Beyond University: Using Your RESP for a 1 or 2 year Program

Once upon a time, university was thought to be the ultimate destination in the pursuit of post-secondary education. 

That was then.  This is now.  Times have definitely changed.

These days, students have many options for higher learning.  There are more programs and schools available and over the years, Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) have changed and have become more flexible to reflect that.

What schools qualify for a CST RESP

A CST RESP can be used for any program that qualifies under the Income Tax Act (Canada).  It also includes: university, community college, trade school, vocational, technical, religious schools, part-time studies and correspondence. 

Any program of three consecutive weeks or more in Canada is eligible. If your child is studying outside of Canada, any university program of three consecutive weeks or more is eligible; any other post-secondary program abroad must be 13 consecutive weeks or more.

Does my child have to go to school for all four years to collect their money?

When your plan matures, you decide the payout option that works best for your child’s post-secondary program.  If you have a CST RESP Group Plan, your child must enroll in four years of school or the equivalent to collect all of their Educational Assistance Payments (EAPs).  When your child is a qualified student, he or she will receive four installments in each year of school.

If your child chooses a post-secondary program that is two years or less, you have the option of transferring to a CST Family or Individual Savings Plan, which has flexible study options and access to EAPs as long as the Income Tax Act (Canada) is followed.  There is no cost to transfer to a Family or Individual Savings Plan but the benefits of the Group Plan will be forfeited including the sales charge refund.

Click here to find answers to other Common Questions about CST RESPs.

While universities are incredible institutions for higher learning, they’re not the only places for post-secondary success.  This Parentwise Canada article weighs in on the various educational options. Students also have so many choices for eligible programs or studies which qualify for EAPs.  They just have to choose where, when and what they want to study.  The future is bright!