Trent Ernst, Editor
Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier was recently appointed Minister of Education, and one of his first acts was to announce a new Training and Education Savings grant in conjunction with the Credit Unions of BC.
The one-time $1200 grant is for children born in 2007 or later. Families have three years, or until the day before the child’s ninth birthday, to submit an application for the grant.
Parents in Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd can go into any Lake View Credit Union branch to kick-start their savings for their children’s future, but the grant is available at any Credit Union in the province.
In addition to being nine years old or younger, there are two other criteria: both you and your child must be residents of BC, and the child must be the beneficiary of a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) with a participating financial institution. The earliest you can request the grant is when your child turns six. After that, you may apply any day before their ninth birthday.
Since this is a new program, if your child had their 6th birthday in 2013, 2014 or 2015, you have an extension until August 14, 2018 or the day before their ninth birthday, whichever is later to get the grant.
No matching or additional contributions are required to access the $1,200. The one-time grant of $1,200 per eligible child will be deposited into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) upon approval of the application.
“Our government wants families to help their children get a head start in pursuing their careers so they can participate in our strong and growing economy,” says Bernier. “I encourage families here in the South Peace to apply for an RESP to access and access the grant.”
In the next decade, says Bernier, more than 78 per cent of job openings will require some form of post-secondary education and training. With the $1,200 grant and an investment of $50 a month, savings could grow to $12,000 (based on a 3.5 per cent annual growth rate). Of course, growth of funds will depend on the amount invested and actual returns. He encourages BC families to start planning and saving early for their children’s post-secondary education or training programs.
One in three British Columbians are members of a credit union. Central 1 Credit Union is the host organization of the grant for their 42 member credit unions, consisting of 365 branches and more than 550 ATMs across B.C. More financial institutions will be offering the grant in the months to come.
If the child has already been named to a RESP, says the website for the program, make sure the RESP provider offers the grant. If not, you may open another RESP at a participating provider in order to receive the $1,200 B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant.
Note that transferring the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant from a RESP held at a participating financial institution to a non-participating financial institution may result in a loss of the grant.
RESPs are special education savings accounts registered with the Government of Canada to help you save for your child’s post-secondary education or training program. The money deposited in it grows tax-free until withdrawn.
RESPs can be left opened for up to 36 years and can be used by beneficiaries to pay for full-time or part-time studies in a qualifying college, university, trade school, or apprenticeship programs.
For information on how to open a RESP, contact your financial institution or visit www.canlearn.ca.