The Minnesota State system of colleges and universities will freeze tuition for most undergraduates next school year, but students could still face increases for parking, housing or fees tied to specific programs.

Minnesota lawmakers required leaders to freeze tuition for most undergraduate students when they gave the system an additional $293 million to spend over two years. But, the legislation also included an exception that allows schools to increase rates for some programs "where costs for course or program delivery have increased due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the college or university."

Five types of programs met those requirements. For example, students taking some construction management courses at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, will pay an extra $2 per credit, while people taking a computer network administration class at Pine Technical and Community College will pay an extra $44.50 per credit.

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Facilities Bill Maki told trustees during a meeting Tuesday that they attempted to be "pretty surgical" in their decisions, keeping a "very high threshold" for deciding when programs could be granted an exception. He said there are hundreds of differential rates across the system's 33 schools.

The tuition and fee rates were included in a $2.4 billion budget proposal that also requires many of the system's schools to make cuts to balance their budgets. Many schools have offered buyouts to employees and are re-evaluating their programs.

Some college presidents told trustees they are trying to find a delicate balance as they face demands to keep costs under control, meet students' educational needs and navigate capacity challenges in some programs.

"We really have to talk about our values and those areas that our communities need us to be training and educating students the most," said Carrie Brimhall, president of Minnesota State Community and Technical College. "These are tough conversations because we'd like to continue to be able to do everything."

Some trustees asked if the exceptions could be applied more liberally, a move that others cautioned against because they didn't want to strain their relationship with state lawmakers who making crucial funding decisions.

"I'm highly conflicted," said Trustee Jim Grabowska, adding that they couldn't "kick this can down the road."

Two schools that faced significant enrollment declines in the past decade — St. Cloud State University and Bemidji State University — will each receive $2 million loans from the system office. St. Cloud State announced earlier this year that it will cut about 90 programs and 54 faculty.

Chancellor Scott Olson said system leaders are talking with trustees about how they might detect schools' financial challenges earlier in the future.

The Minnesota State system serves about 300,000 students. System leaders anticipate that full-time undergraduate students attending a two-year college will pay an average of about $6,000 in tuition and fees, while students attending a four-year university will pay an average of about $10,000.

Graduate students were not included in the tuition freeze legislation and could see increases up to 4%, depending on the program.

Lawmakers required the tuition freeze after raising concerns about rising college costs and enrollment declines at some colleges and universities in the state. They don't have the same oversight of the University of Minnesota, whose regents voted last week to approve the largest tuition hike in more than a decade.

Some students will receive aid through a new program launching this upcoming school year. The North Star Promise program covers tuition and fees for Minnesota residents who attend a public school in the state, if their families make less than $80,000 per year.