CARBONDALE — Each spring, the leaders of Illinois’ public universities travel to Springfield to advocate for their schools with the legislators crafting the state’s budget.

Under new Gov. J.B. Pritzker, that exercise has taken a more hopeful tone, as Pritzker has pushed for healthy increases to university funding and more Illinois MAP grants for students with demonstrated financial need.

At Southern Illinois University, leaders remain hopeful that Pritzker will also return to funding a decades-old state commitment that has been gradually passed off to universities: educating veterans.

Since 1967, Illinois has committed to covering tuition and mandatory fees at its public colleges, community colleges and universities for all Illinois veterans who return to the state to study after

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