The state university system's Board of Regents approved a 3 percent tuition increase Wednesday for most in-state students, bringing a routine close to a budget process that was briefly thrown into chaos by the General Assembly's inability to agree on a spending plan.

Though the university system received $5.3 million in cuts in Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed $2 billion operating budget for 2013, the trims were not deep enough to force a change in the planned tuition increase.

"It's a small enough number that I think the campuses will be able to absorb it without any significant impact to student services or to academic quality," said Chancellor William E. Kirwan of the cut.

System workers will not face furloughs, Kirwan said, though most salaries will remain frozen aside from a 2 percent cost-of-living increase scheduled to begin Jan. 1. The presidents of each campus will decide how to implement the cuts.

The system will also face a $5 million reduction in its reserve fund.

Kirwan had warned that the tuition increases would be in double digits under the "doomsday" budget that would have taken effect if lawmakers had not approved tax increases in a special session this month. He said that 12 percent to 13 percent tuition increases "would wipe out so many of the gains we've made."

This is the third straight year the regents have passed a 3 percent tuition increase, modest compared with the hikes seen in many other states, from New York to California. Kirwan noted that Maryland's in-state tuition has gone from sixth to 25th most expensive in the country over the past half-dozen years.

"When we look at what's happening around the country, we feel very blessed," he said.

At the University of Maryland, College Park, the state's flagship institution, tuition and fees will go from $8,655 in 2012 to $8,908 in 2013.

The one exception to the 3 percent increase is Salisbury University, which will raise in-state tuition 6 percent for a second straight year to bring the university's revenue in line with competitors.

Out-of-state tuition will increase by as much as 5 percent at the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

childs.walker@baltsun.com

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts