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TUCSON, AZ (CBS5/AP) -
Pointing to an improved state budget, improved efficiencies and aggressive cost reductions, the Arizona Board of Regents has approved tuition increases at the state's three public universities.
Students at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona face 3 percent tuition increases, while Northern Arizona University's incoming students will pay 2 percent to 5 percent more.
The board unanimously approved the changes Thursday during a meeting in Tucson.
"It is not an easy decision to raise tuition by any amount," said board chairman Rick Myers. "We want Arizona's students, families and the public to know that we are doing everything we can to operate as efficiently as possible to hold costs down.
"Our universities are among the most efficient in the nation, and as a result we are able to hold the line with minimal tuition increases," Myers said.
Myers also told students living illegally in Arizona that he had directed staff to look at reduced tuition for youths who receive work visas under the Obama administration's deferred deportation program benefiting young immigrants. Under Arizona law, those immigrants do not qualify for in-state tuition.
Under the tuition increases, ASU resident undergraduates would pay up to $9,500, UA would cost roughly $10,400, and new resident undergraduate students at NAU would owe $9,700.
The board said per-student expenditures at the universities have decreased nearly 10 percent from 2008-12, while at the same time, enrollment has increased 17 percent, or 23,000 students - roughly the size of NAU - and per-student funding from state appropriations has decreased by 50 percent.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.