, Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois, Northeastern Illinois and Southern Illinois. It would give no money to the University of Illinois or Illinois State, nor would it provide money for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants for low-income students, or for community colleges.

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