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A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is designed to help you save for post-secondary education for a child or grandchild (the beneficiary). It offers flexibility, tax-deferred income and investment growth. Plus, contributions are eligible for government grants.

Below are some commonly asked questions, and our answers, on RESPs.

For more information or to open an RESP, contact your local Meridian branch to set up an appointment. 

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Investment earnings are tax-sheltered (the RESP grows tax-free!) until the student withdraws funds to pay for his/her post-secondary education.

RESPs are flexible: you can choose a new beneficiary if your child does not pursue post-secondary education. 

Young people with education savings are 50% more likely to pursue post-secondary education. 

An RESP is one of the best ways to save for your child's education. The earlier you open one, the more time your money has to grow


  • What do I need to bring to my appointment?
    In order to open an RESP, you'll need to bring the following documents to your appointment: 

    • Your Social Insurance Card
    • Your child's Social Insurance Card
    • Your child's Birth Certificate or Permanent Resident Card 

    If you are not the parent or legal guardian of a child, but would like to open an RESP for them, please call your local Meridian branch for more information on what documents you'll need to bring with you. 
  • What are the benefits of an RESP?
    By opening an RESP and making regular contributions, the beneficiary (your child or grandchild) may qualify for various government grants (free money!) like the Canada Education Savings Grant, the Canada Learning Bond and other provincial grants. You don’t pay tax on any interest income earned within the RESP until it is withdrawn by the student for his/her post-secondary education. At this point, the student will likely be in the lowest possible tax bracket.
  • How much free money is available from grants?
    The amount of free money that you are eligible for from grants will be determined by:

    • How much you contribute
    • When you contribute — if you start contributing early in your beneficiary’s life, the free money that they receive from grants will have more time to grow in terms of interest income
    • Where you live — not all provinces give out additional grants
    • What your family income is 
  • Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)
    The CESG refers to money that the government will put into your RESP on top of your own contributions. The government matches 20% on up to $2,500 of your annual RESP contributions until the beneficiary turns 17. This gives you as much as $500 per year in free money. The lifetime CESG maximum is $7,200 per beneficiary. CESG rules do allow you to carry forward unused contribution room to later years.

    Some lower-income families are eligible for additional CESG top-up from the government.
  • Canada Learning Bond (CLB)
    The CLB provides up to an additional $2000 in grant money per beneficiary over the life of an RESP. To qualify for the CLB, the beneficiary must be born on or after January 1, 2004, and the family’s net income must meet certain requirements. Eligible beneficiaries receive an initial grant of $500 and later grants of $100 in each year that they are eligible. An RESP must be opened to receive the CLB; however, you don’t have to make any contributions to the RESP to receive CLB grant money.
  • Who owns the money in the RESP?
    The funds within the RESP are owned by the subscriber – i.e., the person who opened the plan. An RESP can be opened by an individual or joint subscribers who are spouses.
  • What happens if a beneficiary chooses not to pursue Post-Secondary Education?
    If the beneficiary chooses not to pursue post-secondary education, one of three things must happen:

    1) You change the plan's beneficiary (e.g. to a sibling)*
    2) You transfer funds to another RESP*
    3) You close out the plan completely*

    If you choose #3 you will have to return any government grant money. Since the RESP contributions belong to the subscriber, these can be withdrawn from the RESP without penalty.

    *Some restrictions and/or penalties may apply.

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