The University of Maryland Board of Regents voted yesterday to increase tuition this semester by about 7 percent for out-of-state undergraduate students at three of the system's campuses to help offset mounting financial problems.

The tuition increase is designed to help make up a shortfall caused by state-ordered cuts in the system's operating budget. The increases would be effective once the General Assembly adopts the state budget this spring.

In the fall, a previously approved tuition increase of an average 4 percent will go into effect for all full-time, in-state undergraduate students. Full-time graduates students also will see increases, ranging from 8 to 12 percent.

The regents rejected a proposal yesterday to increase tuition again in fiscal 1992 to support capital projects. And they agreed to extend the workweek from 35.5 hours to 40, with no increase in pay, for thousands of the system's lowest-paid workers.

The tuition increase for out-of-state students has received Gov. William Donald Schaefer's approval. He had threatened to further reduce the university system's 1992 budget if officials tried to make up gaps through a tuition increase for all students this spring. In November, Schaefer ordered the university system to trim 8.2 percent from its budget to help reduce a large state deficit.

Paul E. Schurick, a spokesman for the governor, said Schaefer supports the Board of Regents' plan.

"Their action today squares up well with the governor's direction," he said. "The governor's motivation continues to be one of encouraging Maryland students to attend Maryland universities. The idea is to keep tuition at in-state universities affordable for students."

Under the new rate schedule for this semester, full-time, out-of-state undergraduate students at the University of Maryland at College Park will pay an additional $219 this semester. In the fall, their tuition will rise from $5,908 to $6,794. There are an estimated 5,430 out-of-state undergraduates at College Park, including 159 from the District and 380 from Virginia.

Out-of-state students at Salisbury State University will pay $113 more this semester, and students at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County will pay $188 more.

In other action, the board rejected a proposal to levy a 2.75 percent increase on students at all institutions in fiscal 1992, about $50 for College Park students, for example, to pay the debt service on $41 million in bonds for three new buildings. A new animal sciences building at College Park, an academic extension center at the Eastern Shore campus and a music/theater building at Frostburg State University are considered high priority projects. But regents thought that using tuition money for debt service would set an unwelcome precedent.

"Students should not be made to pay for academic facilities," said regent Albert N. Whiting. "It should be the responsibility of the state."

Also, over the objection of several employees, the regents agreed to follow the state mandate that all employees go to a 40-hour workweek with no additional pay. The mandate is expected to save the state more than $180 million in overtime and additional employees.

Joan S. McKee, a member of the Women's Forum of the University of Maryland System, said the change, which affects mostly women, will mean added expenses for child care and elder care and will reduce time spent with family.

HOW FEES WOULD AFFECT COST

PROPOSED INCREASES AT U-MD. FOR FULL-TIME NON-RESIDENTS

Campus and Categories...............Proposed Cost

College Park

Tuition.............................$3,173

Fees................................$208

Proposed Surcharge..................$219

Total...............................$3,599

Salisbury State

Tuition.............................$1,718

Fees................................$403

Proposed Surcharge..................$113

Total...............................$2,234

Baltimore County

Tuition.............................$3,088

Fees................................$270

Proposed Surcharge..................$188

Total...............................$3,546

SOURCE: University of Maryland