RESPs are as Canadian as double-doubles and unnecessary apologies. In fact, you can only open an RESP for a child who lives in Canada. But Canadians are worldly people—we like to travel for work, study, and, let’s face it, to take a break from the cold weather . Great news! The RESP is designed to go places, or should we say, to take your child places.

RESP grant money can be used here, there and almost everywhere.

People are often thrilled to hear that RESP money can be put toward a post-secondary education at many more places than just Canadian universities. In fact, the money saved in an RESP can be used for university programs, college programs, apprenticeships, the list goes on. And it can be used for education not just in Canada, but also in the United States, Europe and throughout the world.

What are the qualifying programs that an RESP can be used for?

The Government of Canada website states that all and any grant money they’ve added to your RESP over the years (plus investment income!) can be used for the following:

  • A full-time or part-time postsecondary program in Canada, which lasts for at least three consecutive weeks.
  • A full-time program at an educational institution outside of Canada, which lasts at least three weeks, if it’s a university program, or at least 13 weeks if it’s a program provided by another training institution.

 

It’s best to double-check (while drinking a double-double)

You can  browse through this government list (click on the province and scroll for the institution), or call 1-866-517-5650 to verify that a Canadian educational institution is eligible for the use of RESP grant money (yep, you read that right; we’re talking about the rules for using up the grant money that the government puts into your child’s RESP). Plus, educational institutions that have been approved by a provincial authority count, so even if an institution isn’t on the list, it may still count—call your provincial student loans office to find out.

Basically, virtually all educational institutions that have been accredited as such by the provincial or federal government count. The list includes trade schools, universities, colleges, dance schools, religious institutes, chef schools, and many, many more.

For those who plan on studying outside of Canada, the good news is that there’s no need to verify if the educational institution has been accredited by a Canadian government; it simply has to meet the length requirements stated above.

Bottom line: Encourage your child to go the distance.

And we don’t just mean figuratively. When it comes to decision time at the end of high school, remember that your not-so-little scholar has options. While an RESP grows in Canada, the money from an RESP doesn’t have to stay in Canada. It can follow your loved ones wherever they go, and help to prepare them for whatever career dreams they choose to pursue. Oh and pay for any kind of food they’re craving to fuel late-night study sessions, wherever they are in the world (chocolate-filled crepes in Paris, anyone?).

So start saving in your RESP today, and one day, you’ll see just how far your RESP takes that special child in your life!

Are you wondering if you’ve received all the government grants for the year? Do you have questions about making a withdrawal from your RESP? Get in touch by calling 1-800-461-7100 or chat with us Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 7:00pm ET.

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