Saving for education

Focus on textbooks, not cheque books

Learn more about:

  • RESP basics
  • Available government grants
  • Educational borrowing
  • Student accounts

According to the Government of Canada, in 2015, full-time students in Canada paid an average of $16,600 a year for post-secondary schooling, including tuition, books, boarding and other costs of student living. That's roughly $66,400 for a four-year program. It's never too early to start putting money aside for a child's education – we can show you how.

What is an RESP? Expand/Collapse

Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) are set up through the Federal Government to help people save for their children's education. Start a college fund by putting money away each year to ensure your child will have money available for post-secondary school.

There are many types of RESPs, including individual, family and group plans that allow an RESP to be set up where one or more children are listed as beneficiaries. It's also important to note that anyone can contribute to an RESP, not just the parents of the child.

While they are not tax deductible like RRSPs, RESPs do offer some tax benefits. Interest earned on an RESP is tax-free, and when your child starts using the money for school, only the accumulated interest is taxable as income.

The earlier you start putting money toward a child's RESP, the more he or she will benefit from the available annual government grants and tax-free interest. In the event that the child listed as the beneficiary does not choose to attend a post-secondary institution, there are other ways to put that money to use.

What government grants are available? Expand/Collapse

Canadian Education Savings Grant (CESG)

One of the biggest incentives to start an RESPs is the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). You can receive a grant of 20% from the government on the first $2,000 of your annual investment. This equates to an extra $400 each year, up to a lifetime maximum of $7,200, into the RESP from government grants.

British Columbia Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG)

The BC Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG), introduced in 2013, provides a $1,200 grant from the BC Government to an eligible child’s RESP. Unlike other grants, you do not need to contribute any money to receive the funds - all you have to do is open a RESP! To be eligible for the BCTESG, the child must be born in 2006 or later and named a beneficiary of an existing RESP. The parents or guardians and the child must also be residents of BC.

How do I borrow money for education? Expand/Collapse

From government student loans to credit lines designed to meet the needs of students, there are a number of financial solutions available to help students pay for school. We can help you determine how much you should borrow and what your options are.

How much should you borrow?

Before applying for a loan, you will need to make a budget by:

  • Calculating your expenses for the upcoming school year including tuition, books, transportation and the costs of living
  • Determining how much money you already have to contribute and how much you expect to make over the course of the year

The difference between the two figures is the amount you'll need to borrow. Also consider your repayment strategy. Are the terms of the loan acceptable and will you be able to handle the monthly payments? If not, you'll need to look for alternate ways to finance your education or reduce your total costs.

What are my borrowing options?

Some options to borrow money for school include:

  • Government student loans. In most cases, government student loans offer the best terms. There are no payments due and no interest until after graduation. If you qualify for loan remission, you may only have to pay back a portion of the loan
  • Student credit line. Although the terms of a student credit line are not as good as a government loan, they are typically better than the terms of other personal loans
  •  Student credit card. Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are very high, so a credit card should only be used for small, unexpected expenses and paid off as soon as possible. If used responsibly, a credit card can improve your credit rating, making you a better candidate for loan approval should you need to borrow a larger amount next year

What accounts are available for students? Expand/Collapse

Whether you're paying for your education with student loans, working long hours over the summer to save for the rest of the year, or holding down a part-time job while attending classes, we're here to help you find the financial solutions you need. Learn more about our GO Getter Chequing Plan and Student MasterCard.

GO Getter Plan

Our fee-free GO Getter Chequing Plan is designed specifically for youth, aged 19-24 and offers you day-to-day banking with the flexibility you need, including unlimited telephone and online banking transfers. And did we mention it’s free? Learn about our account plans here.

Student CHOICE REWARDS® MasterCard® Credit Card

The best way to show future lenders that you deserve credit is by being responsible with credit from the start. A credit card offers a secure and convenient way to make purchases and can also provide emergency funds during tough times. Build your credit history while earning CHOICE REWARDS® points that can be redeemed for travel or merchandise with our student MasterCard credit card. Learn more about our credit card options here.


Plan for a brighter future

Post-secondary education costs continue to rise dramatically and show no signs of slowing down. Whether it is starting an RESP or opening your first credit card, we can help you plan for a brighter future. Connect with us to set up a plan that’s right for you.