Maryland's state universities announced that in-state undergraduate tuition would rise by 3 percent, the same amount as the past three years.

That means local students at the system's flagship College Park campus will pay $9,161 in tuition and fees next year, up from $8,908 this past year. Out-of-state tuition increases vary by school -- College Park's rose 4 percent, from $27,287 to $28,347.

"That's been very low compared to what's going on around the country," said University System of Maryland spokesman Mike Lurie.

Major cash
2012-2013 in-state tuition 2012-2013 out-of-state tuition 2013-2014 in-state tuition 2013-2014 out-of-state tuition
University of Maryland, College Park $8,908 $27,287 $9,161 $28,347
University of Virginia $12,006 $38,018 $12,458 $39,844
College of William and Mary $13,570 $36,753 $15,464 $38,440
Georgetown University $42,360 $42,360 $44,280 $44,280
George Washington University $45,780 $45,780 $47,342.50 $47,342.50
Sources: University websites

Salisbury University is the only exception, with a 6 percent in-state tuition increase. Lurie attributed the bigger hike to a too-low tuition rate over the past few years.

The string of 3 percent jumps comes after four years of tuition freezes. Beth Akers, a fellow in the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy, called the flat price followed by a steady rise standard for schools that rely on their states for funding.

"What tends to happen with state systems is they get stuck for a few years," Akers said. "Massachusetts had a stretch where I think they went 10 years without an increase."

The cost of attending school across the Potomac at the University of Virginia also got more expensive, with in-state tuition and fees for undergraduates rising 3.8 percent to $12,458 for the new school year. Out-of-state costs rose 4.8 percent to $39,844.

The College of William and Mary, meanwhile, is planning a major tuition hike as it overhauls its tuition system. Incoming Virginia students at the state school will pay $15,464 in tuition and fees this year, a 14 percent increase from 2012. That price will hold steady for the next four years, though, essentially guaranteeing that next year's freshmen won't see a tuition increase if they graduate on time. Current students will see a one-time increase.

William and Mary officials said the pricing structure will allow them to compete better with competitive private schools like Georgetown, where tuition is rising 4.5 percent to $44,280. George Washington University, which also locks in undergraduate tuition for four years, will have newcomers paying $47,342.50, a 3.4 percent increase.

Akers said the increases can shock students and parents, but attending a well-regarded state school can offer more bang for your buck than an elite private institution.

"Part of what determines the price of college education is what students will get out of it afterward," she said. "People get upset when prices at public institutions increase, but research on the subject shows that a college degree is still of immense value."