FILE -- Savings for college tuition
FILE -- Savings for college tuition (Denver Post file photo)

After tuition hikes that have averaged almost 10 percent the past seven years, the University of Colorado Boulder may give students and their families a bit of a break in the 2014-15 school year.

When the school's Board of Regents meets later this week, the governing body is expected to discuss a 3- to 5-percent increase . It is expected to be the lowest tuition increase since a 2.4 percent boost for the 2004-05 school year.

Tuition was increased by 8.7 percent for the current school year.

"This is the direct result of the increased investment by the state to higher education, and we're grateful to the governor and the legislature," university spokesman Ken McConnellogue said.

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In November, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced his proposed budget included an increase of $100 million for higher education operating costs and financial aid — the second consecutive year of increased funding.

At the start of the current legislative session, the College Affordability Act was the first bill run in the Senate. This, officials said, indicated the importance of trying to help families buffeted by price increases.

In addition to the increased funding, Senate Bill 1, which passed last week, limits tuition increases by colleges around the state to no more than 6 percent.

"The state is stepping up," McConnellogue said. "We're greatly encouraged that higher education is becoming a priority."

The funding increases come on the heels of about six years of declines that state officials blamed on the Great Recession.

The continued decreases had some experts predicting that Colorado would be the first state to completely defund higher education.

That trend led schools to find alternative sources for revenues, with virtually all of them choosing to increase tuition.

Colorado State University-Pueblo was the one school in Colorado that didn't go that route and found itself in a financial conundrum this year.

School officials expected a boost in student numbers as a result of the tuition break. But enrollment fell, and the loss of revenue caused CSU officials to lay off some faculty and staff. Last week, the CSU system voted to provide the school with $5 million to help it weather financial difficulties.

On Monday, a CSU university spokesman said the Colorado State Board of Governors will vote later this spring on its 2014-15 tuition rates, with hikes at the Fort Collins campus expected to be 5 percent.

The University of Colorado Board of Regents will meet Wednesday and Thursday at the university's Colorado Springs campus.

Anthony Cotton: 303-954-1292, acotton@denverpost.com or twitter.com/ anthonycottondp

Update: Feb. 18, 2014, 10:00 a.m. This online archive has been corrected to reflect the action the University of Colorado Regents are expected to take on a proposed 3- 5-percent tuition increase. They will discuss the increase this week and vote on it this spring.