Nervousness about college entrance tests for high school students is acute enough as it is, but deadlock over Illinois' budget and questions about whether the state can pay for those exams this year is adding to the anxiety.
State money for years has enabled juniors to take the ACT exam for free. The idea was to help give students from different backgrounds equal opportunities to get higher educations.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the unresolved budget battle in Springfield means the money may not be there this year.
About 60 districts have signed directly with ACT to administer the exam. Without the state funds, some districts may end up paying more than $100,000. Many affluent districts have signed up. Chicago is among the districts that haven't.