What is an RESP for?
An RESP is a great way to start saving money for your children’s post-secondary education. The money that accumulates in an RESP can be used to cover things such as tuition fees, lodging, school supplies, food and transportation. Similar to a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), the money in an RESP grows tax sheltered until it is withdrawn to cover education-related costs.
Who can open an RESP?
Parents, grandparents, godparents, uncles, aunts, friends... anyone can open an RESP for a child, and a child can be the beneficiary of multiple RESPs.
Who can be named as the beneficiary of an RESP?
You can designate any child you wish to be the beneficiary of an RESP, and you do not have to be related to the child to open an RESP for them.
What is the Maximum Lifetime Contribution Allowed for an RESP?
The maximum lifetime contribution is set at $50,000 per child and there are no annual contribution limits. You can contribute to the plan as your budget allows you to, provided you stay within the lifetime maximum permitted per child.
The federal government has created the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) to encourage parents to invest as early as possible in their children’s post-secondary education. The federal and provincial grants are paid directly into the RESP and grow along with your own contributions. These little extras can provide a big boost to your savings.
The CESG at a glance:
- Annual grant: 20% of annual contributions
- Annual limit: $500
- Lifetime maximum per child: $7,200
What happens if my child doesn’t pursue post-secondary education?
If your child decides not to pursue post-secondary studies, you may:
- Designate a new beneficiary
- Withdraw the money (*government contributions will be returned to the government)
- Transfer the money into your RRSP
- Make a donation to an educational institution