HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Students at Connecticut State Colleges and Universities will see a hike in tuition and fees for the 2023-24 academic year.

The Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) voted Thursday to increase tuition and fees at Central, Eastern, Western and Southern Connecticut State University.

The systemwide-average increase for in-state undergraduates is $15 per credit or $184 per semester, and an average increase of $17 per credit or $208 per semester for in-state graduate students beginning in the fall of 2023.

Students and staff from state universities and community colleges protested the latest increases, chanting, “Education is a right. That is why we have to fight.”

“Our state has the resources to invest in our students, and raising tuition is not the right answer,” Capital Community College professor Seth Freeman said.

“Today’s tuition and fee adjustment balances the need to maintain affordability at our state universities with the significant fiscal issues we face,” CSCU President Terrence Cheng said. “Our enrollment situation and the resulting financial landscape we face continues to be challenging. But we cannot balance our budget on the backs of our students. Even with this increase, our public colleges and universities remain the most affordable, most accessible, highest quality option for Connecticut students.”

The projected revenue from the tuition and fees increases provides an additional $13.4 million before adjusting for anticipated financial aid, waivers, and bad debt expense, officials with Connecticut State Colleges and Universities said, adding the increases are well below the rate of inflation.

“At most schools, you would have to take say, about 40 or more credits to graduate anyways,” Capital Community College student Dumebi Emenyonu said. “If you multiply 40 by 15, how much is that? That’s going to be a lot of money out of a lot of students’ pockets.”

While the latest tuition increase affects state universities, some students are concerned community colleges could be next.

“There’s a possibility that I have to drop out of school because I don’t have much money to spend, especially during this climate of COVID and others,” Capital Community College student Michael Sawyer said. “It’s hard to really get jobs out here anyways.”

The BOR said it will take consider tuition rates for community colleges at a future date.