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How to Find Money for Education - For Adults and Kids

Post secondary education can be expensive, but the good news is that you don't need to pay for it all up front. By doing your homework ahead of time you can plan how best to fund your or your children's college or university education.

Quick links to topics on this page:

Saving for your child’s education        Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) 
Paying for a student’s education       Free Money: Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)
Paying for your education More Free Money: Canada Learning Bond
  RRSP Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)
  Scholarships and Bursaries

In Canada we have many great options for funding student’s education. There are Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) for children, free Government money to fund RESPs, RRSP LifeLong Learning Plans for adults and scholarships and bursaries for students.

Saving for Your Child’s Education - Start Early, Sign Up for RESPs & Government Programs

The earlier you start saving for your child’s education the more money you will have to provide your child with more options. In Canada, our Provincial and Federal Governments strongly support education, and they make it easy to start saving for your child’s education as soon as your child is born.

Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB)

As soon as your child is born, you can apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit. This is free money that the government gives to all parents of children under 18 (you can click here to figure out how much you are suppose to receive). You can use this money in any way you like, but if you are a new parent, a great idea is to put this money aside in a RESP for your child’s education. Most people don’t expect to receive this money, so if you weren’t planning on this money, or if you don’t have any pressing need for it, why not save it for your child’s future?

If you have a child under six years of age, you will also receive $100 per month as part of the Universal Child Care Benefit. Again if you don’t need to pay for child care for your child, than why not consider putting this money into your child’s RESP as well? 

These government programs change periodically, and will gain in July 2016. Ensure that you file your income taxes to take advantage of the most up to date federal and provincial programs.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

Free Money: Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)

If you contribute to an RESP for your child, even more free money is available from the government. To encourage parents to save for their children’s education, the government will match 20% of the money a parent saves in their child’s RESP each year to a maximum of $500 per year for each child. So if a parent puts $600 into their child’s RESP, the government will contribute $120 (the government is matching 20% of $600), and if a parent contributes $2,500 to their child’s RESP, then the government will contribute $500 (again 20% of $2,500). You can do this every year until your child turns 18. This is a great way to get another $500 of your taxes back every year if you happen to have $2,500 to put toward your child’s education. To learn more about the Canada Education Savings Grant, click here.

More Free Money: Canada Learning Bond
 
If your child was born after December 31, 2003 and your family’s net income is less than $35,595, the government will deposit $500 into your child’s RESP. All you have to do is open an RESP for your child and apply for the Canada Learning Bond. Most RESP providers will apply for the grant on your behalf if you ask them to. After your child receives the $500, the government will continue to deposit $100 per year into your child’s RESP for as long as you qualify. If you qualify for this program, take advantage of it. It’s a gift. Click here to learn more about the Canada Learning Bond.

RESP Tips

If you have more than one child, it is usually best to open a family RESP rather than separate RESPs for each of your children. The advantage of a family RESP is that you can save all of your children’s education money in one account, but the government will still separately recognize your children so you still get all of the same bonuses that you would get if your children had individual plans. Family plans have the added advantage of allowing you to allocate different amounts to your children’s educations if one child doesn’t need as much money as another. So if one of your children decides not to pursue post secondary education or only attends a bit of college, you can use most or all of the money in the family RESP for your child that does continue his or her education. Family RESP plans provide great flexibility. To learn more about RESPs, talk to your financial advisor, bank, credit union, or visit this link.

Paying for Your Education

RRSP Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)

As an adult, if you would like to continue your education or train for a new job, the government will allow you to withdraw money from your RRSP to pay for your education. You can also use this money to finance your spouse or common-law partner’s education or training. You or your spouse can take advantage of this program as long as you are going to school full time. You can withdraw up to $10,000 per year to a maximum of $20,000, and they give you 10 years to pay the money back into your RRSP. For all of the details on how the RRSP Lifelong Learning Plan works, click here.

Paying for a Student’s Education

Scholarships and Bursaries

To maximize the money you are saving for your child’s future, encourage your child to get good grades. Good grades can be more important than most people think. They can subsidize your child’s education. Good grades can enable a student to pay for much of his or her education with scholarships and bursaries. Encouraging your child to pursue scholarships and bursaries can save you a lot of money. It is an especially good strategy if you are not able to save very much for your child’s education.

Some people think that only the most exceptionally talented students can get scholarships. This idea is completely false. There are numerous scholarships and bursaries available. Many of these scholarships have specific criteria that make sure that normal kids get the money. In many communities, scholarship money is awarded to deserving high school students by various organizations, business, individuals, and governments. In addition to this, numerous scholarships are also available for college and university students. At times, only a small number of students take the time to apply for many of these scholarships. Many scholarships are much easier to win than most people think. They are a great way to fund an education and save you money.

To get an idea of what kind of scholarships might be available for your child, check out the links below.

You can also discover some insightful tips to help your child get into a great university by clicking here.

Scholarships for High School Students by Province

BC
https://studentaidbc.ca/explore/grants-scholarships

Alberta
http://www.alis.gov.ab.ca/hs/fo/scholarships/scholarships.html

Saskatchewan
http://www.sasknetwork.ca/html/Learners/financialhelp/scholarships.htm

Manitoba
http://www.gov.mb.ca/cyo/our_opportunities/education-training/bursaries-student_loans-scholarships.html

Ontario
https://www.ontario.ca/page/student-loans-grants-scholarships-and-bursaries

In All Provinces
http://www.scholarshipscanada.com/

If you have a great tip or resource that you think would help others and enhance this page, please feel free to tell us about it. We want to make this website as helpful as possible.