CHICAGO — With Illinois more than $700 million in arrears on aid it owes its public universities, the Senate approved a measure yesterday that would allow the universities to issue short-term debt to manage through the ongoing payment delays.

Under the bill that now heads to the House, the board of trustees of each of the state’s eight public universities could issue bonds or use some other form of debt like a bank loan in anticipation of its payments. The bill limits the issuance to 75% of the total amount of payroll and other expense vouchers submitted to the comptroller’s office but unpaid.

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