What is CESG (Canada Education Savings Grant)?

The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) is free money that the government gives you to help pay for your child’s college or university after high school.

The money goes straight into your child’s Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) account and grows tax-free until you take it out.

Kids may also be able to get an extra grant called the added CESG (A-CESG), depending on their family’s net income.

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How Much CESG Money Will You Receive?

You have to put money into your child’s RESP to get the CESG funds, but not with the Canada Learning Bond.

Basic CESG

Up to $500 per child per year is the most the government will match, giving 20 cents for every dollar you put in. You would have to give at least $2,500 (i.e. $2,500 x 20%) for that year in order to get the large grant of $500.

Additional CESG

Families with low to middle incomes may be able to get extra funds called the A-CESG.

The extra grant is 10–20% of the first $500 you put into your child’s RESP each year, depending on your family’s net income. If a family has a cash income,

  • Less than or equal to $53,359 are eligible for an additional 20% in grants on the first $500 contributed (i.e. $100).
  • Between $53,359 and $106,717 are eligible for an additional 10% in grants on the first $500 contributed (i.e. $50).

The amount of the extra grant is changed every year based on your family’s adjusted net income from the previous tax year. Your tax return from 2023 is used for 2024.

For example, let’s say you put $2,500 into your child’s RESP every year.

Net Family IncomeBasic CESG AmountAdditional CESG AmountTotal CESG Amount
$53,359 or less$500$100$600
Between $53,359 to $106,717$500$50$550
More than $106,717$5000$500

Any RESP space that isn’t used can be rolled over and added to in later years. The most money that can be given as funds through the CESG in a lifetime is $7,200.

Eligibility for the Canada Education Savings Grant

Your child can get the CESG until the end of the year they turn 17 as long as:

  • They are a Canadian resident and
  • They have a valid social insurance number, and
  • They have an RESP account opened in their name, and,
  • An application has been made for the grant.

You can open a RESP account at any bank for your child and ask the bank (the RESP provider) to apply for the CESG (and A-CESG, if they are qualified) on your behalf.

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Final Thoughts

It can be pretty pricey to go to college or any other post-secondary school. You can ease your load by getting free money to save through government handouts through the CESG. The free money is like a sure 20% return on your investment!

You could give your kids a leg up by putting money into a RESP early on and taking advantage of time and compound interest. Your kid will be grateful!

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