Families in British Columbia are encouraged to start planning and saving early for their children’s post-secondary education or training programs. To help, the B.C. Government will contribute $1,200 to eligible children through the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG).
Children may apply for the grant between their 6th birthday and the day before they turn 9. The parent or guardian plus the child must be residents of British Columbia at the time of application and have a valid Social Insurance Number.
Q: How and where do parents or guardians apply?
We now have 56 partners offering the grant, including most major banks and financial institutions.
Parents or guardians can contact a bank or financial institution to fill in a straightforward application. Parents may shop around to find a RESP provider that does not require any contributions to open the RESP. If the child has already been named to a RESP, parents should make sure the RESP provider offers the grant. If not, parents may open another RESP at a participating provider in order to receive the grant.
Also, it’s not just parents who can open an RESP. Other family members or family friends can start an RESP if they have the necessary information to open the account that’s best for the child.
Q: Are there any fees or additional financial contributions needed?
The BCTESG requires no matching or additional contributions, so parents and families who can’t afford to put aside savings at this time can still start an RESP. Even the smallest investment can grow over time and make it that much easier to pursue education after high school.
Q: How can students use the grant? What if a student wants to attend a vocational school – like hair design?
The grant can be used for a wide range of educational programs, including vocational schools, apprenticeships, trade schools, colleges, universities, and other certified institutions. Once the beneficiary is enrolled in full-time or part-time studies at a qualifying post-secondary educational program, the BCTESG is withdrawn from the RESP by the way of Education Assistance Payment. The grant may also be used for full-time education outside of Canada (a program at a foreign educational institution which is at least 13 weeks in duration).
Q: What if a student attends a post-secondary institution but doesn’t graduate? Do they need to return the grant?
No, as long as the Education Assistance Payments were made towards a qualifying post-secondary education or training program, the grants do not need to be repaid.
Q: What about Canadian Forces personnel who are serving internationally with their families? Would their children still be eligible for the grant?
Yes, if the person is posted overseas but is normally a resident of B.C. their child would still be eligible to receive the grant.
Q: Do financial institutions charge families to create an RESP? If so, how much?
Many RESP providers do not charge any fees; however, it depends on the institution and the type of RESP. Parents and families should shop around to see what RESP and institution best fits their needs.
Q: What if a family already has an RESP in place?
If the bank or financial institution used for the RESP also supports the BCTESG, any family can simply fill in a straightforward application to receive the grant. If the bank or financial institution used for the RESP does not support the BCTESG, parents are encouraged to open an additional RESP for their child at a partner institution that offers the grant.
Q: Is the BCTESG taxable?
The BCTESG is not considered as taxable income until it is taken from the RESP in an Educational Assistance Payment for post-secondary education. Once deposited into the RESP, it also grows tax-free. Money paid out of the RESP as an Educational Assistance Payment is taxed based on the income of the student. Since many students have little or no income while they attend post-secondary education, they can usually withdraw the money tax-free.
Q: What is an RESP?
RESPs are special education savings accounts registered with the Government of Canada to help you save for your child’s post-secondary education or training program. The money deposited in it grows tax-free until withdrawn.
RESPs can be left opened for up to 36 years and can be used by beneficiaries to pay for full-time or part-time studies in a qualifying college, university, trade school, or apprenticeship programs.
The Government of Canada’s www.canlearn.ca website has tips and resources that can guide families in choosing the right RESP and the right RESP provider.
There is a lifetime contribution limit of $50,000 per child.
Q: Who can people call if they have questions?
People can call toll free at 1 (888) 276-3624 or TTY 1 (866) 260-7723
The British Columbia Training and Education Savings Program Regulation establishes eligibility criteria for the grant under the Special Accounts Appropriation and Control Act.