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What is the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)?

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So you’ve likely heard about the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) and a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) by now. In addition to the CLB, there’s another way you can easily unlock money from the government for your post-secondary education: the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG), aka up to $7,200 that the Government will contribute to your RESP.

That sounds dreamy! What do I need to apply?

Great question.

  • You need to be a resident of Canada

  • You must have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)

  • You need to have an RESP, have a named beneficiary in it, and a contribution must have been made to it

  • You need to complete the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) application form with the help of the RESP

How does it work though?

Okay, so the CESG is money the Government of Canada matches in your RESP to help pay for (full- or part-time). How does it work though? Each year, the government will provide 20% of your RESP contributions of up to $2,500 via the CESG. Aka the CESG can add a max of $500 (20% of $2,500 contribution) to your RESP each year, or a lifetime max of $7,200.

Middle- and low-income families might be eligible to get an additional amount through the Additional Canada Education Savings Grant (ACESG). This will depend on the adjusted income level of the child’s (usually the parent!)

  • < $50,197 income level = 20% matching for first $500.

  • $50,197 - $100,392 income level = 10% matching for the first $500.

It essentially means up to an extra $100 or $50 a year depending on contributions. If you receive Additional CESG, the lifetime maximum of $7,200 still applies.

Is there a catch?

Nope, just some parameters. The grant is only available until the end of the calendar year that a child turns 17. There’s a few restrictions for children who are 16 or 17 years old as well. If you fall into this camp, before the end of the calendar you turn 15:

  • at least $2,000 must be contributed to (and not withdrawn from) your RESP

  • a minimum annual contribution of at least $100 is made to (and not withdrawn from) your RESP in any four previous years

What are my next steps?

The CESG is a great way to save for post-secondary education, in addition to the CLB and RESP. To unlock the grant, let’s recap your next steps…

  • Ensure you have an RESP

  • Ensure you’ve contributed to your RESP

  • Complete the CESG application form, once accepted, the Government of Canada will deposit the CESG within 65 days of a contribution.

  • Check out the Government of Canada website for more information.

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