It’s easy to get $1,200 for your child’s education

To access the new grant, families simply open a Registered Education Savings Plan

To highlight how easy it is for families to get the new $1,200 BC Training and Education Savings Grant, Education Minister Don McRae  visited a BMO Bank of Montreal branch recently to discuss the new grant with a BMO financial planning expert and a local parent. Education

“If parents already have an RESP for their child set up, they’ve already taken the most important step to get the grant. If they haven’t set up an RESP to get the grant, then the time to do so is now,”  says Minister Don McRae.

To access the new grant, families simply open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) before their child turns seven. It’s a straightforward process that takes only a short time at a bank or other financial institution. You can also open an RESP securely through an online investment firm.

Make sure to have:

* Family member or guardian’s Social Insurance Number.

* Social Insurance Number for the RESP beneficiaries (the child or children).

* One piece of government-issued identification for the family member or guardian setting up the RESP.

By opening an RESP account — not only is a child entitled to $1,200 from the Province of British Columbia-he or she also can access other savings grants from the Government of Canada. Parents then work with the financial institution to make the necessary applications. No matching or additional contribution is required to receive the BC Training and Education Savings Grant.

“Most financial institutions provide RESPs with no set up costs and it’s easy to find a plan that suits your family’s needs. Whether it is in skilled trades, technology or professional services, the vast majority of tomorrow’s jobs require some form of post-secondary education and training. The sooner you start an RESP, the sooner your child’s education savings can start to grow,” says Joanne Gassman, senior vice president, BC & Yukon, BMO Bank of Montreal, “The costs associated with some post-secondary education programs can be daunting. It’s critical to get a head start on saving by opening an RESP as soon as possible and taking advantage of any matching government education and training grants.”

According to a recent report by the BMO Wealth Institute, only about half of Canadian parents surveyed have set up a registered education savings plan (52 per cent in B.C.) and only 20 per cent are taking full advantage of the available government grants for RESPs (24 per cent in B.C.).

By investing in an RESP, the $1,200 provincial grant, other savings grants, family contributions and compound interest will grow over time, making it easier for B.C.’s children to pursue their chosen careers.

Having an RESP in place also makes it easier for grandparents and other family members to help put money toward future education.

Information about the BC Training and Education Savings Grant is available at: http://www.budget2013.ca/bc-training-and-education-savings-grant/

Information about RESPs, including tips on starting an RESP and education savings grants from the Government of Canada, is available at: www.canlearn.ca