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State University students must pay an immediate $150 tuition increase for the spring semester, trustees of the nation's largest public university system decided Thursday.

Another $150 tuition hike was approved for the fall semester.

Tuition for state residents attending the university system has been frozen at $1,350 a year since 1983 and will now rise $300 to $1,650 annually.

D. Bruce Johnstone, chancellor of the State University of New York, said SUNY campuses will allow students who can't pay the increase to defer their tuition payment for the spring semester and help arrange bank loans.

The first $150 tuition increase will raise $16 million, helping SUNY save $60.9 million required to help balance the state's budget. But classes will be cut at 17 campuses statewide, and a hiring freeze will continue along with other cost-cutting measures, Johnstone said.

In addition to the tuition increase, state tuition assistance will be reduced for all but low-income students. Johnstone called the cut in the Tuition Assistance Plan "utterly ill-advised."

SUNY personnel, including graduate students, also will have one week of their salaries deferred to save about $18 million. One day will be deducted from five pay periods starting in January with the money returned when the person leaves SUNY service.

SUNY officials said that despite these cost savings, one or two campuses will have to lay off personnel. The University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College are not among those facing layoffs, officials said.

UB and Buffalo State are among the majority of campuses that will continue a hiring freeze, reduce overtime, defer equipment purchases -- including delay rehabilitating of laboratories at UB -- and will shut down during holidays to save on energy costs.

The cuts will mean a $211,981 reduction for UB (0.97 percent of its total budget) and a cut of $48,582 at Buffalo State College (0.74 percent). Fredonia State College will lose $25,517 (0.76 percent) and Alfred State Technical College $20,035 (0.97 percent).

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