The Canada Education Savings Grant is a monetary grant from the Canadian government given to individuals who are saving money for a child's education. When parents, grandparents or other individuals save a specified minimum amount of money in a child's Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), the government contributes additional funds into the child's RESP. The more money that is saved, the more grant money the child gets. The amount of the grant depends on the family's net income, with those earning a lower income receiving more money. This program encourages parents and guardians to save early for a child's tertiary education.
After a child is born, his or her parents can open an RESP account to start saving for his or her education. These accounts can only be opened at a bank or similar Canadian financial institution or with a certified financial planner. The parents will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) for the child, which requires a birth certificate or permanent resident card. Once the account is opened, the financial institution can apply for the Canada Education Savings Grant to be deposited into the child's RESP account when the parents make the minimum contribution.
When the parents save a minimum amount of money in the child's RESP account during a year, the Canadian government contributes a certain sum of money into the RESP account. If the parents save an amount that reaches another contribution threshold, the government contributes more money into the RESP account. The amount the government contributes varies, depending on the family's net income.
All children under 18 can get a Canada Education Savings Grant, as long as they are Canadian residents. Special rules apply, however, for children who have turned 15 and wish to continue receiving the Canada Education Savings Grant. The child's RESP account must hold a certain minimum amount by the end of the year in which the child turns 15. For example, if the child turns 15 in March 2010, the parents must have contributed at least the specified minimum amount into the child's RESP account by 31 December 2010.
When the child graduates from high school, he or she can pay for full-time or part-time studies in tertiary education institutions using the funds from his or her RESP account. If the child does not return to school after graduating, the money remains in the RESP account until 36 years from the date the account was opened in case the child decides to continue education later. If the child does not continue his or her education, the parents receive back the amount they saved. The Canada Education Savings Grant can go toward the education of the child's siblings or be returned to the government.