Making a withdrawal from your RESP

Canada Life - Sep 06, 2023
If your child is getting ready to attend post-secondary school, now’s the time to start thinking about withdrawing money from your Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
A daughter kissing her mom on the cheek

Ready to make a withdrawal from your RESP?

When it comes to taking money out of your RESP, there are some important things you should know to help you get the most from your investment. Here’s an overview of things to consider when making a withdrawal from your RESP savings.

Withdrawal requirements

The money or assets in an RESP account is controlled by the subscriber (the person who set up the plan). Only the subscriber can request payments from the account – and not the beneficiary (the student).

The withdrawal can be used to pay for a range of eligible expenses, and can include things like tuition, textbooks and living expenses. I’m happy to connect with you about all the allowable expenses.

To make a withdrawal, we’ll need to connect. To prepare for the meeting bring with you proof that the student is attending a qualified post-secondary educational program on a full or part-time basis. A qualifying educational program is a:

  • Full-time post-secondary course of study in Canada that lasts at least three weeks in a row, with at least 10 hours of instruction or work each week.
  • Full-time program at a foreign educational institution that lasts at least 13 weeks and is at a post-secondary level
  • Part-time educational program at post-secondary school level that lasts a minimum of three consecutive weeks, and that requires a student to spend not less than 12 hours per month on courses in the program

Qualifying programs may include apprenticeships and programs offered by a college, university, trade school, or other institutions as certified by the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada.

Having proof is a requirement to access the funds.

How much can you withdraw from an RESP?

If the beneficiary is undertaking full-time studies, the maximum Educational Assistance Payment (EAP) withdrawal amount is $5,000 during the first 13 consecutive weeks of enrollment.

After this, you can request withdrawals of any amount with no limit – unless your child takes a break from studies and doesn’t re-enroll within 12 months.

What to do with an RESP if your child doesn't go to college or university

Although many parents want their children to go to college or university, not everyone’s future involves a post-secondary campus.

These days, there are plenty of opportunities available to people who take a different path.

If you discontinue the RESP, grants awarded through the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) and Canada Learning Bond (CLB) will be returned to the federal government, and you’ll have to pay tax on any investment growth on your contributions. Other options include naming another beneficiary or moving the money to a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or registered disability savings plan (RDSP).

Let’s talk

For more information on RESP withdrawal rules and options let’s connect. Also visit the Government of Canada website.