MA degrees in Pakistan to cost more this year thanks to inflation

Doing a master’s program this term will cost you 59% more in university tuition fees in Pakistan because of inflation.

The prices of common goods and services across the country rose 5.12% in September compared to the same month of 2017, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics reported on Monday.

The overall rate of inflation was slower compared to 5.82% in August, which means prices increased only slightly. However, some items saw a notable increase and among them university and college tuition fees are on top.

The fee for a master’s program increased 59%, which means you will pay an additional Rs11,210 in tuition for a master’s degree in English at the University of Karachi based on last year’s tuition for the evening program, which was Rs19,000 (two years).

Engineering students, too, will pay more because college tuition for an engineering degree rose 41% compared to the levels in September 2017. The steep surge in the cost of education did not show up in overall price increases because education has only a 4% weight in the basket of common goods and services that the PBS uses to track the prices of essential items an average household consumes every day.

Commuting to university and college has also become more expensive compared to last year as bus fares rose 45%. Petrol went up 30.5% and diesel became 38.5% more expensive, according to the PBS data. Since transportation and fuel make up 36.5% of the overall consumer price index (CPI) or basket of common goods and services, any increase in these prices can push the index up.

Even core inflation, which doesn’t include prices of food and energy, rose 8% this September (compared to 5.4% in September 2017).

Besides an increase in international crude oil prices, which makes local oil more expensive, devaluation of the rupee is another reason why prices have gone up recently.

Since November 2017, prices have been on the rise due to the devaluation of the rupee, which depreciated 22% in the same period. Since hitting a peak of Rs130 in July, the rupee has recovered significantly to Rs124 but international experts say the IMF may ask Pakistan to devalue the rupee even further if it seeks a bailout to improve dwindling dollar reserves.

Any further depreciation of the rupee is likely result in higher inflation in the coming months, especially because oil prices are already showing an upward trend. September’s data showed a slight increase in prices, but the inflation rate could reach 7.5% by June, according to a forecast by the State Bank of Pakistan.

To keep inflation under control, the central bank has already raised its policy rate to 8.5% on September 29.



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