In the coming school year, freshmen and sophomores on the main campus will pay $15,124, or $712 more per year. At branch campuses, tuition will rise 2.9 percent, bringing the composite tuition increase to 3.8 percent.
Penn State already charges more than any other four-year public university in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Peter Khoury, a leader in student government who will be a senior at Penn State in the fall, said the tuition hikes were modest given "the difficult circumstances that the university was in."
Even so, many students are scrambling to find ways to pay the higher bills.
"We're all facing tough times," Khoury said. "I know students who are working an extra job, maybe even picking up a second job, just to remain at Penn State."
The university also has been cutting costs. In March, trustees agreed to freeze several construction projects, deferring about $138.5 million in expenditures.
Penn State also froze salaries for its roughly 17,780 full-time faculty and staff, and curbed health-care costs.
Spanier said he expected some layoffs, but has not said how many.
Penn State is one of four state-related universities in Pennsylvania, independent institutions that depend heavily on state funding. The others are Temple University, Lincoln University, and the University of Pittsburgh.
All four have struggled under Gov. Corbett's first budget, which cut their collective subsidy 19 percent, down from an initial proposal of 50 percent reduction to help close a $4 billion state budget gap.
Temple recently announced that its in-state students would pay 9.9 percent more.
Pitt boosted tuition 8.5 percent on its main campus, and 4 percent on regional campuses and for out-of-state students.
Lincoln has not announced hikes.
Tuition also will rise, 7.5 percent, in the fall at the 14 colleges in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which includes West Chester, Cheyney, and Millersville Universities. Funding for those state schools was reduced 18 percent.
Across the region and country, other universities have also bumped up tuition and trimmed costs.
On Thursday, Rutgers' board of governors approved tuition hikes of 1.8 percent and 5 percent for in-state and out-of-state students, respectively.
Contact staff writer Miriam Hill
at 215-854-5520, hillmb@phillynews.
com, or @miriamhill on Twitter.
Inquirer staff writer Rita Giordano contributed to this article.