SANDY — The state Board of Regents voted Friday to approve a 4.5 percent statewide increase in tuition, the lowest increase in more than a decade and following the first boost in the higher education budget since 2008.

Assistant commissioner Paul Morris said the increase will fund increased health care and retirement costs, as well as a portion of the 1 percent increase in employee salaries approved by the Legislature. Three-fourths of that salary increase were funded in the state budget, Morris said, with the remaining portion coming from tuition.

The regents also approved tuition increases for six of Utah's eight public colleges and universities. That puts the tuition increase at the University of Utah at 6 percent; Utah State University, 6 percent; Snow College, 7 percent; Southern Utah University, 6.5 percent; Dixie State College, 5.5 percent; and 5 percent at Weber State University.

Those increases, for the 2012-2013 academic year, translate into an additional $351 for resident undergraduate students at the University of Utah, $284 at USU, $188 at WSU, $303 at SUU, $178 at UVU and $176 at Snow.

Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College did not seek tuition increases beyond the statewide 4.5 percent increase. Students will pay an additional $178 at UVU and $119 at SLCC.

Also during the meeting, University of Utah President David Pershing said the university is moving forward with planned improvements to infrastructure. The university received $22 million from the Legislature.

Benjamin Wood