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What is a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)?
An RESP is an Education Savings Plan registered under Canada’s Income Tax Act, which is established for the purpose of providing financial assistance to a Beneficiary (usually a child) when he or she pursues a post-secondary education. Income on savings within an RESP grows tax-sheltered until the child is ready for a post-secondary education. The earnings are taxed in the hands of the student, who typically pays little to no tax. In addition, RESPs may qualify for various government incentives that help parents, relatives and friends save for a child's post-secondary education. For more information on these incentives, please see question 5. Subscribers and Beneficiaries enrolled in an RESP must have a valid Social Insurance Number. Beneficiaries must be Canadian residents each time a contribution is made to an RESP.

How much can I contribute?
There is no annual limit on the RESP contributions. The lifetime limit is $50,000 per eligible child. Depending on the amount of time before your child begins post-secondary education, you could open a plan for less than $5 per month†. The child/Beneficiary must reside in Canada each time a contribution is made.

What are the Government Education Savings Incentives?

  • Canada Education Savings Grant† (CESG)
    • Basic CESG: The Canadian Government tops up your annual RESP contributions by 20%, up to $500 per year, per eligible child.
    • Additional CESG: Qualifying families may receive up to 40% on the first $500 of annual RESP contributions. Both Basic and Additional CESG have a combined total lifetime maximum of $7,200 per eligible child.
  • Canada Learning Bond† (CLB): For qualifying families who open an RESP, an initial CLB of $500 from the Canadian government is available to help you save for your child’s post-secondary education and will be deposited into the child’s RESP. Subsequent installments of $100 will be available for children for each year of eligibility until age 15.
  • Alberta Centennial Education Savings Plan†* (ACES): Qualifying children born to or adopted by Alberta residents are entitled to a one-time initial grant of $500 to a child’s RESP. Subsequent Grants of $100 may be available to Alberta children at age 8, 11 and 14. A matching contribution of $100 into the RESP is required in the year prior to applying for the Grant.

Canadian grants at a glance

Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)
  • Grant equals 20% of the first $2,500 of your annual contributions
  • Annual maximum of up to $500 per eligible child to age 17, depending on family income
  • Lifetime amount is $7,200, regardless of the total contribution amount

Learn more about the Canada Education Savings Grant 

Canada Learning Bond (CLB)
  • For families with children born in 2004 or later whose parent or guardian is eligible for the National Child Benefit (NCB) Supplement
  • One-time initial contribution of $500 to an eligible child's RESP
  • An additional $100 for each year of eligibility until age 15
  • Up to $2,000 total

Learn more about the Canada Learning Bond 

Alberta Centennial Education Savings Plan (ACES)
  • For any child born to or adopted by residents of Alberta in 2005 or later
  • One-time initial contribution of $500 to an eligible child's RESP
  • Subsequent grants of $100 per eligible child's RESP for children attending school in Alberta at ages 8, 11 and 14
  • Up to $800 total

Learn more about the Alberta Centennial Education Savings Plan 

Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB)

Although the $100 per month Universal Child Care Benefit is not an education grant, it is an excellent source of funds for parents looking to start an RESP for their children.

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