The heads of Penn State, Temple, Pitt and Lincoln are criticizing Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and top House Democrats for holding them "hostage."
The universities' leaders said in a letter Monday their wait for the $675 million subsidy included in October's state budget agreement is inflicting harm.
They say they've lost millions of dollars in investment income and may lose the ability to finance major construction projects. They also warn that a failure to act could cost Pennsylvania nearly $2 billion in federal stimulus money slated for higher education.
Rendell and House Democrats are holding up the schools' money until the Legislature approves a bill legalizing table games at casinos.
They say extra revenue from gambling is necessary to help pay for the schools' subsidy, but Republicans disagree.