The Canadian government has several programs that can give you money now to help you save for your child’s education after high school using a registered education savings plan (RESP). The key is to know what they are, how to get them and how to keep them growing. Here’s what you need to do:
Get a Social Insurance Number for your child. There is no cost, and no age limit — even a baby can get one. You can apply for one online at www.servicecanada.gc.ca
Get a birth certificate for your child from the provincial or territorial government where your child was born. You need one in order to open an RESP.
Extra help for modest-income families. The federal government also offers the Canada Learning Bond, which helps modest-income families begin saving early for their child’s education by making an initial payment of $500 into a child’s RESP. This is followed by another $100 payment every year for up to 15 years, as long as the family remains eligible to receive these payments. To be eligible, your child must have been born after Dec. 31, 2003, and you must be receiving the National Child Benefit Supplement.
Visit your bank and find out about opening an RESP. RESPs are also available through financial institutions, certified financial planners, or companies that specialize in what are called group plan or scholarship trust RESPs. Shop around!
For more on ways to save for your child’s education, visit canlearn.ca or call 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232).