Banks offer various packages at reasonable interest rates EDUCATION IS supposedly priceless, but one requirement of studying for a master's in business administration is money. Financing your postgraduate degree might be as difficult as passing the grades, and careful planning is required. Fees for MBA coursesoften total more than $200,000. If you cannot pay that in a lump sum, try to get a loan from a bank. Some banks provide education loan programmes specifically for people who wish to borrow money for tuition. The Bank of East Asia's education loan is available to full-time and part-time students of all recognised universities and tertiary education institutions. The annual percentage rate (APR) for a $200,000 loan is 8.5 per cent if the programme is at a Hong Kong university or college, and 9.5 per cent if it is elsewhere. A student can borrow up to 100 per cent of tuition fees - up to $200,000 or four times their monthly salary, depending on which is lower. AEON Credit Services' study loan lends up to $100,000. The APR for borrowing more than $20,000 with a repayment period of 12 months is 13.3 per cent. Education loans have been a bargain for the past few years, but simple personal loan programmes might be more attractive this year. The Bank of China (Hong Kong) is offering personal loans with an APR of 6.88 per cent for borrowing of more than $200,000. Mortgage or wealth management customers qualify for rates as low as 5.5 per cent. HSBC's APR on personal loans of $200,000 is 11.88 per cent, repayable over 12 months. Hang Seng Bank's personal loans include those for the purpose of further education. Spokeswoman Aries Law said the bank had decided not to separate the loans. 'We don't really need to care about what [customers] use the loan for. The idea is to provide the best rates for them, not to provide different rates for people having different purposes.' Hang Seng Bank offers an APR of 9.49 per cent to customers borrowing more than $200,000. Ms Law said customers who borrowed for further education from the bank would not receive preferential treatment. 'They have to satisfy all requirements, just like any other loan customers. And we don't ask them what they use their loan for.' Another alternative is the government's Non-means Tested Loan Scheme, provided by the Student Financial Assistance Agency. Its APR is usually 2.174 per cent below the prime rate. The APR is currently 4.326 per cent. To be eligible for the scheme, applicants have to be Hong Kong residents who plan to take a government-registered study course. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is the annual tuition fee, and the loan has to be repaid within 10 years. You may also be eligible to apply for the government's Continuing Education Fund. You have to be a Hong Kong resident aged 18 to 60 and have already applied and paid for the courses, which must be approved by the fund. Check www.info.gov.hk/sfaa/cef/course.htm to see if your courses are eligible. You would be reimbursed 80 per cent of the fees, subject to a maximum of $10,000, on successful completion of a reimbursable course. The fees for more than one course might be reimbursed, subject to a maximum of $10,000 per applicant. For more information on loans, call: Bank of East Asia: 2211 1211; AEON Credit Services: 2895 6262; Bank of China (Hong Kong): 28680733; HSBC: 27488080; and Hang Seng Bank: 28220228. For the Non-means Tested Loan Scheme, visit www.info.gov.hk/sfaa/ or call 21506222. The hotline for the Continuing Education Fund is 31422277.