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Registered education savings plan (RESP)

Save for a child's post-secondary studies and take advantage of grants.

If you're a Desjardins member, book an appointment on AccèsD to open an RESP.

What is an RESP?

An RESP allows you to save tax-free for a child's post-secondary education. At least 30% of your contributions will be matched in government grants paid into the RESP.

RESP benefits

Invest tax-free

Investment income and grants in the RESP are only taxed when they're paid out to the beneficiary. Your contributions are not taxed.

Get government grants

If you're a Quebec resident, the government will match 20% to 40% of your contributions in federal grants and 10% to 20% in provincial grants, paid directly into your RESP. For every $1,000 you contribute per year, you could get $300 to $600 depending on the child's family net income.

Enjoy flexibility

You don't have to contribute a set amount or number of times. You decide how much you want to contribute and when, based on your financial situation.

If the child doesn't continue their studies after high school, you can change the beneficiary or transfer the funds to another beneficiary's RESP. This way, you won't lose the grants. Otherwise, you can take the investment income and contribute to your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP).

Help a student pay for school

The beneficiary will get educational assistance payments (EAPs) at your chosen amount and frequency during their post-secondary studies. These payments will help cover the costs of school. To receive the EAPs, you just need to show the student's proof of enrollment in a qualifying program.

How an RESP works

RESP eligibility

  • You have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) to open the RESP
  • The child lives in Canada and you have their SIN to designate them as the beneficiary

Anyone, like a parent, guardian or grandparent, can open an RESP for a child and reap the benefits.

RESP contri­­­bution limit

You can contribute a lifetime limit of $50,000 per child. A child can be a beneficiary of more than 1 RESP. The amounts contributed to each plan are added together and penalties apply if they exceed the lifetime contribution limit. There is no annual contribution limit.

RESP grants

  • Canada Learning Bond (CLB)
  • Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)

These grants can make up 20% to 40% of your contributions and are based on the child's family net income. To get the maximum grants possible, you must contribute $2,500 per year per child.

Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)

  • You get 20% of your contributions, up to $500 per year and $7,200 lifetime per child.
  • Up to $2,500 of your contributions are eligible for grants each year. If you didn't contribute up to $2,500 in previous years and want to carry forward this unused grant room, up to $5,000 of your contributions are eligible.
  • Grants are automatically paid whenever you contribute, up to December 31 of the year the child turns 17.
  • Lower- or middle-income families can get an additional grant for the first $500 contributed.

Québec education savings incentive (QESI)

  • You get 10% of your contributions, up to $250 per year and $3,600 lifetime per child.
  • Up to $2,500 of your contributions are eligible for grants each year. If you didn't contribute up to $2,500 in previous years and want to carry forward this unused grant room, up to $5,000 of your contributions are eligible.
  • Grants are automatically paid once a year based on your contributions, up to December 31 of the year the child turns 17.
  • Lower- or middle-income families can get an additional credit for the first $500 contributed.

Canada Learning Bond (CLB)

  • The CLB is for low-income families.
  • If the child is eligible, you get $500 for just opening the RESP—no contributions are required.
  • You then get $100 for each additional year the child is eligible, up to December 31 of the year the child turns 15 and up to a lifetime limit of $2,000.

How RESP withdrawals work

Educational assistance payments (EAPs)

EAPs consist of grants and investment income generated in the RESP. The beneficiary receives these payments during their post-secondary program, at your set amount and frequency. They can withdraw:

  • Up to $8,000 in the first 13 weeks of full-time studies, then up to $28,122 for 2024
  • Up to $4,000 during any 13-week period of part-time studies

This money belongs to the student and is added to their taxable income. Usually, students pay little or no tax since they're often in the lowest tax bracket. EAPs aren't included as income when financial aid is calculated.


Capital is the amount you contribute. This money belongs to you and isn't taxed. You can withdraw it at any time to give to the child, contribute to another savings plan or put it aside for other goals. However, if you withdraw your capital before the child starts their post-secondary program, you'll have to pay back the grants received.

How much should you save in an RESP?

To cover all school-related costs for a student in Canada (including tuition, course materials, transportation, housing and food), you should budget around $41,654 for college or CEGEP and $74,265 for university. 1

Use our Education Savings Calculator to find out how much you'll have saved in your RESP by the time the child turns 17.

How to contribute to the RESP

1. Open an RESP with your advisor

If you're a Desjardins member, book an appointment on AccèsD to open your plan.

