RESP's been around for a long time, and in 1998 the Federal Government provided a significant incentive for Canadians to save for their children's education. The popularity of RESP's has since increased significantly due to the matching grant as well as other changes that made them more attractive.
There are two types of RESP plans as follows:
- Individual RESP - an individual plan can only have one beneficiary. Upon the birth of the first child in a family only an individual RESP can be opened. If more children are born in the future the individual plan can be switched to a family RESP, but this is not necessary. However family RESP's offer more flexibility.
- Family RESP - a family RESP includes 2 or more children as beneficiaries of the plan and additional children can be added in the future. The money in the plan can be used for the benefit of any of the beneficiaries subject to certain restrictions.
RESP's have these features:
- The maximum amount of grant a beneficiary can receive is $7200 prior to the end of the year they turn 17
- A 20% grant on the first $2500 contributed per year is paid into the plan
- There are additional grants available for lower income Canadians plus the Canada Learning Bond
- There are a wide variety of investments that you can own in an RESP similar to what can be owned in an RRSP
- To be eligible to withdraw money from an RESP the beneficiary must be enrolled in a post secondary institution full or part time. These include Universities, Community Colleges, Vocational and Technical colleges in Canada and many universities outside of Canada.
- If the beneficiary does not go on to post secondary education and the plan has been opened for at least 10 years there is a way to get your contributions and growth out of the plan. The grant is returned to the federal government (only the original amount of the grant).
Contact us for more information about RESP's to save for your children or grandchildren's education.