BOSTON — University of Massachusetts students will be hit with at least a "slight" tuition and fee increase in the coming school year, UMass President Marty Meehan said Wednesday, but tuition and fees will not be set until July when officials hope to have a better handle on their budget picture.

The administration and finance committee of the UMass Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved tuition hikes for the UMass Medical School, and officials said rates for other campuses would be influenced by conference committee negotiations among six lawmakers on next year's budget. There were more than 74,000 students across the UMass system during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Meehan said university officials are "actively looking" at where tuition is likely to land, and each campus is monitoring its own financial situation.

"There will be a slight tuition increase," he told the committee. "We're going to try to keep it as low as we possibly can but there is no question that given the budget situation, there has to be a tuition increase."

Not raising tuition would "jeopardize the quality" of education the schools can provide, Meehan said.

Trustees last year approved a 5.8 percent increase, costing the average in-state undergraduate $756 more in student charges before financial aid. Like this year, the board waited to set rates until budget negotiations were complete.

The fiscal 2018 spending plans approved by the House and Senate differ by $21 million in their appropriations for UMass. That gap combined with sluggish state revenue growth in fiscal 2017 creates a "significant amount of uncertainty" for the five-campus system, Meehan said.

The UMass system's original budget request for the 2018 fiscal year was $538 million, a $30 million increase over this year. The Senate came close to that number, allocating $534 million, while House budget funds UMass at $513 million.

The proposed Senate appropriation fully funds the state's share of collective bargaining agreements, said Meehan, who told the committee he is meeting regularly with lawmakers to advocate for funding.

The UMass system is projected to end the 2017 fiscal year with a $20.5 million operating budget surplus, though the Boston campus is now on track to run nearly $10 million above its budget, senior vice president for administration and finance Lisa Calise told the committee. UMass Boston's deficit previously had been pegged at around $7 million but increased because enrollment in its Summer 1 session fell below budgeted benchmarks, according to Calise's report.

Meehan said the system has to maintain an overall surplus to avoid negatively affecting its bond rating. He said "sometimes what gets lost" in discussing the system as a whole are the budget cuts at individual campuses, and asked UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy to speak to that issue.

Subbaswamy said UMass Amherst has cut its budget for the past four years — first at the administrative level only and later on the academic side as well -- either to balance the budget or come up with a positive margin.

"There's very limited places where we can cut on the expense side, and revenue, we're doing everything we can subject to the tuition increases that all of you vote on and so forth," he said.

Robert Epstein, the committee's vice chair, urged the university to "be a little more proactive" on setting its tuition and budget, saying he did not believe they needed to wait for the state budget and that he did not know how much more campuses could cut without impacts to quality.

Trustee David Fubini said cuts like those instituted in the past "probably can't be counted on in future years," and that staff reductions can make it harder to generate new revenue.

"We can't play this game forever," he said.

Dr. Michael Collins, the chancellor of UMass Medical School, said one of the ways his campus has been looking to increase revenue is by admitting out-of-state students, which it began doing for the first time last year. The school plans to admit 37 out-state-students this year, he said.

Student charges at the medical school differ based on program and class year. For medical students in the class of 2019 and forward, the committee approved tuition and mandatory fees of $36,678 for Massachusetts residents and $61,478 for out-of-state students. For the same student population, tuition for the academic 2016-2017 academic year was $33,600 for in-state students and $59,400 for out-of-state students.

Collins said tuition for the medical school was set earlier than the other campuses because classes for second, third and fourth year medical students begin in May.

The full Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet next Tuesday afternoon at the UMass Club in Boston, followed by a July 17 meeting at the medical school in Worcester.