Not a Desjardins member or prefer some help with your investment plan?

2. Choose your investments

Choose the right investments for you according to your savings goals and investor profile.

3. Start contri­buting

Contribute to your RESP now or set up automatic transfers to take the work out of saving. Grants are added on automatically to your contributions.

Investment options for an RESP

Find out which investments you can hold in your RESP.

Desjardins Funds

Invest in innovative and competitive fund portfolios tailored to your profile. 2

Learn more about Desjardins Funds.

Guaranteed investments

Some guaranteed investments are also options for RESPs:

  • Guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) are available at competitive interest rates and can bring you peace of mind as your capital and interest are guaranteed.
  • Daily interest accounts (DIAs) are cash accounts that let you earn interest on the money you save.

Your advisor can help you make an informed decision based on your savings goals, the child's age and your investor profile.

Interested in self-directed investing?

Whatever your level of investment knowledge, we offer everything you need to make informed decisions and invest on your own with confidence:

  • No-fee online transactions for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
  • State-of-the-art trading platforms
  • Comprehensive training
  • Powerful analysis tools

Respon­sible invest­ment pays off

Commit to a sustainable and equitable economy by investing in businesses that value the environment, the community and diversity. With our socially responsible investments, you benefit from good potential returns while taking action for the future.

Compare the RESP to other savings plans

Learn about the features of plans to maximize your savings and meet your goals.

Compare savings plans


Are RESP contributions tax-deductible?

No. RESP contributions don't reduce your taxable income. However, you receive government grants by making contributions and the money you invest grows tax-free.

How do I get RESP grants?

When you open your RESP with an advisor, we apply for government grants on your behalf. The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) is then paid directly into the RESP each month based on your contributions. If the child is eligible for the Canada Learning Bond (CLB), you get an initial payment when you open the RESP, then an annual one. The Québec education savings initiative (QESI) is also paid into the RESP each year based on your contributions.

What happens to the RESP if the child doesn't continue their studies after high school?

If the child decides not to pursue post-secondary education, you can designate a replacement beneficiary or transfer the funds to another RESP. Under certain conditions, you could keep some or all of the grants in the RESP.

Otherwise, you'll have to close the RESP and pay back the grants. You'll then get your contributions and investment income back. You can add this money to your income and pay a special tax on it, or use it to contribute to your RRSP.

What happens when the beneficiary enrolls in a qualifying post-secondary program?

When the beneficiary starts their program at an eligible educational institution, they begin receiving educational assistance payments (EAPs). You set the EAP amount they get and the frequency. You also have the option of giving the student some or all of your RESP contributions.

When money is withdrawn from the RESP, only the EAP portion is added to the student's taxable income. You don't pay tax on the capital you originally invested, regardless of the reason for withdrawal.

What is the age limit to contribute to an RESP?

There is no maximum age to make RESP contributions. However, you have a maximum of 31 years to contribute once the RESP is opened.

Grants are no longer paid after the year the child turns 17. The RESP must be closed by the 35th year after it was opened.

Individual vs family RESP: What is the difference?

For an individual RESP, you name only 1 beneficiary. You don't need to be related to the beneficiary by blood or adoption. For example, you can save money in an individual RESP to help your neighbour's child pay for school. You can change the beneficiary at any time or transfer the funds to another beneficiary's RESP. This is a useful option if you want several children to share the investment income.

For a family RESP, you can name more than 1 beneficiary. You must be related by blood or adoption to these beneficiaries. For example, if you have several grandchildren, you can contribute to a family RESP and divide the earnings among them when they go to school.

Book an appointment to open your RESP

On AccèsD

Book an appointment on AccèsD if you're a member, and meet with an advisor online, in person or over the phone.

Other tax-sheltered savings options


A registered disability savings plan (RDSP) lets you save tax-free for someone with a disability.
Learn more about RDSP


A tax-free savings account (TFSA) lets you grow your savings tax-free for your goals.
Learn more about TFSA


A registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) lets you reduce your taxable income so you pay less tax.
Learn more about RRSP
The total estimated cost is based on the 2022 year and over an average period of 2 years of college and 3 years of university. The amounts shown by expense type are intended solely to provide an approximation of each expense item. These expenses can change over time and vary between Canadian cities and provinces. Tuition fees may also vary by program of study and educational institution. Sources: Statistics Canada External link and Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education External link.. 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 all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Desjardins Funds are offered by registered dealers.