COLUMBIA, S.C. — Some University of South Carolina students have been surprised at rapidly increasing fees.

Computer science major Lawton Mizell is paying $918 this semester in fees after paying just $200 a semester as a freshman two years ago. The College of Engineering and Computing says it had to raise fees to improve technology and equipment. Some classrooms still have chalkboards.

But Mizell said there was no warning and he first figured his tuition bill was a mistake.

“It’s such a large jump. You kind of feel powerless sometimes. They can pretty much put the fee down, and once the fee is approved, that’s it. It’s really hard to go back and change it,” Mizell told The State newspaper ( ).

The rising fees are in part caused by declining funding from the state, said University President Harris Pastides, who thinks raising fees for some courses of study is fairer than overall tuition.

“We’re looking at the true cost of providing an education to an engineering student as well as to a history major, for example, and trying to distribute those costs so you don’t bill everybody … for the extra expenses in certain areas,” Pastides said.

All 16 USC colleges and schools add fees. They are required to explain to trustees how they will spend fee money on faculty salaries, course material or equipment.

But the College of Engineering and Computing fees have taken a particularly significant jump. And some students said it’s not fair to make students pay for improvements that will come after they graduate.

“We’re paying for stuff we won’t be able to use,” said Derwin Graham, a 21-year-old computer information systems major. “Who is going to use this stuff, the class of 2025?”

Information from: The State,

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