The University of Central Florida’s proposed 15 percent tuition increase for undergraduates was approved Thursday by the Florida Board of Governors.

UCF trustees reluctantly approved tuition increases in May while making it clear that they are concerned about repeated state budget cuts to higher education that leave students “paying more for less.”

The state has cut $144 million from UCF’s budget during the past five years, including $52 million this year. Tuition increases have made up for only a portion of those cuts.

Even with the increases, UCF’s tuition costs will remain among the lowest in the nation. UCF also has been named among the nation’s universities offering the best-value educations by Kiplinger and The Princeton Review, and 49 percent of UCF students graduating last year left with no debt from their time at UCF compared to 33 percent nationally.

Tuition and fees combined for an undergraduate in-state student taking 30 credit hours of courses will increase from $5,584 to $6,247 beginning in the fall.

Trustees and administrators said in May that the impact on students would be severe if the university could not increase tuition and was forced to cut course sections in response to the state cuts. The 2012-13 tuition increase will raise about $20 million to support additional class sections, new faculty hires and need-based financial aid.

UCF already has made significant strides in operating as efficiently as possible. Administrative expenses total 39 percent less per student compared with the State University System average, and the university is saving $4.5 million annually by making campus buildings more energy efficient.

Tuition for graduate students was not on the Board of Governors’ agenda Thursday. At UCF, tuition and fees for an in-state graduate student will increase 4 percent in the fall, bringing the total tuition and fees to $8,816 for a student taking 24 credit hours.