The supplemental increases --averaging $444 per year-- will be used to help offset the impact of state budget cuts. Almost $100 million was cut from the University of North Carolina system and now students will have to make up the difference.
Officials say the increases are in addition to tuition and fee changes for 2010-2011 that were previously approved by the UNC Board of Governors. As a result, in-state undergraduates will see an average 15.5 percent increase in tuition and required fees for the coming year.
On every UNC campus, at least half of the revenues from the initial tuition increase and 20 percent of revenues from the supplemental increase will be targeted to need-based financial aid.
Tuition hikes at campuses across North Carolina will all be different.
Officials say even as universities have absorbed budget cuts totaling $575 million over the past three years, UNC campuses have attempted to sustain academic quality and to keep tuition as low as practicable. They say on every UNC campus, tuition and fee rates for North Carolinians are either the lowest or next to the lowest among public peer institutions.
Even with the increases approved Tuesday, tuition and fees on every UNC campus will remain in the bottom quarter of its public peers.
"Everyone has to do their part, asking students to do theirs is unfortunately part of the medicine," Civitas Institute Senior Policy Analyst Bob Luebke said.
But others see this as a dangerous precedent, especially considering next year's budget is expected to be even tougher than this year's.
"Once you have a precedent of raising tuition by this amount, I can almost guarantee you there will be proposals to do this or more next year and soon, the costs are spiraling out of control for thousands of families," NC Policy Watch Director Chris Fitzsimon said.
For some, it's already happening.
"You need more money and there's no money to get," NC State senior Sefani Farmer said. "The money's tough right now and you have to find a job and you can't find a job, and now school's going up so it makes it even harder.
The increase will go into effect this fall.