Although delayed payments from the state are to be expected these days, university officials say the predictability doesn’t make it any easier, the Journals Star reports. Nearly 11 months into this fiscal year, which ends June 30, Illinois’ nine public universities have received about $673.7 million — or about 65 percent — of the $1.2 billion appropriated, said Mike Dropka, spokesman for the comptroller’s office. A surge in tax collections coming into the state for April has allowed Illinois to make substantial payments to a number of vendors, including universities. Without the increase, the plan was to pay only about 55 percent of total appropriations by this time. The increase in revenue puts the state on track to write a full check to universities by December — six months into a new fiscal year — a trend that has forced the schools to cut into their reserves and learn how to do more with less.