Education Savings Week was from Nov. 18 to 22, 2019, but B.C. families are being encouraged to plan for their children’s future at any time of the year by opening a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) before time runs out for their children to be eligible.
The Government of B.C. will deposit $1,200 into the RESP for each eligible child, and no additional money is needed from families to receive the funds, which come from the B.C. Training and Educations Savings Grant.
Families can ask their local financial institution if they are one of the 56 official promoters of the grant, and are urged to not be part of the 40 per cent of families who leave this grant unclaimed. There is no charge for opening an RESP.
Almost 80 per cent of job openings in British Columbia over the next decade will require some form of post-secondary education. The grant allows parents and families who may not be able to currently afford to put money aside to start an RESP. Studies indicate that children with RESPs are more likely to pursue higher education.
Students can use the money to pay for many of their education expenses (including books, tools, rent, or transportation) in an apprenticeship program, a trade school, college, or university.
Applications are open to eligible children between six and nine years old, but there are eligibility deadlines:
* Children born in 2010 have until the day before their ninth birthday to apply.
* Children born in 2011 have until their ninth birthday in 2020 to apply.
* Children born in 2012 have until their ninth birthday in 2021 to apply.
* Children born in 2013 have until their ninth birthday in 2022 to apply.
* Children born in 2014 can start applying on their sixth birthday.
The Government of Canada also offers eligible families with modest incomes up to $2,000 for each child’s RESP from the Canada Learning Bond. As well, the Canada Education Savings Grant matches RESP contributions up to a maximum of $7,200 per child.
Terry Brown — a Chilliwack-based financial advisor — is baffled as to why so many parents don’t take advantage of the opportunity. It’s estimated that 75,000 children born in 2007, 2008, and 2009 who are no longer eligible missed out, with some $90 million in free money left on the table.
“I’m running out of new ways to say the same thing: empty RESP accounts are free, and free money is available,” Brown says.
“It’s free money for kids. It takes 15 minutes out of your day to bring in $1,200.”
More information can be found at www.Canada.ca/education-savings.