Registered education savings plan (RESP)

Registered education savings plan (RESP)

Give your kids a head start on their future. Contribute to a Desjardins RESP and take advantage of generous government grants.

Call us at 1-800-CAISSES (1-800-224-7737)

What is an RESP?

RESPs are special savings accounts you can use to save up tax-free to pay for your children's post-secondary education.

You can take advantage of government grants that match your contributions by at least 30% to boost the RESP. Grants are based on your RESP contributions and your net family income.

Who can open an RESP?

Anyone can open an RESP for a child.

  • Parents
  • Friends
  • Legal guardians
  • Grandparents

The person who opens the RESP is the subscriber, and the designated child is the beneficiary.

The cost of post-secondary education

This is the first thing you need to figure out, and the results might surprise you. Based on this amount and how much you can afford to save, you'll be able to calculate your RESP contributions.

Estimating the cost of your child's education

The calculator presents different cost scenarios for 4 years of university using expenses related to your child's studies.

The total cost changes when you select or unselect categories of expenses.

The total cost presented, which includes tuition, rent, food, car and other expenses, amounts to approximately $128,000.

Considered separately, tuition amounts to $19,000, rent and food $69,000, car $26,000 and other expenses $15,000.

How much you can accumulate in an RESP

Do a quick calculation by entering your child's date of birth and your monthly investment.



Generous government grants

RESP beneficiaries in Quebec receive at least 30% in government grants on annual contributions of up to $2,500.

Amounts invested tax-free

Investment income and grants are only taxed when paid out to the beneficiary. When money is withdrawn, your capital is not taxable.

Flexible terms

There's no set amount or required contribution frequency. You decide how much you want to contribute and when, based on your financial situation.

If your child decides not to pursue post-secondary studies, you can transfer the account to another beneficiary or into an RRSP.

Automatic transfers

You can set up automatic transfers and adjust them online at your convenience. This takes the work out of saving and maximizes grants.

Set up automatic transfers

How RESPs work

  1. 1

    Open an account

    You choose the best RESP for your needs, with the help of an advisor. Your advisor can open the account and make sure the grants you are entitled to are deposited. You must:

    • Be a Canadian resident
    • Provide your social insurance number (SIN) as well as that of your beneficiary
  2. 2

    Make regular contributions

    You make deposits to the RESP. These contributions are topped up by grants. They grow tax-free in an investment vehicle that suits your risk tolerance.

  3. 3

    Withdraw the funds from the RESP

    The money you've saved will be gradually paid out to your child as educational assistance payments (EAPs) to help cover the costs of their post-secondary studies.

    Government grants and income earned on investments are taxed in the hands of the beneficiary, but often at a very low rate given that students generally have modest incomes.

    The invested capital always belongs to you as the subscriber, and you can give it to the child or withdraw it. This withdrawal is not taxable, but the longer you wait, the better the return.

    To determine the best withdrawal strategy, consult your advisor.

RESP grants

In Quebec, beneficiaries receive at least 30% in government grants toward their RESPs on annual contributions of up to $2,500.

Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)

  • Up to $600 a year, with a maximum lifetime limit of $7,200 per child
  • Is paid out automatically, every time you contribute
  • Rate varies between 20% and 40% based on your net family income

Québec education savings incentive (QESI)

  • Up to $300 a year, with a lifetime maximum of $3,600 per child
  • Is paid out automatically once a year
  • Rate varies between 10% and 20% based on your family income

Canada Learning Bond (CLB)

  • Aims to encourage low-income families to open RESPs
  • An initial $500 is provided, with no contribution required on your behalf
  • Pays out $100 annually for every year that your child is eligible, for a lifetime maximum of $2,000 per child

Good to know


  • The beneficiary does not have to be related to you by blood or adoption
  • You may name only 1 beneficiary
  • All capital belongs to you, regardless of whether the child continues their studies


  • You get to decide how much and how often you contribute
  • You tell us how you want to invest your contributions

Tips to get the most out of an RESP

Start contributing early

It's best to contribute from the child's early years to maximize government grants and take advantage of accumulated returns.

Automate payments

With scheduled payments, the amount you specify is automatically withdrawn from your account without your having to think about it.

Contribute $2,500 every year

The annual maximum for basic grants is $500 for federal (20% of the amount contributed) and $250 for Quebec (10% of the amount contributed), which corresponds to a contribution of $2,500.

You can contribute up to a $50,000 lifetime limit per beneficiary. However, a maximum lifetime contribution of $36,000 is required to reach the cumulative grant limit of $7,200 for federal and $3,600 for Quebec.

Take advantage of child and family benefits

Deposit the Canada child benefit and the Quebec Family Allowance payments into the RESP. The RESP's capital will grow without you having to contribute an additional amount.

How to withdraw from an RESP the smart way

When your child starts their post-secondary program, you'll be glad you carefully planned the distribution of withdrawals between the capital and educational assistance payment (EAP). Your advisor can help you assess your options and develop the right withdrawal strategy for you and your child.

Things to discuss

  • Your child's financial needs during their school years
  • Your child's sources of income
  • The tax implications for you and your child
Learn more about RESP withdrawals

FAQ – Registered education savings plans (RESPs)

  1. The total cost ($128,000) represents the Canadian average costs of education for a 4-year degree in 2037. Source: Education Savings Week Ipsos Survey.

    The amounts shown by expense type are intended solely to provide an approximation of the weighting assigned to each expense item. These expenses vary between Canadian cities and provinces. Tuition fees may also vary by program of study and educational institution.

  2. Other expenses include personal and health expenses.
  3. Eligibility is based on net family income and number of children.
  4. Desjardins Funds are not guaranteed, their value fluctuates frequently, and their past performance is not indicative of their future returns. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses may all be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Desjardins Funds are offered by registered dealers.

Online tools are made available to you for information purposes and for personal use only. They give an approximate result based on the information you enter. Desjardins does not guarantee their accuracy or their applicability to your circumstances.

You are encouraged to speak with a Desjardins advisor before taking any action based on information found in the calculator.

Desjardins cannot be held liable under any circumstances for an incident and/or damages, including the loss of revenue and profits, resulting from the proper or improper use of the calculator.