For in-state undergraduates, who account for about 90 percent of the 119,000 students, the increase will boost full-time tuition by $188 to $6,428 a year and raise the annual technology fee by $10 to $358.
Out-of-state undergraduates, who already pay anywhere from one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half times as much as residents, will see those rates also increase by about 3 percent. Tuition for graduate students will increase by the same proportion.
Board members cast their votes in a teleconference. They had originally planned to set tuition rates at last month's regular meeting, but postponed action pending last week's legislative approval of a state budget that holds funding for the universities at last year's level of about $413 million.
"All things considered, this is an excellent budget," system Chancellor John Cavanaugh advised the board.
State funding for higher education was slashed by nearly 20 percent a year ago, prompting the state system to increase tuition by 7.5 percent.
Gov. Tom Corbett proposed even deeper cuts this year, but agreed to maintain flat funding after leaders of the state-owned universities and the state-supported universities—Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple and Lincoln—promised lawmakers they would hold any 2012-13 tuition increases to less than the inflation rate.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson has said he will recommend a tuition boost of 2.9 percent at the main campus in State College and 1.9 percent at branch campuses when Penn State trustees meet on Friday, the same day University of Pittsburgh trustees are expected to set tuition rates. Temple has frozen its rates for next year and Lincoln approved a 3 percent increase.
The state system comprises the universities at Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester.
Guido Pichini, chairman of the system's board, thanked the governor and Legislature for maintaining state funding.
"To consistently keep tuition increases to a minimum, as PASSHE has, requires both state support as well as tremendous efforts on behalf of the universities to control their costs through what have been extremely challenging fiscal times," Pichini said.
Tuition accounts for more than half of the $1.5 billion the system expects to spend this year, with state aid making up more than a quarter of the total. Still, the system projects a $16 million shortfall, which Cavanaugh said will be offset by spending deferrals at each university.