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Education Funding

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An education is one of the most valuable investments you can make. That's because an education extends beyond just academics. An education is a lifelong process that involves personal, career, and financial success and growth. However, in order to provide you and your children with the best possible future, you need to have the means to pay for it. Post-secondary education is getting more expensive each year.

Peter Howard-Jones

Financing an education is just like financing anything else that may come up in your life - a home, a car, even your future retirement. The sooner you start thinking about how you're going to finance your future education, the better the chances of graduating with little or no debt.

What are Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP's)?

RESP's are education investment plans that help you accumulate money for a child's post-secondary education. Virtually all full-time post-secondary education is eligible for assistance through RESP's. Under these plans, you can contribute up to a maximum of $4,000 each year, and a cumulative total of $42,000 per child. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or anyone else who wants to help fund a child's education may contribute to an RESP. There are many advantages to investing in an RESP:

  • While contributions to the plan are not tax-deductible, any income earned accumulates tax-free until withdrawn; income withdrawn is normally taxed in the beneficiary's hands - a tremendous opportunity to shift taxable income to a lower-income student.
  • No age restriction to transfer to another beneficiary - so if the child decides not to pursue post-secondary education by the age of 21, another child within the same family plan can use the plan to pursue his or her education.
  • If the intended beneficiary does not pursue post-secondary education by the age of 21 and the RESP has existed for 10 years, income earned (to a maximum of $40,000) may be transferred directly in to the contributor's RRSP - if he or she has the available contribution room;
  • No foreign content restrictions - you can invest the entire plan outside Canada to take advantage of the return potential of international markets.

In addition to the above, RESP plans are entitled to the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). This is a grant from the Government of Canada paid directly into a beneficiary's Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). It adds 20 percent to the first $2,000 in contributions made into an RESP on behalf of an eligible beneficiary each year. This means the Grant can be as much as $400 each year per beneficiary and over the years could amount to a total of $7,200.

Also, as an added bonus the CESG can be carried forward up to a maximum of $800.00 per year. You are not allowed to carry forward the annual contribution, however.

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