The full board of trustees approved the increase in-state tuition by $2,800 over the next five years, as the school deals with deep budget cuts.
The approval means the average student will have to pay about $800 more next year.
On Wednesday, as a subcommittee of university's board of trustees discussed the proposal, members of the "Strike the Hike" coalition marched to the Carolina Inn to delivere 1,000 postcards signed by UNC students who oppose the hike for the 2012-2013 academic year.
"We are powering up and we are going to fight these tuition hikes," said student Ana Maria Reichenbach.
Despite the protest, the subcommittee approved the hike Wednesday. An advisory task force approved the same proposal Monday.
"We felt like, as usual, the student voice was shut out. We feel like the board of trustees doesn't represent the demographic of the university and in general, doesn't represent us," offered student Eric Bost.
"Either students are going to have to find more financial aid. They're going to find an extra part time job. They're going to have to transfer to a cheaper university, and ultimately, that's just going to decrease low income students access to the university," said student Sean Langberg.
University leaders say they've already cut a lot of services and classes to save money, and they say despite the increase, they still feel like UNC is good value for the money.
Before the increase takes effect, it has to be approved by the UNC system Board of Governors and state lawmakers.