Under the plan, Delta State University and Mississippi Valley State University would keep tuition flat for the third year. The other six universities would increase charges from 2.5 percent to 5 percent.

Mississippi residents would pay a statewide average of $6,718 for two semesters of full-time tuition and fees, up by $272.

The largest increases would come at the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State, which would both raise tuition and fees 5 percent to nearly $7,500 a year.

The board voted on a two-year tuition plan last year. However, the Mississippi University of Women changed plans and asked for an increase of 2.5 percent after originally planning to keep prices flat next fall. Preliminary approval for the plan was granted in November.

Universities say they need more money to increase faculty salaries, cover operation costs and make up for cuts to state aid. Though appropriations to the university system rose by almost $40 million this year, it still remains more than $55 million short of state appropriations in the 2008 budget year. On a per-student basis, aid shrank even more during the recession. Lawmakers have recommended lower funding for universities next year, although universities assumed they would get more money, said Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds.

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