Home Bank accounts
Credit cards
Savings and investments
Home Banking Solutions
Credit Cards
Going Further
Tips and Tools
Wealth Management

Maximize your RESP

Invest in your child's future

Make the most of your savings

Your child has a lot of potential—and so does your RESP. Postsecondary education can be pricy, so make sure you're getting the most out of the options available with your RESP.

A 7-step savings strategy

Young woman sitting on a couch plays with her baby

Time is on your side

Open an RESP account as soon your child is born. Based on your income, the government subsidizes your child's RESP each year through the Canada Learning Bond (CLB), even if you don't contribute a cent to the account. The subsidy can be up to $2,000, so don't miss out!

You'll need to apply for a social insurance number (SIN) for your child. And remember—thanks to compound interest, the sooner you start saving, the more you'll save.

See our RESPs

Choose the right plan

There are three types of education savings plans: the individual plan, the family plan, and the group plan. The individual plan has only one beneficiary.

With the family plan, there can be more than one beneficiary. This is a good idea for families with more than one child, since the funds can be transferred from one beneficiary to another, for example, if one of your children chooses not to pursue their education. It's a single plan that requires the contributor to be related to the children, either by blood or adoption.

The third type, the group RESP, is not available at National Bank.

Twins walking around while eating a lollipop and holding each other’s hand
Twins walking around while eating a lollipop and holding each other’s hand
Twins walking around while eating a lollipop and holding each other’s hand
Young teenager shows a pad to a woman

Contribute small amounts

It can be difficult to find the money to make an RESP contribution once a year. A practical solution is to make smaller payments more frequently, such as every week or month. It's much easier on the budget.

You can set up automatic payments so you don't even have to think about it—that's the magic of systematic savings!

Learn more about systematic savings

Take advantage of federal grants

The Canadian Education Savings Grant (CESG) adds 20% to the amount you contribute, up to an annual limit of $500 and a lifetime limit of $7,200. This amount is paid directly into the beneficiary's RESP.

If you were unable to contribute in a given year and take advantage of the available grants, you can still catch up: unused CESG contribution room can be carried over to subsequent years. The grant, which ends when the beneficiary turns 17, also offers an additional amount to lower income families.

Young woman looking at a pad while holding a pencil in her hand
Young woman looking at a pad while holding a pencil in her hand
Young woman looking at a pad while holding a pencil in her hand
Two little girls look at a phone

Take advantage of provincial grants

A number of provinces offer grants that are paid directly into the beneficiary's RESP. In Quebec, the QESI is a grant equivalent to 10% of the contribution up to an annual amount of $250 (and $3,600 total). In British Columbia, a grant of up to $1,200 is available to families saving for their children's education.

N.B.: If the child chooses not to pursue a postsecondary education, the contributions and any interest earned is returned to the contributor, but any grants received must be repaid.

Meet with an advisor

Ready to open an RESP? An advisor can help you come up with the best strategy to save for your child's education and let you know which grants you're eligible for.

Book an appointment and get expert advice!

Make an appointment
Couple and baby are sitting in front of an advisor
Couple and baby are sitting in front of an advisor
Couple and baby are sitting in front of an advisor
Young graduate smiles

Plan for the future

The beneficiary can access the grants and interest in the RESP when they start their postsecondary studies, but the contribution amount is always returned to the contributor —you! It's up to you whether or not you want to put this money towards your child's education.

You can always transfer the funds into an RRSP so you can grow your investment tax-free. Check out our webpage for more information on RRSPs.

How Your RESP Works
Newsletter icon

Get more information by email

Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest offers and advice to power your ideas.

Little details that matter

Government grants

Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)

  • Maximum amount: $7,200 over the lifetime of the plan for each child born after 1997
  • Beneficiary age limit: 17 years old
  • Grants are equivalent to 20-40% of annual contributions (based on family income), up to a maximum of $500 per year per beneficiary.
  • Unused grants can be carried over at a rate of one per year (up to a total of $1,000 in grants per year).
  • You can only claim one year's worth of unused grants at a time. This means that the maximum annual contribution eligible for grants is $5,000. This contribution will earn you the maximum grant of $500 for the current year and $500 of unused grants from a previous year.

Quebec Education Savings Incentive (QESI)

  • Maximum amount (received as a tax credit): $3,600
  • Beneficiary age limit: 18 years old
  • The basic amount is equivalent to 10% of net annual contributions to the plan, up to $250 per child per year.

Canada Learning Bond (CLB)

  • Maximum amount: $2,000
  • Beneficiary age limit: 15 years old
  • Grant for children from low-income families born after 2004
  • $500 paid in the first year and $100 paid in subsequent years where the family meets income criteria

Other provincial education savings incentives

Certain other provinces, including Saskatchewan and British Columbia, offer additional grants.

Understanding RESPs

Ready to start planning for your family's future?

Talk to an advisor to find out which strategy is right for you.

Make an appointment

Telephone icon
Frequently asked questions icon